TOPIC:

12 years 7 months ago #7

Extra Special Bitter is [i:202auv4z]one beer[/i:202auv4z], not a style. [/quote:202auv4z]

Half true - there are at least 100+ US craft breweries putting out a beer that says "ESB" on the label. How many people does it take to call a thing by a name before it becomes that name?

The BJCP styles are arbitrary and contradictory. Then again, so are some of the differences between "premium" bitters across region and brewer in the UK. For anyone new to British beer culture, anything that attempts to parse all these subtleties is a useful learning tool.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

12 years 7 months ago #8

It would make a nice addition to the knowledge Base too I reckon.[/quote:msbs3ns7]Yep. Just wait for my dead body to appear, then simply pass it over it.

I'm sure there's plenty of useful information here, but as a reflection of beer in the real world, it's nonsense. Extra Special Bitter is [i:msbs3ns7]one beer[/i:msbs3ns7], not a style. Likewise Foreign Extra Stout. Historically, "Mild" is what "English Brown Ale" is called on draught.

"Robust Porter", "Bohemian Pilsner" -- these are terms invented by the BJCP for their own self-referential classification system.

Oh, and I see Kölsch (Period XIV) is an Alt. That's a new one on me. At least it's not labelled a "German Ale" <!-- s:roll: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_rolleyes.gif" alt=":roll:" title="Rolling Eyes" /><!-- s:roll: -->[/quote:msbs3ns7]

Whoooaah!! Very elitest there BN.
I wouldn't question your knowledge of beer but you can't deny that it's a very handy guide for the novice.
It's also nice to have something that at least tries to classify the groups into different styles, even if it's not 100% accurate.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

12 years 7 months ago #9

there are at least 100+ US craft breweries putting out a beer that says "ESB" on the label.[/quote:1qk20l3j]Doesn't necessarily make them "Extra Special Bitter", though, right? -- look at Sierra Nevada ESB f'rinstance. Plus, since it's a predominantly American style, surely it belongs in period IV rather than V?

For anyone new to British beer culture, anything that attempts to parse all these subtleties is a useful learning tool.[/quote:1qk20l3j]Meh. I disagree. As someone in the process of learning British beer I think it's just going to end up confusing before long. You want to learn the subtleties, drink the damn beer. People who look for nuances and differences tend to find them whether they exist or not. The supposed differences between porter and stout are a prime example. English bitter and Irish red, my particular hobby horse, is another (though I note "Irish Red" doesn't make an appearance here).

you can't deny that it's a very handy guide for the novice.[/quote:1qk20l3j]I can. This novice brewer has no use for such a thing. And this experienced drinker thinks it does a disservice to the joyous diversity of commercial beer.

It's also nice to have something that at least tries to classify the groups into different styles, even if it's not 100% accurate.[/quote:1qk20l3j]The problem with things like this, aside from the ahistorical claptrap that often comes attached to it, is that there's a danger of it stagnating commercial beer into style categories, and numerical brackets of IBUs, EBCs and ABVs. I don't want beer to be like that -- but there are some people who think it should be. There are some people who will criticise a beer [i:1qk20l3j]because the numbers are off[/i:1qk20l3j] (the late Mr Jackson was one, I understand). And there are brewers who will pander to this and adjust their recipes to fit.

Styles should be allowed change[/url:1qk20l3j], and codification like this are a barrier to it happening.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

12 years 7 months ago #10

Half true - there are at least 100+ US craft breweries putting out a beer that says "ESB" on the label. How many people does it take to call a thing by a name before it becomes that name?
[/quote:2ugt1425]
And I have no doubt there would be many more ESBs in the UK if Fullers hadn't trademarked the name. I am equally sure it has inspired many similar beers regardless of whether the brewers are allowed to use those 3 letters on the label.

The problem with things like this, aside from the ahistorical claptrap that often comes attached to it, is that there's a danger of it stagnating commercial beer into style categories, and numerical brackets of IBUs, EBCs and ABVs. I don't want beer to be like that -- but there are some people who think it should be. There are some people who will criticise a beer because the numbers are off. And there are brewers who will pander to this and adjust their recipes to fit.[/quote:2ugt1425]
I won't deny that these people exist but to rubbish the classifications based on this is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The BJCP argue that the guidelines follow the beers, not the other way around, that the guidelines are descriptive as against prescriptive. I think if the classifications were as powerful and influential as suggested it would stifle creativity and this would be especially apparent in the US craft brew scene. I think the evidence suggests otherwise. It is probably the most diverse, experimental market around.

Styles should be allowed change, and codification like this are a barrier to it happening.[/quote:2ugt1425]Styles do change and will change regardless of any codification.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

12 years 7 months ago #11

I am equally sure it has inspired many similar beers regardless of whether the brewers are allowed to use those 3 letters on the label.[/quote:gkhocm4q]That's the reason why I think it's pontless as a designation. Look at the English beers the BJCP classifies as ESB[/url:gkhocm4q]: can you see the unique common denominator? I can't.

to rubbish the classifications based on this is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.[/quote:gkhocm4q]Indeed. Hence my saying "there's plenty of useful information here" above.

The BJCP argue that the guidelines follow the beers, not the other way around, that the guidelines are descriptive as against prescriptive.[/quote:gkhocm4q]I hope the example above shows how far off they are with that.

It is probably the most diverse, experimental market around.[/quote:gkhocm4q]Taking size into account, I think the Danes, Dutch and Italians are streets ahead in the recipe diversity stakes.

Styles do change and will change regardless of any codification.[/quote:gkhocm4q]All I'm seeing is [i:gkhocm4q]more[/i:gkhocm4q] codified styles. The whole thing may yet collapse under its own weight.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

12 years 7 months ago #12

Look at the English beers the BJCP classifies as ESB[/url:1a19fsxl]: can you see the unique common denominator? I can't.[/quote:1a19fsxl]
The BJCP says as much: "A rather broad style that allows for considerable interpretation by the brewer."
Yeah, I'm not sure I see the similarities between them. But I also often don't see the similarities between a Best Bitter from one brewer to another, either. I'll just plead ignorance until I've had many more samples.

You want to learn the subtleties, drink the damn beer. [/quote:1a19fsxl]
Not an option for many Americans with premium/extra bitters – we get a handful of ales in bottles only, which any Brit is quick to point out mere shadows of the cask version. The US does, however, get countless US craft versions of British styles. How authentic are they? Guides like this can help you guess.

The supposed differences between porter and stout are a prime example. [/quote:1a19fsxl]
Roasted barley, sweetness, body, all of the above, none of the above – isn’t debating this stuff part of the fun of beer? Me, I say taste SN Porter and SN Stout side by side and that’s your difference.

Styles should be allowed change[/url:1a19fsxl], and codification like this are a barrier to it happening.[/quote:1a19fsxl]
Styles change, and the BJCP revises to reflect that. If anything, styles help define traditional beers.
And I don't believe most brewers care much about labels either.
I care, however, that Greene King IPA and Goose Island IPA are vastly different beers even though the same 3 letters are on the label. And I'm glad that's explained somewhere so I don't have to spend cash to find out the hard way.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.173 seconds