Session 84 The Anti Review
This month’s Beer Blogger Session is brought to us by Oliver Grey from Literature and Libation. His idea seems a bit odd but that is a good thing. It is always a good idea to change up how you look at the world.
“So for my turn hosting The Session, I ask all of you to review a beer. Any beer. Of your choosing even! There’s a catch though, just one eentsy, tiny rule that you have to adhere to: you cannot review the beer.
“I know it sounds like the yeast finally got to my brain, but hear me out: I mean that you can’t write about SRM color, or mouthfeel, or head retention. Absolutely no discussion of malt backbones or hop profiles allowed. Lacing and aroma descriptions are right out Don’t even think about rating the beer out of ten possible points.”
This session sounds like it could be a strange way to think about beer or any drink for that matter. But here is the thing, our taste memory is associated with emotions and memories of the world around us. Before I get into my anti review (or what ever it is I am going to do), I want to draw up a picture and maybe even show the power of the emotional moment of beer.
It wasn’t always just the Super Bowl that would get the over priced emotional commercials. The ad people at Budweiser have shown us their super power over the many years that Budweiser dominated the world of beer.
Maybe you aren’t old enough to remember the old Christmas commercials of the Budweiser Clydesdales. These horses pulled at emotional heart strings years before craft beer was even a hipster word.
And now their commercials still follow similar lines. Their commercials aren’t even remotely about the beer. They are about our emotions and how they can be used to bring in those memories. Our emotions tied to memory are our strongest.
Now you may ask what does this have to do with an anti beer review. The same that it has to do with a normal beer review, our memories and the emotions tied to them. You can claim you are analytically tasting and all that but the reality is, our flavor and emotional memories are the guiding principles that we use when judging anything.
So for my anti review I want to go back into my past. Long long ago when I wasn’t quite old enough to legally drink in the US (I was a rebel let me tell you). At the time I was in Dubai or maybe Aubu Dhabi. I can’t remember which. This all happened when I was in the Marines and during the first Gulf war.
I was in the Sheraton Inn in what ever country we were in at the time. Of course at the time I also thought I was hip and cool. I could drink cognac and smoke cigars, cause that was what cool people did. I ran across a German beer by the name of Orangeboom.
At the time I knew nothing about wheat beers or anything other than the lagers of Budweiser or Miller (Coors was an import into Michigan). But I had this beer, this beer unlike anything I had before it.
I didn’t have the words to describe the sensation, other than to say my eyes opened to something new and different. To this day I can still picture the bar I sat at. I know what the wood looked like, what the air felt like. I still find it odd that the bar was not smoked filled because that is such a strong association for what a bar should be for me.
We had to drink in an alcove away from everything else if we wanted to smoke as well. Granted I think this happened around the time of Ramadan so we had to be hidden away from most of the local population anyway. But that was only part of the situation.
To this day I am always brought back to the moment of rich woods and bar stools covered with supple leather, when I drink wheat beers. The flavors, the memories are forever intertwined.
If I remember correctly at one point Orangeboom was bought out by SAB Miller or something to that effect. The beer no longer exists. But I will always have my memories of that moment, the moment when a single beer opened my mind and my eyes to something more than what I thought I knew.
I would like to take a moment now to call attention to a new page on the site. If you have some time check out the works available pages.