WTF Is Wrong With Some People?
For the past 3 years, I’ve been heckled by people asking me whether or not I’m a brewer. Here are some typical comments from the general public and the brewing community:
- Oh he’s not a brewer – how can he review Beer?
- What does he know about brewing, off flavors and the technicalities?
- Hey John, what’s wrong with this Beer? Can you pick out the flaws? (TEST)
- Hey John, what are you getting in this Beer? (TEST)
Let’s really look at what Tales Of Froth is and what the function of this blog, associated social media pages and group is?
The function is to educate people about Beer and provide them with reviews and guidance as to where to find great Beer and about Beer styles. Tales Of Froth is NOT a Brewing academy nor a technical resource for brewers and never will be.
In the world of Food, you have Food writers who do not have to be Chefs to review dishes. The wonderful world of Wine and Whiskey/Whisky has several connoisseurs and the majority have never made either beverage to begin with. In the same token a Beer connoisseur, evangelist, blogger or whatever you want to label them does NOT need to make Beer to write about Beer.
As a consumer, you don’t need a degree to understand what’s going in your mouth. A little knowledge will help your experience go a long way.
I’m here to review Beers not make them. The language used in the blog and training workshops is simple for everyday people to understand not the language brewers use which will thoroughly confuse you.
To take things one step further, let’s make one thing clear. Most of my life has been spent abroad and from the age of 16, Beer has been part of my journey – that’s 24 years of drinking Beer and several of those include Craft Beer, as well as time spent on Molson Coor’s consumer panel giving product feedback, attending tasting sessions and focus groups on Beers’ yet to go to market, label designs and so forth.
Yes I know what Sensory Analysis is and if you serve me GREEN BEER – I’ll sniff out the “off” flavors for you and recommend you either condition the Beer longer or if infected drain the batch and not serve it to unsuspecting customers paying a premium for “freshly brewed” beer.
From American lagers to German bocks and Belgian Tripels, I’ve sampled them all over these two decades. Unlike most people in India, Craft Beer isn’t just 8 years old in my books. My first brewpub visit was in 1998 to Gentle Ben’s in Tucson, Arizona. Soon after that I cracked open my first bottle of Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale and New Belgium’s Classic Fat Tire Amber Ale. Local brewery Nimbus Brewing kept my palate occupied, as well.
The last 3 years in India have been great. I’ve traveled across the country, brewed batches with the brewing teams at several brewpubs, brewed with enthusiasts and attended beer bootcamps. I now work setting up equipment for Brewpubs and deal with brewery components on a frequent basis. It’s a learning curve but one that I’m passionate about and my life truly revolves around Beer.
You can read about publications I’ve written for, been featured in and workshops I’ve conducted across India in the About Me section on the blog.
So if you ask me what qualifies me to write about Beer with the intent to poke fun of me or question my abilities on public forums, I will directly tell you off and if you’re a brewer, be sure that I will put your Beers and your abilities under a magnifying glass. Be forewarned!
“The pen is mightier than the sword or your brewer’s paddle”
Do I intend to become a brewer?
Not, at all. I understand the process and may do a collaboration batch but that’s not my function in the Beer ecosystem. If I was a brewer, I wouldn’t have time to write, travel nor the freedom to sample Beers across the country. That would clip my wings.
Why do you drink and write about “Commercial Beer”?
Unless you’re 8 years old and an underage drinker, chances are you grew up in India drinking off the shelf lagers and draft ones on tap at a local pub probably with your dad (thats’ how cool mine was).
If you didn’t, you either grew up abroad or you’re lying and are in denial.
This blog has always had the tag line – Beer & Craft Beer because the majority of India still drinks regular off the shelf “commercial” beers.
I absolutely love the Craft Beer scene and love see the sector grow but we are still in a nascent stage and are at least 20 years behind the West. Batch consistency – a major fail across India -we just aren’t there yet. Craft Beer bottled brands – we are just starting. Heck we haven’t event started kegging Craft Beer in most States that have brewpubs yet. Baby steps folks, Baby steps.
There is no battle between Big Beer and Craft Beer in India. This isn’t the West where there’s a war going on. So put down your guns and relax. There is no evil conspiracy.
If you’re a consumer reading this, as long as your beer is made well and tastes great, don’t get into the politics of who made it.
The Craft Beer sector actually helps everyone in the Beer industry – Beer gets popular – period.
Indians – We consume 2.0L of Beer per person/per year. China does 50L. We don’t drink enough Beer and we need to drink more Beer – simple.
You may see me drinking a Craft Double IPA and then see me drinking a regular commercial lager or Abbey Blonde made by a “Big” brewery. It’s Beer and I drink Beer – all of it.
How much Beer do you Drink in a day/week/month/year/decade?
Image Source: – Click HERE
I wake up everyday and have an intravenous Beer drip attached to my arm. I drink Beer 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.
Yeah right. If I did, I’d be dead and my liver would explode. Hahaha.
The real answer is a couple of pints a few times a week. I’m a social drinker who is a session drinker. I pace myself and enjoy each sip and may drink over a few hours but don’t go over more than 2-3 liters of Beer in one sitting.
You will never catch me Drinking & Driving. I don’t drive here in India and I take public transport. Even if were to drive, I’d leave my car at home and take public transport instead.
Why do I work for an equipment company?
Tales Of Froth has been a journey of labor and love and doesn’t pay my bills. Leaving a corporate job to blog full time has not been easy and what may look glamorous on Social Media is a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
Contrary to what people think, this blog was not started as a ploy to get Free Beer. I come from a well to do family and we aren’t cheap. You can read about my family in the book, The God Of Small Things, written by my cousin Arundhati Roy.
Events don’t pay your bills and everyone wants your help for Free – well Indians invented the Zero so go figure. Time is money and so is all the hard work put into this blog. Think about that the next time you see a blog post or social media update on the TOF channels.
If you’re a brewpub owner or brewer reading this, working for RJ Brewing Solutions pays my bills. If you’d like to pay my bills and prefer me not selling equipment, I’ll gladly forward your my bank account details but I don’t think you can afford to compensate me!
Does it mean, I’ll only write about Beers made on the brewing system I sell?
Nope – you’ll get a fair review of Beers. Most other Beer writers across the world are either brewers or in the business and that doesn’t affect their judgement so why should it affect mine?
TIME IS MONEY & MY TIME IS VALUABLE NOT FREE
What’s Next for Tales Of Froth?
I’m taking things to the next level across India and there are many changes in the works and new members joining the team. You’ll see it all unfold.
You’ve seen this guy in a lot of my photos and interacted with him on our pan India Beer Geek Facebook Page called Friends Of Froth. Well you’re going to hear from him next.
Welcome Akash Beerabet to the TOF Team. If you piss us off, we’ll be happy to call you a Pigeon and tell you to Fuck OFF! (You’re welcome).
Photo Location and Phrase Courtesy: Independence Brewing Co, Pune (Where they make some of the best Craft Beers in India and only Beer, No Cider because Cider is NOT a Beer and where they train Pigeons like us to understand sensory analysis). No Pigeons were harmed in the process.
Manish MK remains a member of the team as our technical advisor. He’s gone on to become a professional brewer but is still a part of the TOF ecosystem.
Cheers & Stay Frothy
JJ The Keg
If you steal my images, I’ll send you an invoice for doing that. If you don’t pay up or apologize or credit Tales Of Froth, I’ll send my mother to your office.