Ahh, the Internet. It’s primary usage has changed over the years, from file sharing, to pornography, to movie streaming. But one thing has always been at the fore-front: social interaction. But before the advent of Facebook, there were bulletin boards, newsgroups, and forums (some of which are still in use)… and all of these discussion outlets, once they hone in on a particular subject or subculture, become cesspools of riotous mobs, ready and willing to press THE CAPSLOCK KEY, and add copious amounts of exclamation marks at will!!!!!!!111one
A friend of mine said:
There’s something about the niche nature of [insert forum topic here] that attracts supercilious and argumentative people.
Even if you’re just expressing an opinion, I’m right and you’re wrong and I’m going to flame you into submission!
WTF does all this have to do with Beer?
Sadly, this is also prevalent in the homebrewing scene…
I don’t do much homebrewing myself, but I like to help my friend who’s an avid homebrewer – particularly if I’m “loaning” my fridge for lagering purposes. When we were looking to make a lager in 2009, I asked my friend about clone recipes and was warned to tread lightly. Homebrew forums were quick to lend a hand with your “Pete’s Wicked Ale” clone, but if you asked about a clone for Miller (heaven forbid), you would surely be met with criticism.
Sure, I understand trying to make Budweiser at home is cost prohibitive, but it’s not about beating the price – it’s about beating the system, and taking a known quantity into a new direction. A clone recipe is merely a starting point to serve as a control experiment. I had the opportunity to talk to Dave of Dave’s Brew Farm about craft & homebrewers poo-poo-ing lagers in favor of ales, and I noticed he is brewing a lager called Dave’s Brew Farm Select. To him it wasn’t “Why make a lager?” It was “Why not?” There’s a market for those going up against Miller/Coors & Budweiser – to offer the masses something that seems familiar, but may also be something new. Other Minnesota brewers understand as well (See Summit Pilsener & Surly Hell).
This is not to take anything away from any ale. My favorite all-time beer is probably Summit Extra Pale Ale – which I first tried in college. It was a flavor oasis compared to the Busch Light that my college roommates would typically consume every Friday.
So I say to homebrewers that have never lagered… if you have a spare fridge or freezer, you should try it. Not coincidentally, I’m working on a programmable (and automated) Arduino temperature controller which can probably be made for less than a typical temperature regulator.
Also, it seems light lagers are gaining some ground in the homebrew arena. Maybe the perceived stigma behind homebrew lagering is being erased?