Is It me?
Recently, I was browsing the beer forums and blogs for the show and came across the an article, and like most good articles it made me question myself. Let me explain. In the article in question the author was at a bar and overheard a group of guys talking about the beer they were ordering. He agreed with most of the acronyms they were throwing around and I’m guessing most of the major descriptors as well. The only thing that really irked him was that they were saying how the IBU’s were low on the amber ales, the stouts, and even the IPA’s for christ’s sake!
Now the question I asked myself was “Am I one of those guys?” really? “Do I dislike a beer based on its relative IBU count?” And if I dig down deep and am truly honest with myself the answer is NO! Ok maybe I do. However, in most situations when I am at a new bar I look at the menu and choose a beer that they describe as one I might like. This is an IPA more than anything. If they have more than one of the same style and nothing between them is that different, than yes I might use IBU’s as a deciding factor. But. that is not the defacto reason I choose to drink a beer. Most of the time it is more of an after thought more that anything. I drink the craft beer (probably an IPA) and think to myself or out loud “What’s the IBU’s on this beast?” But, even if its below what in my amateur taste buds might assume that it should be I still do not feel it affects my overall assessment of the beer.
There Is a Crowd For That
Lets be clear, in the article the author describes that at first IBU’s were a way for brewers to to measure the brew they were creating. The author even goes as far as comparing a Sierra Nevada stout to its pale ale counterpart, and low and behold the stouts has more IBU’s than the pale ale. But, somewhere, someone down the line started to use the IBU’s of the beer to market the beer itself. Now, I would be lying if I said I was immune to this marketing back in the day. I fondly remember drinking Left Coast’s “Hop Juice” with it’s 100 IBU’s for you slogan repeating in my brain over and over again while I was drinking it. But after a while that did not matter to me. It was just another thing that might make this beer better, not “thee” reason this beer is good. However, as my co-host in our latest podcast points out, he is one of those guys. That a lot of the time he does care what IBU’s the beer has and if its not up to his standard its not for him. And while I can understand this, I do not agree with this. However, to each his own and all that but there are more reasons to enjoy a beer besides the IBU’s of the beer. Go find yours.