To take your (my) mind off of the Halloween show, let's talk about the new Hops To Table mag. It's the preeminent (and only) local beer pub and the publisher John Zervas starts the new issue with a lengthy rebuttal of the SNR beer rating cover story. Like the Energizer bunny, it just keeps going and going...
I have not read it, and indeed, Scott said he considered hiding his copy from me. He summarized it for me (I will read it when I'm mentally prepared), and it really could be written in a sentence. John and I corresponded about it, and I'm not revealing anything private that he doesn't say in the rebuttal by summing it up thusly:
No one who is not a certified beer judge (certified by I forget what acronym) can ever review a beer.
He is including himself in this assertion. We in fact did have a certified beer judge but this doesn't count, for various reasons. I would include in this summing up (although perhaps he might not agree):
No one who is not a certified beer judge can ever review a beer - at least not negatively.
BAR's beer column is out today, and I think due to his enormous influence it's a good thing for Sacramento, but his reviews can be summed up thusly:
It's all good.
Subsequently, he does not get shit, either on social media or in local publications. I am being very reductive about his beer writing, and he tastes carefully and thoughtfully. However, his review
columns are sometimes a hodgepodge of random styles. This one is organized around the Cap City International Beer Fest, so this week there is a clear reason for that. His part of the piece about what makes a good beer list is interesting. The column where a Cantillon Kriek didn't rate more favorably than an Ovila Quad from Sierra Nevada went down about as easily as...a Ruhstaller HopSac.
Certainly some criticism of the SNR piece is warranted, but not much of it. I publicly challenge JZ to assemble a panel of certified judges to blindly taste these same beers and see if their rankings differ significantly from ours. I realize that the tasting notes will but I didn't take the notes seriously in the first place. I focused on the grades. I have heard from a pro beer judge that even in that world there is pressure to not say anything negative, so I imagine on a grading system their grades would probably range from A-C, which would be grade inflation, so a ranking would be better.