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Monday, October 31, 2011

Sam Calagione and the Other 99%

There's a great little interview at the blog DCist with Sam Calagione, who apparently channels his inner Jeff Alworth. Or maybe I regularly (and unwittingly) channel Sam. Among the nuggets I found especially satisfying:
[B]eer people are cool people in general. We say our industry is 99 percent asshole free. So I probably do forget one of every hundred names of the person who was underwhelming. But everyone's so nice in this industry so I look forward to seeing them a second time.
Comment: It's smart to say 99% about anything, just to keep a little daylight available. But I do think this will change as the industry moves from being animated almost exclusively by people passionate about beer to containing a mixture of those people along with others who just want to make a buck. For the moment, Sam's right--it is an incredibly likable group of people.
But the women I know don't want to be separated from the beer loving populace, in general. They want to be part of it.... I know tons of women who are way huge hop heads, and love dark, roasty beers. So I worry it perpetuates a stereotype that women's palates are less attuned to the more aggressive flavors in beer.
Comment: This is one area in which craft breweries are decades ahead of macros. Of all the ways in which the "craft" and non-craft side differ, I'd say the biggest and most important is the enthusiasm craft breweries have in welcoming women.
I always have Saison Dupont in my house. I turned on my friends, who are not necessarily beer friends, who live in Lewes, the town I live in, to be excited when we pop a few corks of Saison Dupont. So that's definitely a favorite of mine.
Comment: Anyone who loves Saison Dupont has unimpeachable taste in beer. It will be one of my highlights when I visit Europe to tour the brewery, which I'll do, rather poetically, on Thanksgiving day.
I play on an adult hockey league team. And every week it's one of my teammate's job to bring a 30 pack of cheap, cold cans of lager. And whatever one it is, whatever brand it is I look forward to having it. There's nothing like that light lager for refreshing after a hockey game. There's really not any other occasions in my week where I'm craving that kind of beer. But I'm a beer geek, not a beer snob. And all beer is good. And there's a time and place for any kind of beer.
Comment: This will probably shock 120 IPA fans more than anything else Sam could say. There are lots of light lagers I still buy and enjoy, too, and it's nice to see a defense of them. Every summer, I drink a fair amount of Pacifico, which is certainly not a highbrow tipple. I recently had Sapporo for the first time in years and was reminded how much I love Japanese lagers. And I'll never turn down a Singha Beer ("Singha Beer, don't ask no questions; Singha Beer don't tell no lies").


  1. 1. I would go as far as to say that our industry is 97% asshole free. And then at least 50% of us have been or have the potential to have asshole moments from time to time, myself included -- but most of it is momentary and often alcohol induced. I find the true assholes in this industry are an ugly combination of arrogance and ignorance.

    2. Women like beer, duh. Men need to get over it and stop acting like women who drink beer are some freakish anomaly. Some of us didn't grow up wanting to be models and mothers.

    3. I have Dupont in my fridge at this moment, not even lying. Saison is my fav style and I'm developing a beer cocktail with it right now, which will become my signature. And naturally, I want to use the standard in the style.

    4. I miss playing hockey, although I never played anything more than intramural in college. I also have a guilty pleasure for Mexican lagers -- mine is Modelo in a can, and I gotta do it up Bourdain style with salt on the rim and a squeeze of lime. But, these moments are usually reserved for hot days, usually involving water sports.

    Love ya Jeff, great post.



  2. If people knew how many brewers drink cocktails during GABF, it would make their heads spin and hit the floor like a Bud Light twist-off.