I neither Advocate nor Rate Beer

Tell a lie…

But you knew that. Unless I’d gone wholly over to whisky, a site named “maltjerry.com” would be a bit of a waste without somebody in charge who liked beer. Somebody called – at least in shortened form, “Jerry”.

Of course I still love beer. I just wanted to attract you to my post. Only this weekend I was extolling the virtues of the splendid and varied beers in Mikkeller Bar, Copenhagen. It’s just I didn’t want to give them points.

Can you review beers without points?

Tasting but not rating. Three beers at Mikkeller Bar, Copenhagen

If you spotted that my headline refers to membership beer reviewing sites BeerAdvocate.com and RateBeer.com, give yourself 4.5 points. Something I’ve never been interested in giving to any beers I’ve tried. Or whiskies for that matter. Before beer ratings existed, I had no truck with star ratings for albums, either.

A major purpose of BeerAdvocate and Rate beer, but by no means the only one is to allow beer lovers everywhere to review and give points to the beers they are drinking. So you know, respecively, the top-rated beers are Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, a double IPA from the US, and the Belgian Trappist quadrupel ale, Wesvleteren 12.

These are hugely successful sites. And there are others, such as Untappd.com, many of which have smartphone apps so you can log your tasting notes and post online straight from the pub/bar/pop-up barbecue. It’s a big beer/social media/community thing, in case you don’t have enough beer community where you are actually doing your drinking.

It’s like a democratization of the Robert Parker wine scores. You might think that would be something I’d be an advocate of. I am really, I just don’t want to do it myself.

The danger of giving review points or stars, wasps, bananas, or whatever, is it tends to stop the peruser from reading about the beer/whisky/film/album. It risks leaving a one-dimensional impression. Which would be a pity. How do you drink a beer objectively that you know is highly rated or reviewed? And I don’t do reviews either.

I’m afraid I tell another lie. I sort of do do reviews, well, not in the way a critic might, rather in the form of notes and comments that go into my blog posts. I keep my own tasting notes too. These I have kept out of the eye of blog reader, beer-rater and for that matter, search engine crawler.*

Introducing MaltJerry’s “Swift Half”
But now I’ve created a new posting category specifically for short and snappy beer comment posts. By clicking “Swift half” in the Category list in the sidebar, you can easily find them and be a delighter in or berater of my taste. I’ve tagged a few old posts already, and here’s a new one I prepared earlier: Schneider Weisse Tap X – Evening in a summer meadow.

I promise to keep in mind the “swift” part of the category name and keep each post short. Wherever appropriate, I will suggest a food pairing. If possible, I will suggest where to buy. They are often recommendations, so you could say I intend to influence. But the main thing is to be social, which is really what BeerAdvocate, RateBeer, and the rest are all about.

Over the coming weeks I will sneak in some of my old tasting notes, posting them as new and then later, changing the date to when I actually tasted the beer.

Having told two lies in one post, I won’t end by reneging on the principle. Because of the no truck thing I mentioned, my swift halves will remain starless, hop-cone-less, and well, yes, pointless. Join me for a Swift Half.

Pliny the Elder profile on BeerAdvocate.com
Westvleteren 12 profile on RateBeer.com
Go straight to the category Swift Half

*I really wanted to write: “That is, until now…” Thank Dawkins I didn’t, eh?


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