Friday, May 17, 2013

Lazy Beer Writers Are Ruining Craft Beer for the Rest of Us — Hops Are Just Fine

A brewer at Cantillon in Brussels adds hops to lambic... a style of beer which does not taste remotely
hoppy or bitter. Photo via Facebook.

Yesterday morning, I began skimming The Social Medias over coffee when an article titled "Against Hoppy Beers - Hops Enthusiasts Are Ruining Craft Beer for the Rest of Us" appeared on my Twitter doorstep like so much flaming poop in a paper bag. I knew it was going to be trollbait when I saw that headline, but the bait was too strong. I read it. And as I did, my blood pressure rose, the sarcastic quips and exasperated rebuttals soon piling up in my mind.

Normally, I just forget about this sort of click-bait "journalism" after a few minutes. The article — by Adrienne So, appearing on Slate.com — was intended to get people's attention, to get people talking, and it succeeded at that. Here I am, hours later, taking the time to write out this rebuttal. But this particular article bugged me more than most of the sloppy beer journalism that's sloughed off by big mainstream publications, who typically assign wine writers to elaborate on beer styles they don't even enjoy. Maybe these lazy articles are just building up over time — a crust of stale, uniformed laments. But in this case, from an author who says that she likes hoppy beers herself, it's not just the laziness or ignorance of brewing techniques that bothers me: it's the missed opportunities. Where there was an chance to open dialogue about why people like what they like, Adrienne So's Slate piece instead enters a bizarre, misguided blame game. It starts right there in the title: Hops Enthusiasts Are Ruining Craft Beer for the Rest of Us. And so the message seems to be: You should feel bad for liking what you like so much, because not everyone likes it. Sadly, this is the common thread with many of these articles. Rather than admit their tastes are simply different from others, writers too often try to cast their preferences as some fault of the thing they don't enjoy. If only IPAs tasted more like fermented grapes...

Let's peel back each layer of why this is so ridiculous, one by one.

1. First, apply this thesis to, well, anything else. Replace hops with "chocolate" and craft beer with "cupcakes." Imagine you had a friend complaining that they couldn't enjoy their blueberry lemon-swirl cupcake because chocolate cupcakes were just too popular. The horror.

2. Beyond starting with a misguided accusation, the article ultimately fails because it offers no helpful dialogue — there's no concrete, addressable problem identified, and therefore no solution. Is the author suggesting that IPA-drinkers should try to like what they like a little less? "Please stop enjoying IPAs so much"? It's hard to complain about any one style of beer being too beloved these days when we live in the most diverse era of beer styles and beer variety in history. Let's appreciate the craft beer Renaissance, rather than bitching that a couple styles are having slightly more of a Renaissance than forty other styles.

3. Again, to be clear: not everyone is required to like everything. That's fine. No one should think less of you for not enjoying hoppy beers. And this is not exclusive to hop-heads, or sour-heads, or stout-heads, or Grätzer-heads, or whatever. There are plenty of beer styles to go around, and plenty of room in the beer-world for those who don't enjoy them. Let's work on making people understand how varied beer is, rather than fearing their prejudices.

4. Sadly, the article misses the opportunity to address some issues that might be real. A complaint could be lodged about bars that lack appropriate diversity in their menu. If your taplist is almost entirely any one style of beer, and it's not some special event, sure, you'll alienate some drinkers. That's just poor planning. Likewise, most half-assed, half-craft bars are simply disappointing by nature, and likely always will be, loaded with their mass-market wheat beers. A bar with a couple old, stale IPAs is no fun for anyone, Hop Heads included. But such is life. Casting the blame on hop lovers doesn't help anything.

5. It would be absolutely legitimate to complain that some breweries put out IPAs simply because it's a popular style, because those brewers think they have to. Chances are, those IPAs aren't going to be very good. Don't brew beer you aren't passionate about — now there's a case you could make that's relevant and necessary.

6. The beer world moves fast, and so far as I can tell, diversity has usually been the result. For example: I can't think of a single brewery that makes exclusively IPAs (The Alchemist doesn't count). I'm sure there must be one or two out there at this point. However, off the top of my head, I can think of breweries focusing in plenty of other styles exclusively. Stillwater, Funkwerks, The Bruery, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, and many others brew almost exclusively Belgian and farmhouse inspired beers, with nary a double IPA to be found. Jolly Pumpkin brews a dozen delectable sours, and bottles nothing else. Are we going to start complaining about the over-use of Belgian yeast next? It's a big, diverse market, with literally thousands of breweries in the U.S. alone. To imply that hops have some sort of monopoly can be nothing but an exaggeration.

7. The Slate article also implies that the popularity of IPAs is in jeopardy if we don't all calm down. We're scaring people. Yet all the evidence seems to point to hoppy beers growing more popular, and more accepted — how does that work, then? So far as my research has revealed, the Illuminati is not funneling millions of advertising dollars to push IPAs on the unwilling masses. The government is not giving secret tax cuts to The Alchemist to prop up Heady Topper's success. (Thanks, Obama!) If IPAs are popular, it's an organic popularity. And it's a hard-earned, underdog popularity. (Unlike, say, Blue Moon, which has a mega-corporation and millions of dollars behind it, and can afford to build artificial popularity over time by simply being everywhere). Thirty years ago, hardly anyone would touch a hoppy beer. IPAs had to fight to be accepted, much less consumed, much less popular. And now they're too popular? You think Hop Heads are just pulling your leg? Choking down bitter beers just to convince you to like them? No, the passion is genuine, and it's not going anywhere.

8. What really saddens me — the ultimate missed opportunity in starting a flamewar like this — is the effort that could have instead been spent educating people. For all its casting of blame, that silly article was the only thing hurtful to craft beer. It told people to be narrow-minded, to set up boundaries rather than broaden horizons. Don't do that. You don't have to like hoppy beers; really, it's fine. Some people will never be okay with bitterness at any level. But as with any style, not all IPAs are created equal  — you'd be amazed how much variation there can be.

The author makes the common mistake of correlating IBUs with hop flavor, even making the totally inaccurate insinuation that because the human threshold for IBUs drops off at a certain point, Hop Heads are just wasting their flavor potential on most hoppy brews. Humans do have a threshold for bitterness (around 80 to 100 IBUs), and it's true that hops provide bitterness, along with flavor. But that doesn't mean hop flavor levels out on every beer over a certain IBU level — that's not how it works, at all. This is important, Beer Writers and Mainstream Journalists of America, and I too often see it confused, so take note: hop bitterness (IBUs) and hop flavor are not the same thing. Hops provide bitterness, and hops provide flavor, and they can provide both, or one or the other. It's up to the technique and skill and preference of the brewer. The author had a great chance to lay out what makes a beer bitter, and what hops can taste like other than bitter. What do hop lovers love about hops, after all? Why is the style so popular? Those who don't understand this passion often think of IPAs as harsh, grating beers overloaded with vegetal preservatives, rather than the nuanced, fruity, exotic elixirs the rest of us enjoy. Rather than casting blame on those that enjoy them too much, one could illuminate the many ways hops can be used — clarifying that you can brew IPAs that are full of hop flavor and hardly any bitterness. Believe it or not, you might even convert a few new Hop Heads this way.

Since the author relies on anecdotal evidence, so will I: I've brewed beers that, on paper and by quantity, were exceedingly hoppy, but I brewed them in such a way that even my hop-fearing friends enjoyed them — and never once described them as "bitter" when asked. Focus on the flavor, and what brings that flavor, and you'll grow the ranks of beer lovers. When you've shown them something different, explain why it was different, and what they should look for in the future. With new hop varieties and new flavors appearing all the time, there's something for everyone. The best way to alienate people is to make them feel bad — no matter what kind of beer you, or they, enjoy.



If you enjoyed this article, please check out my exploration of what hops will taste like next.



48 comments:

  1. Very well done article. thanks Art

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  2. Art-1. Adrienne-0. That's a wrap folks.

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  3. What Smitty said.

    Seriously, several nice analogies.

    Perhaps this is me taking my typical Pollyanna view, but although this is currently listed as one of the most viral stories at Slate I don't think it is going to lead to a bit of change in hop consumption.

    Is it frustrating that neither writer nor editor seems to understand there might be a difference between hoppy and bitter?

    Sure, but conversations like this one (your post) and those that take place one-on-one in pubs, have the potential to reach a far larger audience.

    And, in all fairness, there are people put off by bitterness. Sometimes there are genetic reasons, in fact. Again, change is a product of education.

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    1. Thanks for reading Stan! I agree that such articles don't really lead to any change, and I don't think they're meant to. My guess would be that the editors realize "we need to write SOMETHING about craft beer," but don't have anything really to contribute. So stuff like this happens. But if a few people learn more about hops as a result, I guess there can still be a net positive in the end.

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  4. No bias here. Nope.

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    1. a bias toward intelligent, productive articles, I agree

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  5. I think you are misinterpreting the point of the original article. The author is arguing that many of the most common, easily available craft beers, or craft beers that can potentially introduce a non-craft beer drinking to the community, are all hoppy and hoppy beers are more of an acquired taste. There is a lack of "entry-level" craft beers made by craft breweries.

    I would argue that Blue Moon or Shock Top are essentially entry level craft beers, although I understand they are made by the macro-breweries. Why are they so popular? They aren't shocking to your palate. They offer more flavor than a light lager.

    And while you argue that its a problem with the bars variety, remember not everyone in the country can live in a Portland or San Francisco or Chicago and will have access to a solid craft beer bar. In many small towns you are at the mercy of the bar owners providing maybe 1 tap if you are lucky. And in many cases, that tap may be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Boston Lager, or Lagunitas IPA, all very popular beers, but also very hoppy. And walk into a lot of small brew-pubs and you find a menu that consists of many IPAs (IPAs are much easier to brew, you can cover your mistakes up).

    As much as you suggest the article is bait for a flame-war, it has started discussion. Many people love hoppy beers. Majority do not. The author seems to be saying that the most available craft beers are hoppy beers, which are not the best entry-level beers for non-craft beer drinkers.

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    1. Agree completely. I felt the original article was not an attack, but this one certainly is

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    2. "I felt the original article was not an attack, but this one certainly is" — Spot on.

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    3. Agreed 100%.

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    4. Bingo, the article was not saying what you think it is saying.

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    5. What in the actual hell. Are you guys daft?

      It seems like everyone's so fucking eager to turn this into a Hop Head vs Anti-Hop argument when it's not. This article was only an attack on an insular point of view, whereas the Slate article was an attack on a style of beer.

      Get a clue.

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    6. Get a clue yourself. The Slate article was an attack on an insular point of view. The Slate article is arguing for MORE variety, not against hoppy beers. It's written by a hop lover!

      I've had the pleasure of touring Europe and drinking some of their finest beers. I've loved the rebirth of the American beer industry. It's time for the industry to really stretch it's legs though.

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    7. I can also be anonymous.

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    8. The original article failed to point out that there are a large variety of craft beers. just because one is more popular doesn't mean a person cannot walk to the next aisle or refrigerator case in the store and get a different style of beer. I saw in the comments one person attacking Stone, Sierra Nevada and Dogfish. I think that is probably the most ignorant thing I've ever seen. Each of those breweries have a large variety of beers. I honestly think Sierra Nevada's Stout and Tumbler Brown are 2 of the best of those styles of beer I have ever had.

      The problem with "entry level" craft beer drinkers is that they're not accustomed to a full bodied beer. An IPA or even a Pale is too bitter, a Stout or Brown makes them too full. I've even seen people claim an amber is too heavy for them. The onus isn't on the brewers to water down their product to try and convert bud lite drinkers. It's on the drinker to take a chance and want to support smaller American companies.

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  6. My initial reaction was less harsh to the article, since I think the writer was coming from a relatively sincere place and was burdened with an overstated, trollish headline.

    But I also strongly had a reaction similar to points 4 and 5 made above. And it led me to wonder if there isn't a better, less trendworthy but more interesting, article to be written about the upper limit of IPA popularity. I have no idea if this is true-- it would require more than an anecdote of a homebrewer friend who didn't like a session IPA-- but perhaps all the growth in popularity for IPAs has reached a ceiling of sorts, and for the market share of craft beer to spread among those who are still drinking mass produced lagers, there's going to need to be more emphasis on and more passion for more subtle styles? Maybe that's an argument that's already been made in print, or one that's been had in bars, but it's something I'd like to see teased out. In any case, I think it's probably true that there are people who really like a very mild beer, and that they currently don't feel particularly wooed by the craft beer industry. Often, the pilsners or blondes that fill the early spots on a flight paddle seem like default offerings, completed on auto pilot by brewers eager to get back to something more ambitious. Or maybe not! In any case, that's an article I'd read.

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  7. I don't see much of anything in this article. I think the author just confused bitterness and flavor, as you pointed out. I'm not a hophead and prefer to age my IPAs for a few months before drinking because for me that's where the golden center is - balance between well aged malt, bitterness, and hop flavor. If you mix that with Belgian yeast, you also get the yeasty fruit in the nose and flavor, and I like that. For a traditional hophead that's just heresy, but that's how I roll. Doesn't mean everyone else should do the same. Like we talked about last time we met - styles are BS, brewing is a philosophy and you brew what YOU like and you drink what YOU like and you buy what YOU like. On the other hand, I also like IPAs with practically no bitterness and massive amounts of flavor and aroma hop additions. Then there is also the new world of Brett IPAs which just takes beer to a whole new level! If people didn't like IPAs, there would be no market for them and brewers wouldn't make them. Just because hops are everywhere in the craft world doesn't mean that craft is all about the hops. Plenty of malty and yeasty beers out there for people like me and one is by no means better than the other. When I go out with friends I actually drink IPAs because it's the best beers available in the places we go to and some of them start developing taste for hops because of my example. When the establishment is a true beer place, I almost invariably go for malty brews (as you probably noticed) or even completely hopeless beers like Gruits.
    Anyway, the bottom line is that the author is just confused and the article doesn't really elicit a response. Hops aren't ruining beer, but are rather enriching it. Those who can't handle the hop can drink multitude of other craft beers.

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  8. What an arrogant, obnoxious, offensive, belligerent, conceited, flaming pompous ass, know-it-all beer snob.

    "The best way to alienate people is to make them feel bad — no matter what kind of beer you, or they, enjoy." — Well, your self-aggrandizing soliloquy certainly succeeded on that point.

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    1. I found an award for most constructive criticism. I think it belongs to you.

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    2. Someone who uses the phrase "self-aggrandizing soliloquy" gives up the right to call someone else pompous. Go suck somewhere else, please.

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    3. ^^^ what he/she said

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  9. I feel like many people confuse the terms "IPA" and "craft beer". I was at a wine bar today and this girl said that they also had IPA's. They had one or two IPA's on draft along with 6 or 8 other craft beers that were definitely not IPA's.

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  10. After reading this, it's obvious that you didn't really read the article which inspired yours. But instead of creating my own blog entry entitled, "Lazy Beer Bloggers Are Ruining The Intarwebz - Please Take A Mydol", i'll simply respond to yours.

    First off, this wasn't an article about IPAs. Matter of fact, they are only mentioned TWICE in the article. Once in comparing the standard level of hops to the level in Pliny The Younger, and secondly when the writer wondered what her friend would think of Pacific Northwest IPA after having problems choking down the amount of hops in a beer she considered a session. Why you spent three quarters of your blog entry harping about IPAs is beyond me. We get it. YOU REALLY LIKE IPAs. But this wasn't an attack on them.

    Secondly, the analogy listed as your #1 response was incoherent nonsense. Let me give you a better one. Let's say you like cupcakes. You like all flavors of cupcake. Then let's say, people start making cupcakes with less actual cupcake and more frosting. Let's say, eventually people get used to cupcakes that taste more like giant gobs of frosting with tiny crumbs of cake in the middle. THIS is what she is saying. It's not about the beers that are intentionally hop heavy (like IPAs). It's about everything else. It's a commentary about how hops have become a popular "flavor band-aid" for many American craft brewers. And even though, many people (her included) do enjoy the hop heaviness, it's still an acquired taste. One that alienates most newcomers from greeting the craft beer world with open arms.

    This isn't a lambasting of hop lovers. This is a reminder to brewers that hops aren't the answer to everything. Hops are great. But there's nothing wrong with exploring the excess in other beer ingredients. And there CERTAINLY isn't anything wrong with attempting to brew beers that are balanced and complex. It's diversity and a huge flavor palate that sets the craft beer world apart from the corporate beer world, the wine world, and everything else. You want to drone on about the problems with your standard bar, then enjoy your OWN soapbox. But if you want to critique another critic, try to read things all the way through and on topic. You'll come off like less of a douche.

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    1. Oh shut up you fucking woman, tuck your vagina back in your pants and move on. Go drink a glass of white wine if you don't like hoppy brews.

      Or... Here a fun idea, drink less hoppy brews!

      You clearly did not just read the article if you think anyone can take your response even remotely seriously.

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    2. Using gender as an insult. Pure. Fucking. Class.

      I'm sure drinking incredibly hoppy beer makes you manly and cool and strong. Go back to drinking 100 flavors of the same damn thing and leave coherent conversation to your betters.

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    3. ...or your bitters. :)

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    4. Hard to say it's not an attack on IPAs given the headline. On the other hand, I'm sure the writer didn't write the headline.

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    5. "Oh shut up you fucking woman, tuck your vagina back in your pants and move on. Go drink a glass of white wine if you don't like hoppy brews."

      Classy. Way to show the depths of your intellect.

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  11. Great article.I could not agree more with this particular statement:
    "Again, to be clear: not everyone is required to like everything. That's fine. No one should think less of you for not enjoying hoppy beers. And this is not exclusive to hop-heads, or sour-heads, or stout-heads, or Grätzer-heads, or whatever. There are plenty of beer styles to go around, and plenty of room in the beer-world for those who don't enjoy them. Let's work on making people understand how varied beer is, rather than fearing their prejudices."
    Cheers to helping people actually find beers they might like - whatever those might be.

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  12. The hophead doth protest too much, methinks.

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  13. Great article and response.

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  14. There is more than enough variety to go around that should satisfy any palate. The article missed an opportunity to educate what some of these options are and should have been the "trusted advisor" telling you that if you do not like hoppy beers here are alternatives or maybe you don't like piney or floral hops and here are some citrus-y types. I think there was a much better way to craft this article and actually create meaningful dialogue rather than this argument bait. Ultimately, this is my opinion and the internet is full of them. Go and do some research, find the beers you love, and find joy in them.

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  15. Love the passion and you make several good points.

    However, I agree with what one of the several 'Anonymous' (didn't realize the hacker community was so passionate about craft beer!) above that appears you didn't read very far beyond the "linkbait headline" in your social feed. Sure it's a linkbait headline – that's how editors try to grab eyeballs, especially editors who work for large media companies like the Washington Post who owns Slate.

    BUT, you turned around and used the exact same tactic you bemoan.

    I'm sure you dragged plenty of eyeballs from the "Social Medias" JUST by having the headline, "Lazy Beer Writers Are Ruining Craft Beer for the Rest of Us — Hops Are Just Fine."

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  16. A flame war? the Slate article doesn't say hops are bad or that people shouldn't like hoppy beer. It says that some people don't, and as a hop fan surrounded by hop fans the author had her eyes opened that maybe it's ok to like beers for malt, roast, or god forbid refreshingness. The craft beer industry is snobby and when called out on it's hopsnobbery using "I don't like it" evidence it responds with "all the real beer drinkers like it" evidence.

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  17. I think the original article also failed to address what should have been a key consideration: regional preferences. She mentioned her friend is from Tennessee and thought the session ale they drank in Oregon was too hoppy. Could it be that Tennesseans are just more accustomed to milder ales? I had two IPAs at a bar in Maryland. One was described by the bartender as "fairly hoppy" the other was described as "very hoppy." Neither one was as hoppy as I'm accustomed to drinking. I have a preference for bitter-tasting things (from unsweetened white grapefruit juice to those extreme sour candies), and I like to feel "like I've been punched in the face by hops." Luckily, it's not hard to find a beer in Michigan that fits my taste. None of my friends like the kind of beer I drink, and for them, it's easy to find stouts and wheat beers.

    Perhaps what the author's friend is experiencing is fewer breweries with brewers who prefer other styles and aren't hopping their ales as much? (I have to admit, I'm also sort of shaking my head at the idea of buying a pitcher of craft brew when you haven't sampled it yet. There is no "one size fits all" for beer, and even when I try a pint or bottle and enjoy it, I usually end up ordering something different on the next round.)

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  18. Disclaimer, I grew out of my "oooooh, taste all these hop flavors in this IPA WOW!" phase long ago. I'm a saison- and sour-head in the summer, and a malt- and stout-head in the winter.

    I have plenty of friends who love beer but rarely drink beers in pubs with us, especially here in California, because the beer menus end up being 90% IPAs. That's just flat out bad for business.

    Regarding your numbered points:

    1) I wouldn't return to a cupcake shop that only served chocolate cupcakes, that would be BORING.

    3) Yes, there are plenty of styles to go around, so there should be more taps with them and more shelf space in stores for them.

    6) Those breweries simply don't brew IPAs because there are enough IPAs out there. Or, if they're like me, they view them as juvenile.

    7) I disagree with your conclusion, it was an organic popularity, but only due to publicity and marketing initially, and then once the style hit critical mass everyone had to do a hoppy IPA. Oooh, look at me, I have more hops than you! Bah, one dimensional.

    Anyway, I think it's really bad for business for a place to have 90% of their taps on IPAs. It's boring as hell.

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    1. Great comment. Agreed across the board. Here in California and the rest of the west coast, it almost seems like blasphemy if you shrug at IPAs and other hop-forward beers in favor of a different style. A quick look over some west coast brewery menus show the imbalance.

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  19. Drink what you like. Try something new when you can. Don't drink it again if you don't like it. Let other people do the same. Doesn't need to be more complex than that.

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  20. Great article. I write a beer blog myself (battleofthebeers.blogspot.com) which celebrates the explosion of craft beers (and the joys of being an unapologetic Hop Head. I could not have made a better case than you have here. I love hoppy beers, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate other styles as well. The growth of craft beers and especially IPAs occurred without the mega-bucks of the mega-breweries because more and more people crave TASTY beer, not just COLD beer.

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  21. The whole Slate article was inspired by her friend from out of state not liking a hoppy beer. Maybe her friend just has lousy taste in beer.

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  22. Write-on! Excellent rebuttal. I'm mystified by Slate's editorial process that let this one slip through. And the author is from Portland--where just about any style of beer is available. Weird, and ridiculous.

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  23. A little digging into the provenance of articles like this will reveal that, in the MAJORITY of cases, the piece was written by someone who has little or no background as a beer seller, maker, expert, or any degree to involvement in the craft brewing culture that would give wwhat they write any credibility. In this case, Adrienne So is a general-interest writer and most likely got the assignment because Slate wanted a beer article - gotta write about what's hot, y'know! - and she was the one in their stable of "approved" writers who stuck her hand up when the editor said, "Anybody into beer?" The larger problem, here, is simply the internet, which places uninformed pieces like hers into a quick google search and grants her an authority she clearly lacks. You write about beer because you love and study beer. I write about beer because I work in the beer business. She writes about it because she wants to get paid, whether she has any qualifications or not. And, as in the case of so many sweeping statements, like the title of her Slate piece, the assertion she makes is probably backed by nothing more than the opinions of five or six of her friends. I taste beer constantly, over 3000 in most years, and visit breweries pretty much every week. Yes, there are a lot of IPAs...but NO brewery I've visited is doing ONLY IPAs. Maybe there are a few more IPAs around than here are other categories but I hardly think brewers have exhausted all the possibilities and nobody is abandoning Ambers, Stouts, ESBs, Porters, Pales, and experimental stuff in favor of the IPA. If someone doesn't want a hoppier beer, there are plenty of choices...something Ms. So's limited experience obviously hasn't shown her.

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Personally, I find this very hot-headed rebuttal a lot more irritating than the original article. Throwing flames with labels like "troll" and "lazy" simply mirrors your reflection. Maybe she didn't have any answers, but when you live on the west coast it can get extremely redundant how much everyone drinks hop-forward beers and talk about hops, hops and more hops. Also, she's a self-admitted hop-head, so the fact that you're so offended by her devil's advocate post just makes me chuckle.

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  26. I am not an entry level beer drinker. I find the craft house reliance on hops for 80% of offerings ridiculous. To me, its a show of lack of competence in not finding balance, not understanding the bade flavors of beer and like so many neoartists, not understanding the ground work laid by thousands of years of brewing. IPAs are for the uninformed.

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  27. It would be great if there were a new explosion of pilsners. Craft beers here are ale-heavy, and I like both equally. And I agree. When I go shopping it seems people are just trying to pack as much hoppy flavor in beers as possible. Sitting here trying a Full Sail Imperial Lager, it may as well be an IPA. I'm forced back to old faithfuls every time. Warsteiner, Asahi, Pilsner Urquell. Even eine Bit, bitte! And why no crystal weizens? Or what about a helles? American craft beer is hop crazy to a fault IMHO.

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  28. Great article! IBUs and hop flavour need to be distinguished and we should be trying to educate people on the different types of craft beer available to them, not alienating them because they prefer a particular style.

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