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Friday, December 17, 2010

DMS Award Nominations

Back in July, I ruminated on the corrupting nature of beer blogging. It is an innately compromising activity. In that post, I pointed out how my positive review of Rogue's Chatoe Single Malt resulted in links from the brewery and juiced traffic to the tune of a 25% bump. Add to that the free beer, in-depth brewery tours, and general cliquish nature of the industry, and you have lots of reasons for why we might shade things in a brewery's favor.

I threatened an antidote to that impulse, the Dismal Malty Substances (DMS) Awards.* Well, let's deliver on the threat. I have a couple of nominees in mind, but I would love to solicit input from you all. Did you have offensive beer this year? Did you see a brewery behaving badly? Was there an "innovation" you'd rather forget? Embarrassing blog post? Let's have a little fun, along the lines of Hollywood's Razzies. We don't want any salted earth commentary, but we should all be able to poke fun at ourselves, right? Here are a few potential categories
  • Worst beer
  • Worst act by a brewery (local and/or national)
  • Worst blog post
  • Worst macro-related product (Four Loco, Bud Select 55, etc.)
  • Worst event or feature at an event
  • Worst "innovation" or ingredient
  • Others???
I can put this together myself, but I would love some help from you all. As you proved with the info about CDAs, your collective brain is far bigger than mine. Add your nominations in comments (or ideas for other categories). If you have something that's too hot to handle, you can also email it to me privately at the_beerax (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Let the fun begin--

*A beer geek pun. Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is an off-flavor in beer.


  1. "Worst Blog Post"

    Pick any post from Dr. Wort's waste of web space and you've got a winner.

  2. I nominate Magic Hat for their "trademark infringement" case against Georgetown Brewing for worst act by a brewery.

  3. I hate to do this but...

    Migration. Pick a beer, any beer.

  4. I can't believe people aren't piling on. Especially no Doc Wort! How can I assemble a list of grievances without the input of Doc Wort?!

    As for "worst blog post," I will definitely mainly be nominating myself. It's possible there's something out in the greater blogosphere that warrants special inclusion, but this is an opportunity to acknowledge my own faults.

    To prime the pump, consider some of the fests when you're mining duds. From the OBF, Laht Neppur's Strawberry Cream Ale was terrible, and although it got lots of props, I also hated Caldera's Hibiscus beer. I thought Gilgamesh's Cranberry saison was mighty strange and would entertain it. (Though it was absolutely not a "worst" beer.)

    So, come on, whatcha got?

  5. Because it's becoming a joke among friends, I'd have to suggest 21st Amendment's Come Hell or High Watermelon. I don't know what they were thinking, but I did NOT appreciate the effort!

  6. @ Jeff:

    I would nominate any of Gilgamesh's beers for "worst experiment", but I know a lot of people have liked their brew.

    @ Renee:

    I agree on the 21st Ammendment Watermelon monstrosity, but the fact that it is the top selling beer at OBF for several years running must mean someone likes it.

  7. OK, Jeff, I'll bite, and I'll even put my name on it, but mine is more of a category as opposed to an actual single beer. But it will also start a whole bunch of people complaining about how closed minded I am.

    For the 2010 DMS awards, I nominate "innovative beers" also known as "beers designed to be served in 4 oz samples at beer festivals because no one would ever want a pint of it." I am so tired of "innovative beers." I want a return to beers that taste good and are flawlessly executed.

    I have nothing against real innovators, like Hair of the Dog, Cascade, and Upright, but the move towards whacky and zany beers is troubling. No great offense to Doc Wort (well, maybe some), but there are too many people who say that any beer that's in an existing style is boring. I would rather drink a great porter or pale ale (as pedestrian as some think that is) than a poorly conceived cranberry pumpernickel wit, yet another overly oaked double imperial behemoth, or a sauerbraten bock. Nothing wrong with experimentation, but mixing things together for the sake of mixing them together, and imperializing and barrel aging everything is a tired trend.

    Instead of making these "innovative" beers that seem to be designed to say "look at me, look at me" let's get back to beer that actually tastes good.

    Remember what Theodor Adorno said, the need for infinite variety in commercial products is a manufactured need. (Or in the words of Professor Melvin Fenwick, "Fools, I'll destroy them all.") Please just give me plain old, well made beer.

    Let the beatings begin....

  8. It's funny you mention this. For a time I worked at Lost Cost Brewery in Eureka, CA. The disconnect between management and employees there was so great that a buddy of mine on the bottling line and I joked about publishing a website entitled, "Lost Causes", to spread the word about bad beer and bad brewing practices. Obviously, I'm nominating them as Worst Brewery. I'd go into further detail but don't want to infringe on any sort of libel suit. They'd be just the sort to pursue one. But I will say that there is no limit to how low they'll sink in pursuit of the almighty dollar. I once suggested we dump a product that had been sitting in poor storage conditions for almost an entire year. It was unquestionably ruined by oxidation and I got the head brewer in line with me after he sampled some. However, it was decided that the beer could still be sold and it was offered at $5 a case at their cafe. My only consolation was the hope that some unlucky drinker was turned off of them forever after being so swindled.

  9. Hey! Thanks for the vote anon! With all stupid beer blog posts in the blog world... I have the stupidest! Yay!

    Busy weekend... I'll try and come up with a WORST list by Monday. :-)

  10. I'm with you Bill Schneller. How about some beers in the classic styles (or real close) that just endeavor to balance malt, hops and yeast? Radical notion, huh?

    And can we keep at least half of them at sub 6% abv? Some of us still like to integrate a pint with normal life, or with good food. We're not all drinking to get plastered.

    In that vein, I nominate the trend to "imperialize" everything under the sun as the most played out trend. I'm waiting for an "imperial small beer" to make an appearance.

  11. I love this idea. I blogged mine (hope you don't mind). Hope this becomes an annual tradition.

    I nominated Surly oak aged Bender for worst beer, CDA for worst innovation, nad bud select 55 for worst macro-product

  12. To my mind the undeniably worst beer of the year was the Apricot Fred fiasco Hair of the Dog tapped for the Matt release. Looking around the place virtually nobody finished their sample. Like the aforementioned oxidized Lost Coast beer, just because you have the beer doesn't mean you should sell it!

  13. OK, I have another one: the continuing move by breweries to release "winter" beers in October and pull them all from the shelves on Janaury 2nd (which is only 10 days into winter) so they can put their Spring seasonals out. Nothing like a nice Spring beer in mid-January. It gets worse every year, just like retail stores and Christmas displays. If you're going to release seasonal beers, how about releasing them in the season they're named for?

  14. The worst beers for me are probably the disappointments from breweries I otherwise love. Apricot Fred particularly stands out. Upright's Auld Reekie was another one I found too foul to drink more than a sip of.

    Whether it's worst beer or worst innovation, I don't know, but Gilgamesh seems to consistently make odd conceptual beers that I just shake my head at.

    Worst feature at an event? Could we get rid of the tacky HAF pin-up girl, please? (Also, please don't repeat the wristband-handstamp fiasco again next year. Pick rules, communicate them clearly, don't change them in the middle of the festival.)

  15. ok I'll bite.

    How about Upright charging upwards of 13 dollars for 750's of beer to subsidize his brewery location ( not too mention his new business venture)
    The beer is great but come on, I can buy a bottle of Dupont for the same price.

    or how about Columbia River Brewing's SNAFU with spamming review sites with exaggerated reviews before they even opened?

  16. It's already been mentioned, but I have to nominate "releasing seasonal brews way the fuck out of season". Right now Blue Moon has a springtime ale on the shelf somewhere.

    Jubelale was released before Halloween. And I know that I saw summer ales in February this year.

    Why release a season ale at all, if you aren't going to release it during it's respective season. Doesn't that defeat the whole effing point?!?!?!!?

  17. There is a ton of mediocre art and design in craft beer, but almost none that is truly bad. This year, really one label jumped way above the field as just the worst design maybe ever.

    The Collaborative Evil 2010 label was a massive, red mess of Lenin, bombs, the grim reaper and unreadable font. The fact that Oakshire and the other breweries involved generally have decent design made it all the more surprising and inexcusable.

  18. $13 seems very reasonable for Upright to me, but I only pay that much at beer stores. I haven't been there in a while but I remember paying less than that at the brewery.

    I sent Jeff my answers in an email but I think worst macro related product is:
    Stella Black

    and I also think worst act by a brewery was the naming of Brewdog's beer "Sink the Bismarck," even if it was supposed to be funny.

    The rest are for Jeff's eyes only.