For our 84th Session, our host is Oliver Gray from Literature & Libation. During the day he works as a technical writer and studies the non-technical type by night at John Hopkins, and in his spare time blogs about both lit and getting lit. For his topic, he’s chosen Alternative Reviews, asking you to drink differently, or at least think about the beer differently, perhaps it’s more correct to say review the beer differently. Anyway, here’s how Oliver put it:
We, as beer bloggers, tend to get caught up in this beer appreciation thing, forever chasing an invisible dragon of taste, doing our best to catalog our experiences on the page or in a database. We get obsessed with the idea of quantifying our experience – either so we can remember specifics ad infinitum or use the data as a point of comparison for other beers – and often forget that beer is just as much art and entertainment as it is critic-worthy foodstuff.
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.
But, to balance that, you can literally do anything else you want. I mean it. Go beernuts. Uncap your muse and let the beer guide your creativity.
I want to see something that lets me know what you thought of the beer (good or bad!) without explicitly telling me. Write a short story that incorporates the name, an essay based on an experience you had drinking it, or a silly set of pastoral sonnets expressing your undying love for a certain beer. If you don’t feel like writing, that’s fine; plug into your inner Springsteen and play us a song, or throw your budding Van Gogh against the canvas and paint us a bubbly masterpiece. Go Spielberg, go Seinfeld, go (if you must) Lady Gaga. Show me the beer and how it made you feel, in whatever way strikes you most appropriate.
Was there something you always want to try or write, but were afraid of the reception it might receive? This is your chance. A no judgement zone. I encourage everyone who sees this to join in, even if you don’t normally participate in The Session, or aren’t even a beer blogger. This is an Equal Creation Opportunity. All I ask is that you not be vulgar or offensive, since this blog is officially rated PG-13.
My goal is to push you out of your default mode, to send you off to explore realms outside of the usual and obvious. I want you to create something inspired by beer without having to worry about the minutiae of the beer itself. Don’t obsess over the details of the recipe, just revel in the fact that you live in a place where you have the luxury of indulging in such beautiful decadence.
So crack open a beer, and take a sip. After you’re done tasting it in the usual way, start thinking about it differently. What else can you say about it? How else can you talk about it? In what other way can you describe it or write about it? Let everybody know what your take on that beer is on Friday, February 7. Post your response on Oliver’s announcement post or tweet him with your antidote to the boring beer review.