A Beer Festivus Airing of Grievances

Festivus has come and gone, but I want to get some things off my chest.

Recently (December 23rd) I aired my grievances for Festivus.  In keeping with the spirit of the “holiday”, I listed my complaints in a direct manner.  If anyone takes offense to them, they are encouraged to air their grievances, or meet me in a feat of strength.

Many of the postings were re-tweeted/favorited, and some even started discussions in the portion of the Twitterverse that I inhabit.

For convenience and readability I re-posted them here and added some clarifications/explanation as needed.





1. Beer critics that don’t know what they don’t know.  

When I did some research on published beer critics, I was surprised at how many didn’t have much formal education in their chosen subject.  Furthermore, many chose to make an argument from authority, citing their under-educated experience as their source of authority.

2. IPAs hopped at the rate of APAs.

An offence that is far too common.  The two styles are distinct and should be treated as such.  Many great examples of IPA’s exist, and someone making one has only to follow their example.

3. “Pumpkin” beers that are actually just spiced beers.  

There are numerous examples of these beers, and many of them are simply not what they state they are.  Pumpkin itself is difficult to work with in the brewhouse, and many choose to forego it in favour of spicing the brew as a pumpkin pie.  I have experimented with pumpkin in beer numerous times, and it actually has very little effect in beer.

4. Beers that people rate highly when they are a poor representative of the style that they claim to represent.

This is a frequent occurrence, and does a disservice to everyone.  If a beer claims to be a of a certain type, it should represent that style well.  

5. Beer companies that mislead, or take advantage of the ignorance of, their customers.  

The “craft” versus “crafty” debate is a great example of this.


6. “Quaffable”. A little pretentious and a wee bit of turd painting if you ask me.

Enough said I think.

7. Beer served in a bottle. If it has flavour, it deserves a glass! Babies drink out of bottles…

Numerous authors and authorities have written on this topic.  Drinking beer out of a bottle minimizes the experience as aroma, flavour and appearance are all impaired by not using glassware.

8. Branded glassware. I don’t care if you use it, but put the correct beer in it. 

The picture beneath this was a beer served to me in a local watering hole.  The beer in question was a blonde ale.

pour it out?

Something doesn’t look quite right

9. Liquor laws that limit the consumer. The state should do nothing but make things fair and collect taxes.

Many regions are starting to change their business and legal models, mine included, but the change is long overdue and slow to happen.

10. Beer retailed on warm and well lit shelving is terrible for beer. It deserves better.

The warmer a beer is stored, the faster it stales.  Many beer drinkers are aware of the effects of light on beer as well, and no one wants to drink a skunk.

11. Cooking with beer is great. Please use a beer with flavour though. Don’t add beer you can’t taste just to say you did.

The number of recipes that contain beer is mind-blowing.  That many of them call for beer with little flavour impact is mind-boggling.  As a rule, whenever adding an ingredient to food one should use that as an opportunity to add more flavour as well.

12. Sporting arenas that don’t offer any craft. At least try. Cancel exclusive contracts, offer a variety.

While some sports events allow the fan to have a wide array of beer, many are still locked in to the typical light lager/pilsner style beers that have been there for decades.

13. Breweries that think they are working for NASA. You can tell us what you use and how you use it.

Some breweries are great for engaging with fans and homebrewers, while others go a step further and are very open about their ingredients, recipes and processes.  That someone might want to try and emulate a beer is flattery, so why wouldn’t a brewery want to encourage that?  It is quite conceivable that they might gain more fans through this model.

14. Under-educated servers. Know what you sell. Management: it’s your job to help them get their education.

A server that doesn’t know what is being offered, what it tastes like, and what it goes with is not selling product, merely delivering it.  Note however, that poor training is not a fault of the staff though, but rather is a failing of management.


While this list is quite negative in tone (at least it is for me) it was developed to begin a discussion and call for change.  Only through awareness can true change begin.

At least I hope these changes will happen.


Beerideas is a fortysomething father that enjoys well made beverages. He is a homebrewer, educator and child at heart.

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