Why hello there! Happy New Year! I promise a photo post of my low-key, super hilarious, and very delicious New Year’s celebrating, but first, I have a bone to pick, and I’m getting on a soap box.
I love blogging, the blogosphere, the world of bloggers. Most of us, I find, are weighted down by ethics and niceness, trying desperately to be honest and kind in the same breath. I don’t like telling my friends about a bad dining experience without trying to find the shining light, let alone blast it to the twittersphere. So, please. Tell me, why do “beer raters” not follow the same ideals?
I have to say, before Greenbush opened, I definitely didn’t pay very much attention to “rating sites.” Once in a while I’d check Beer Advocate for a review on a beer I’d be bringing into the shop, but not much more than that. And now, I feel like I’m inundated with comments here and ratings there about any and ALL beers.
Yes, I’m sensitive to reviews of Greenbush and our beers. But as an intelligent, aware, food-and-beer-minded person, I get that everyone isn’t going to like everything. That’s the way of the world, and likely what makes the beer industry so fantastic. However, I find it so difficult to tolerate meanness, negativity, and down and out rudeness.
Some of the beer raters that come into our brewery are delightful. Understanding, open, and honest. When they don’t like something, they generally say it to our faces before anything else. With kindness and thoughtfulness to the work we do, they let us know if they taste an off-flavor or something that they are just not enjoying. Our bartenders, brewers, and I always respond in the most positive fashion, even if we disagree. Completely.
And look, I get it. I get that people don’t like everything and want to sit behind their computers and tell the world about the vomit and bandaid flavors in a particular beer. But I think that those same people need to understand that there needs to be some kind of “golden rule” appreciation when taking fingers to keys to lash out against a particularly unpleasant beer experience.
With that, I give you my 5 Do’s and Dont’s of Beer Rating:
1. BE NICE! Remember, this is someone’s passion, art, love, and hard work that you’re rating. Whether you’re raving or crushing, think about how you’d feel if someone said that about something you’d worked hard on.
2. If you must rate while at a brewery or establishment, please DON’T RATE EXPERIMENTAL BEERS! I won’t speak for other breweries, but we do experimental beers as just that. Experiments. We aren’t brewing these in giant batches, bottling and kegging for the general world. We’re allowing you, our customers, to taste things as we work on them. Customers are lucky to get to taste things in progress; it’s an honor, quite honestly, and one that really should be respected more. A 5-star chef wouldn’t allow you in his kitchen to taste a sauce before it was finished, yet we, as brewers, offer you the chance to do just that. So please, don’t rate them. Just don’t.
3. Consider the state of your palate. If you’ve been to 3 other breweries first, or drinking pints of Sours, remember that your palate is likely exhausted. More than likely. Which means, flavors and smells will be dulled, heightened, and your mouth will react to things differently. REMEMBER that. And even if you think you’re a star with a star palate-trust me. You’re not. No one is. Your pallet gets tired, just like everything else.
4. Not every IPA/Belgian Style/Porter/Barrel-Aged Stout/ is the same. Yes, some breweries follow certain styles. Other breweries pride themselves on doing just the opposite. Just because you’ve studied and read and know all about what truly is a traditional IPA, that doesn’t mean someone’s beer who isn’t true to style doesn’t taste just as delicious.
5. Probably most important? Remember that people are reading what you’re writing, which is likely why you’re writing it. You have a voice, and you want it heard, so you blog/rate/comment. I’m a blogger, I completely and totally understand. But every single time I comment on something, I note the positives much bigger than the negatives. Everyone who reads your reviews may not know you, and they may have never tried the product you’re trashing. But it might deter them from tasting it, and like I said, that’s someone’s passion/art/livelihood you’re bashing.
For those of you that rate kindly? Rock on. Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m not naive. I know that people write and have opinions and want to think what they want to think. And I know that more than 75% of the people who blog and rate do so in a very positive manner. But for the lesser percentage, the people that want to be mean and inappropriate and venemous….please.
Think before you write.