I’ve been thinking about this one for a while and I love what a Belgian acquaintance of mine wrote on his beer reviewing profile. He reviews a lot of beer and sometimes, politics will get in the way and force us to state just how pointless this hobby is so that everyone realizes that these reviews are just “ticks” and most of us tick because we have an itch and not because our reviews are the word of God or that we have something for or against a brewer or their beer. It’s just some notes while drinking some beer. Let’s all relax.
I don’t know exactly why he wrote this. It may have been random but for me, I’ve felt like saying this for a long time. Those that review beer as a part-time job often find themselves thinking this when other reviewers, consumers and brewers contact them to disagree with what they wrote. I review 10 beers with some buddies, we take some notes and review the beer. Some take this very seriously but most of us are just having fun and like taking notes. Eugene and I are in that same boat so I thought this was very well written.
All of my reviews represent only my opinion and are guided by my own personal preferences, they are not meant to be criticisms, judgments nor technical breakdowns of the beers reviewed. I am not a cicerone, beer critic nor even someone with a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of beer than what flavors I do and do not like. I do not poses a trained pallet, I am not a beer critic, I tick beers because I love doing so and I rate them in order to scratch my collecting itch. I rate beers semi-arbitrary on a scale of five judging by how much I personally enjoyed a beer and then just make the categorical scores fit. The scores are not technical assessments, just an indication of my enjoyment of that particular beer in that particular moments in that particular condition. With the occasional exception, mainly determined by price and availability, I thick beer and drink lambics. I am bad at re-reviewing beer. Whilst I do believe that the collective mass of ratings provides an insight into what one can expect from a beer, I do not believe that my individual reviews do so, beer changes from batch to batch, depending on what you ate or drank before, your state, the size of the poor, the situation, etc. As stated before, I do review in order to continue my collection and light obsessive compulsive nature not in order to make any particular assessments. I believe that my reviews have zero point zero financial impact upon a brewery, so I am not worried if they are shoddy, negative or perhaps not representative of the beer. If a sample is aged of perhaps not in the condition that the brewer intended, I will state so clearly of the review and the review may serve if desired as an indication of how the beer will evolve. I do rate samples, I have rated in mass. I do rate infected beers because in the majority of the cases the infection can be traced back to the brewery and if you charge money for an infected product, I see no reason as to why I as a customer who paid good money for it cannot complain about it. If half of the beer that a brewery makes is infected, half of the reviews should be dealing with this so that customers know of what they might be getting and the likelihood of this. As long as I deem the price reasonable for the product delivered in view of ingredients used, production scale, transport etc. I will not hold the costs against the beer. If the previous is not the case, I will likely opt simply not to buy it – if I get a free sample of such a beer, I will just try to credit the person who gave it to me and not hold the price in account. I believe in common courtesy but as a participant in the free market, I do not believe that I owe anything to a brewery, a business that I may choose to either give or not give my money. Big or bigger breweries that produce a good product and offer professional serve are at least as admirable in my opinion as small craft breweries that are often perceived to be driven more by ambition and thus in some way more admirable. Those who are critical of websites such as this, I must say that while we may be perhaps a bit obsessive at times, I have found the community to be enjoyable and still do so. I like bright colours.