A few weeks ago, Bill at It's Pub Night posted a wicked little piece about how (pick one: bad, phony, useless, pretentious, silly) most beer reviews are. By way of skewering bad beer descriptions, he made a little review generator that produces a pointless, cliched language better designed for concealing the writer's ignorance about beer than communicating anything about a sample--with a touch of The Onion for humor. ("Pours a translucent strawberry blonde with a soft, pillowy head. Heavy lacing. Brilliant tart scent, with just a hint of sour milk and hops.... I also get some papaya and split pea soup.")
It has haunted me ever since. Of course, much of that language might have been lifted verbatim from my own descriptions. When I was writing up my notes from our grand weekend of imports, I felt my brain cramp up as I searched for adjectives. I waffled between the uselessly ultra-spare ("pale, white head, alcoholic, excellent") to the uselessly florid (but I didn't go so far as "split pea soup"). In the end, I felt like I should just offer hand signals, as if steering in a 747; ones that directed you toward or away from favored or despised beers.
I now confront the specter of a Three Creeks review, knowing that I'm going to have to do better than what I managed to scribble at the time. ("Wheaty," really? Hey past self, thow me a bone here.) I want to take the blue pill and go back to when I thought I was doing a decent job with these damn descriptions.