Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ölmönger Special: Why should you avoid beer festivals? Part 2: People

In the first part of this two-part miniseries about the reasons to stay away from beer festivals and events, we discussed the things:
  • how much money you lose by attending
  • why the beer selection can't attract the consumer and
  • what makes the events predetermined "must-have" and in fact unworthy experiences.

"Going to the BeerFest? It's a bit crowded here..."
Since things are usually simple and understandable you can easily pass them, just accept that you spend a fairly large sum of money to a limited amount of non-special beer and a trivial experience at its best and buy the ticket. That's why we have take a look at the complex and illogical element of the beer festivals: people.

* * *

Let's start with the minority: the people behind the counter. The brewers or their representatives are there because they want to get the audience to know their products, thereby add the demand of their brews and thereby make a better living. For that goal, wasting a couple days by pouring drinks to and babbling nonsense with more or less drunk customers is quite inefficient. Hearing the same stories of people's experiences of either their brewery or previous events, the same praises of their beers, the same taste descriptions and the same "I love beer, people, everything" rants again and again gets boring quickly. The time and the money would be much better spent at the brewery improving the beer recipes and brewing more and better beer, and then making the salespeople work for their salary by expanding their products' market area. Quitting not only attending beer festivals but also whining about the legal obstacles of practicing their profession would show progressive thinking.

The organizers tell us that they're "taking the beer culture forward" and "bringing beer people together". Well, even though we're living in a society polluted by social media, people still get together, drink better beer than ever and so the beer culture develops by itself without artificial and superficial polishing. The organizers get away with a nice profit with low costs and without serious effort, so the fairytale pays off very well.

* * *

Then we get to the audience. The crowd. The beer people. You and your 1 357 so-called friends. The real problem.

First, there's always too much audience. I somehow understand how people gather to concerts, sport events, public lectures, riots and even Sunday service, since there's something like the agenda. But in beer events there's not, since brewers, honored guests or so-called beer experts having a word or two of stupid trivial sh*t that no one is even remotely interested in, does not serve the purpose. There's just beer, not particularly special beer, as we noticed in the previous post.

Not enough beer, but decent glasses per people ratio
Second, most of the people are wasted: they either lose their plan to control their drinking or don't even have that plan in the beginning. That makes them canned faster than Carlsberg. When they become drunk, they get noisy and annoying. Unluckily it happens to be that way, that the people who tend to have some control on their drinking are noisy or at least annoying enough even when sober. So, what else can you do with these people than start drinking your brains and feet out.

* * *

Of course, if there were just a lot of people getting drunk, that would basically be a typical night at the pub. A ridiculously large pub with a ridiculous number of people inside, to be exact. But no: it comes to who the people are - too many are craft beer hipsters. The definition of craft beer hipster: an occasional beer drinker, who flies with the beer trends and changes his own ones just for fun. If you tell that you drank and liked a beer that the hipster recommended you last week, it's already out of fashion. If you tell him that you liked a beer that he doesn't know or hasn't tasted, he's seemingly annoyed and can't admit to have liked it after having it a week later. The hipster's behaviour and appearance are another story, but that's not worth further exploring.

In addition to the hipsters there are two smaller beer-drinker groups that bug you to the bone when seen in beer events. 

First one is the raters: those beer enthusiasts who seem to feel obliged to give each beer they ever drink a score. Sadly they do it in beer events, too: scratch their heads, make notes and give points with their smartphones or notebooks. Probably saving the notes and points in UnTappd, PintPlease, RateBeer, BeerAdvocate or some other rating database. While having their 25th different 1 deciliter sip of the day. My mouth would be pretty out of the game after five sips of different beers, and with a small dose like 1 dl (3,4 oz.) I have drunk the damn thing before it shows it true nature. Probably the raters have more stamina and speed in their mouth. However, the comparibility between beers hasn't got any credibility if done in a beer event. Somehow I've come to the conclusion that credibility isn't the word that should be attached to beer rating at all, since whether you like the beer a lot or not is eventually decided by your own mouth..

The other sad minority group often seen in beer events is the bloggers, self-centered bastards who write about beer and probably even rate it with descriptions in the Internet. These guys and girls aren't able to have fun in a beer event. They're constantly taking pictures of the beers that they drink and writing notes about them. So they're bad and boring company and should be avoided. After the event each of them publishes a blog post describing similar things: how they arrived to the event(!), the beers they tasted, the bad food they knew to be bad but still ate, the people they saw(!!), heard (!!!) or spoke with (!!!!), the overall mood they got from the event and some words of hindsight about the place, the prices or the organizing they call criticism. In the worst case, someone has got the "great" idea to have a blogger meeting before or during the event. Jesus, what kind of anticlimaxes of life, thought and discussion they must be.

The fun part in the event posts are the beer rankings or the descriptions of the beers, because the diversity of consumed beer isn't usually just a couple, rather 15-30 different brews. Basically describing the beers after losing the senses of sight, smell, taste and time and ranking something in an order during or after has the same problem as the rating does: you can't trust the descriptions or rankings at all.

* * *
You find blog posts about Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend in these Finnish blogs: Brewniverse, Humalablogi, Keikyblogi, Punavuori Gourmet, Tuopillinen, Tuopin ääressä (also the trip), Tyttö ja tuoppi and Vaahtokruunu.

On the other hand these bloggers spent a minute or two recollecting their memories of Helsinki Beer Festival: Arde arvioi (1st day & 2nd day), Bönthöö Bönthöö, Humalablogi, Kaunis humala, Keikyblogi, Maistuva mallas, mushiMALT (1st day & 2nd day), Pari sanaa oluesta, Tuopillinen and Tyttö ja tuoppi.

If you get sad when you can't understand texts that are utter crap, then sadly these all are in Finnish. After saying that, I must admit that I kinda liked the travel post that Johnny Rio at Tuopin ääressä made about his trip to Tallinn: I don't know what and how many mushrooms he ate while writing but I'd like to have the same.

Now I hear some colleague blogger cry out: "How can you call my blogpost on Halapaluuza Tap Party crap?" Well, darling, let's say I've actually read your blog and compared the level of your event posts to the level of your normal posts. You don't actually raise the bar by carving sculptures from extrement after writing mostly good and even some excellent stuff, do you?

I see the confusion in the colleague's face but then a victory smile: "But still: how can you call any blog posts crap? You write worse than the rest of us. Your Ölbeats are from the deepest sh*t sewer tunnels that no one of us others has ever had nightmares about." Exactly, honey. You're learning.

Special Ölbeat

I shouldn't be picking on people, people are not bad. People are shiny and happy:

R.E.M.: Shiny Happy People (Youtube)

From the 1991 album Out of Time, the song was written by R.E.M. The song is hated even by the band itself. I would probably give this track one to the top spots of the most annoying and redundant songs ever. It fits perfectly to this continuum of meaninglessness.

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