When Trends Go Wrong

As I was reading Eddie Huang’s excellent treatise-cum-rant on food trends this morning, I was struck by certain parallels to the beer world. Specifically the craft beer world.

(Pause while you go read the article on salon.com. Done? Okay, back to business.)

Where Huang writes “razor clams,” substitute ultra-hoppy ales. Where he writes “Mangalitsa pork,” read instead Brett-influenced beers or bourbon barrel-aged monsters.

Get the picture? Huang was not, and I am not, calling for a stop to such cooking/brewing, just a moderation in our seemingly unstoppable enthusiasm for everything that emerges from a brewery with stupefying strength, tongue-numbing bitterness or cheek-puckering tartness. There are brewers who do such things extremely well, the Mario-Batalis-with-razor-clams and April-Bloomfelds-with-Mangalitsa-pork of Huang’s treatise, but not every brewer out there can pull it off first time out the block. These people, in Huang’s words, “take the time to really understand what (they are) trying to do.”

Calm, measured progress, is all I’m saying. Nothing extreme about it…

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