Get it right, or don’t brew it !

Beer Style NaziWhy the right beer style is important

I’m a Style Nazi and beer styles are important. I read the Beer Association or  BJCP  guidelines and if a brewer doesn’t brew a beer to  fit in the style guidelines, I’m grumpy as all hell. Why ?  I’ll tell you why.

I have worked in retail and marketing most of my life and both of these industries go under the microscope when it comes to delivering on your promise. For example, if you advertise or sell a watch and you say it is “water resistant” it must be able to be immersed in water without water entering the watch.

The sale of any product or service in Australia is regulated under Australian Consumer Law which protects the consumer and outlines the requirements of the manufacturer or supplier.  It covers a whole range of areas but in summary it says that goods must be:

  1. Of acceptable quality
  2. Fit for any specified purpose (like the watch)
  3. Match the description – It specifically says “Suppliers and manufacturers guarantee that their description of goods is accurate.

Whilst you could argue that some beers are not “of acceptable quality” (although unless it was off, it would be subjective), I believe you could argue that if a manufacturer called a beer a “Pilsner” and it didn’t match the official style guidelines, then their description of goods  is NOT accurate.

Now I am not going to suggest that if a beer which is called a Pilsner doesn’t match the style guidelines that you set about taking legal action against the brewer. After all this is Australia, not America. What I am saying though is that this is deceiving because the consumer is buying the beer based on the description that is given to it, and if the description is not correct then you have a right to be disappointed.

NOW, BEFORE YOU ALL GO OFF YOUR BRAINS ……… and say “If every brewer brewed to the guidelines we would get the same beer all the time” just take a chill pill and finish reading the post.

Two things. Firstly, there is plenty of scope within the style guidelines to brew different types of beer    AND MORE IMPORTANTLY .. I want brewers to push the boundaries with beer !

Yes that is right, go ahead and brew anything you want, use goat cheese or goat urine, whatever you want, just don’t call it something it is not.

Wine manufacturers do this all the time, they mix varieties and styles. If you want to brew a beer that sits somewhere between a Pale Ale and a Pilsner, call it a Pilsner Pale Ale, or a PPA, or just call it Nancy, I don’t care. Just don’t call it a Pilsner if it isn’t one !

End of Rant, but watch out for more rants from the Style Nazi