beer review

The barbecue test


People have different categories into which they filter beer.

For a lot of people it’s ‘‘craft’’ and ‘‘mainstream’’, though they can feature different names. If you lean one way, then the categories are ‘‘craft’’ and ‘‘corporate megaswill that I mock because it makes me feel superior’’. Lean the other way and it’s ‘‘that hipster shit’’ and ‘‘piss’’. Though, of course, ‘‘piss’’ is said in a fond tone of voice.

You might even opt for the standard ‘‘good beer’’ and ‘‘bad beer’’. This one I like because it does away with all the ‘‘hipster shit/megaswill’’ rubbish and keeps it simple.

But my favourite measure is the barbecue test.

It works like this. I imagine I’ve turned up at a friend’s barbecue without any beer. Yes, in reality that would never happen because I want to make sure I have beer I want to drink, and the only way to guarantee that is to bring my own. But lets go with the fantasy that I would arrive beerless.

So I’m there without beer (note: this never happens). The host hands me a beer, perhaps while thinking, ‘‘man, Bear is such a frigging cheapskate. He didn’t bring anything.’’. I look down at this beer I have to drink – whatever it is. How do I feel about it?

That’s the barbecue test.And that’s what I think any time I try a beer. How would I feel if I was handed this at a barbecue? Would I be stoked? Would I turn my nose up at it? Would I sip at it while wishing it was something else?

It’s a method that works very well when it comes to assessing the mainstream beers that I might not ordinarily go for. I just imagine being given that beer and then gauging my reaction. Try it yourself some time.

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