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A little less than a happy high
Can't we all just get along?
This weekend, the girlfriend of one of the BeerAdvocate owners* hissed at me. Not like a boo/hiss kind of hiss, but more like the hiss a hollywood vampire would make at having just gotten her first glimpse of sunshine in several decades. She also made a cross with her fingers, which struck me as mixing metaphors within genre. You can't be Van Helsing and Dracula at the same time. Really.

No, really.

This all happened because I had been talking to Robert about the Old Ale**, and he introduced me to her as a beer maker. Her first question was, "Oh? Who are you with?" assuming that I was a rep from a local craft brewer. When I told her I strictly did home brew, she then asked if I ever went to any of the local beer festivals.

Now, given that there are BA flyers all over the store at this point and having some understanding that BA folks seem to have an issue with Josh and/or BeerSummit, I took a moment to reflect before answering. Factoring into my thoughts was the exchange I had with FK's beer buyer who started that evening talking about how the folks at BeerSummit have little interest in educating people about beer and then was utterly wrong about the composition of Belgian ales later in the tasting. I figured I'd risk it.

"I've volunteered with BeerSummit for every festival since Oktoberfest, 2002."

This is when she hissed.

When she hissed is when I rolled my eyes and explained that I don't know the full story of the animosity that exists between the two groups, and frankly, I just don't care. At this point it seems mostly one-sided***, and since both groups have run successful events back to back for two years straight, it's starting to feel just a little silly. What I don't like is getting hissed at or being told that the work I've been doing doesn't qualify as "educating people about beer." The attitude I've gotten from BA folks has been sufficient to keep me away from their site and their events.

Finding the little pocket of beer politics at the Happiest Place on Earth has been difficult in a way that's not dissimilar to Darrell's dropping the "Everyone's an artist" line. I'm not an expert in either beer or cheese. I enjoy them, and would like to be able to without feeling like I need to prove that I'm worthy or to justify other things I've done. I'm aware that sharing interests doesn't necessarily make people fast friends, but all of this feels artificial. And while I don't expect a chorus of voices welcoming me and telling me I belong (which feels way too much like the story of the sirens), it would be nice if I could do something without having to knock hands out of my face.

*She also happens to have a job at Formaggio Kitchen. On Sunday, she ran a beer and chocolate tasting.
**Robert really liked the beer, as did his boss. The beer knurds at the competition seem to have thought significantly less of it, however, awarding not one but two of the top slots to one of their own. I'm of the opinion that once you have equipment to make 20-40 gallon all-grain batches, you're no longer really a homebrewer. Probably just me, though.
***From their "about us" section: Co-organizers and Brew Board Co-founders of the 2001 & 2002 Boston Beer Summit - BS sucks now.
15 comments or Leave a comment
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: November 15th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Apparently the BA guys were total asses at the first Summit event we were at, and used their position to get in free, get drunk, and be generally obnoxious. They didn't volunteer, they didn't do any work, they just promoted themselves, and their mom walked around bragging about how great her sons were and inviting people to an afterparty. All this while us 'nobodys' were busting our asses.

Now, keep in mind that this is all hersey, and I could be totally wrong.
komos From: komos Date: November 15th, 2004 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I find myself in a weird position. I really don't have the energy to really care about what happened up near the top. What's upset me is that I've now found myself on the defensive twice for doing good work. It doesn't make sense to me.
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: November 15th, 2004 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's the same political infighting crap that plagues every single hobbiest group of any type that exists.
It's unavoidable sadly.

By the way, did you manage to salvage that infected batch?
komos From: komos Date: November 15th, 2004 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not sure yet. I dropped it in secondary in the hopes that the off flavor was just sulphur from the yeast that would settle with aging. I haven't checked it again, though it's probably gone through about as much change as it will. Have to see.
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: November 15th, 2004 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
good luck, let me know.
komos From: komos Date: November 16th, 2004 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. What do you currently have in the works?
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: November 16th, 2004 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
That whitbier I did in august is REALLY developing. It's super tasty, you should try it. In bottles is also an Oktoberfest Ale which is a nice, malty full beer. In secondary right now is an irish 'red' ale (not so red, at least yet) which is going to get homemade vanilla and cardamom extract added when it's bottled. Holiday spiced ale. Kind of an experiment. That'll probably get bottled this weekend or next.

I've had good luck so far, I'm super anal about sterilizing and have been choosey about recipies. I think I want to make my own recipie up for my next one.
komos From: komos Date: November 16th, 2004 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
You do realize that you're approaching a "dry erase board" level of production?

Sometime soon, I should brew a second generation Old Ale, and I was thinking that this year's offering might include juniper berries and a vanilla bean in the boil. Aside from that, I promised a weizen to a friend a very long time ago, and I'm trying to figure out how to pull together everything I need for a faux lambic for bbbsg.

Time to bleach surfaces again.
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: November 15th, 2004 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I dunno. I just think less of the BA folks for taking their issues with Josh and spreading the crap throughout their 'ranks' -- I'm glad Josh has too much class to do the same.
komos From: komos Date: November 15th, 2004 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I get the impression that he just doesn't think participating in the feud is worth it.
cinemama From: cinemama Date: November 15th, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

get over yourself girlfriend

Oh for fuck's sake.
komos From: komos Date: November 15th, 2004 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: get over yourself girlfriend

I should probably take all of this and start actually doing something.
From: corvus_coronis Date: November 16th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Her behaviour seems pretty petty.
komos From: komos Date: November 16th, 2004 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Par for the course, I'm afraid.
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: November 16th, 2004 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy working the festivals much more than attending them. The benefits are legion. There's UNIVERSAL POWER with very small living space,license to mess with people's perceptions, and (best of all) no messy fees.
15 comments or Leave a comment