The Beer Man, Todd Haefer, is at it again. A few weeks ago he wrongly accused wood-aged beers of being a passing fad, despite record numbers of them entered at GABF. The upcoming Barrel Age Beer Festival at The Bistro was expecting to get about 50 beers entered and as of a few days ago 65 were coming. So for that reason I was a bit suspect of his using a moniker that implied expertise and respect. He may be “a” beer man, but I don’t think he’s “the” beer man.
Today’s prouncement confirms that, I think. In a review of Lagunitas’ Censored Ale (f.k.a. Kronick) which in and of itself wasn’t bad, he attacked brewery owner Tony Magee’s delightful beer label ramblings with a no-holds-barred, tell-me-how-you-really-feel, full-frontal-assault. Here’s what Todd had to say:
I do have to mention that Lagunitas has some of the dumbest beer-style descriptions I’ve ever seen on a Web site. Just check out this link for Censored Ale and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not funny, not cool, not cute, it’s just … dumb and doesn’t tell you anything about the beer.
Here on the left coast, Lagunitas’ labels have something of a cult following and articles have been written on the labels alone. Not the beer, mind you, just about the labels. Of course, we also have the benefit of context and knowing Tony. Oh, and we have a sense of humor, too. Because Tony’s labels are often hysterical, and many times confounding and perplexing. But the one thing they never are is dull. Who said beer labels have to tell you something about the beer or the beer style? Go in your refrigerator right now. How many beers have a story about the beer on the label? Half, maybe less? So why can’t Lagunitas let the beer speak for itself and have a little fun on the labels? After re-reading this label I’m a little confused as to why Beer Man thought it was a beer description, albeit a “dumb” one, in the first place. Here is the label rant from Lagunitas Censored Ale:
Anyway, we were going out to, uh,the ,uh, you know, thing, and all, and when we got there, well, uh, the dude was, like- “whoa man!” I mean, and we were all, uh, you know – “whoa!” and stuff, and when I said to him, like, you know, “hey man”, and all they, I mean he, was all “what?” and stuff- and I just told him what you said and all and they were all man- “not cool dude”, but whatever- so, uh, we split and went back to my lair and just hung out and whatever, but the whole thing was, like, just SUCH a bummer and all but, you know, it was cool and stuff, but you just gotta, you know, about the dude and all, like, it’s cool and all you know, but what’s up with that “blah blah blah”? Whatzit got to do with beer and all? I mean, really, dude, whatever…but, it’s cool and all…
So what part of that did Beer Man think was a “beer-style description?” Honestly, even if you don’t find it funny, cool, cute or informative, you can’t really believe it’s trying to describe the beer, can you? You’d have to figure it was ironic and not serious wouldn’t you? But it proves once again Tony Magee’s most prophetic quote.
“Beer Speaks. People Mumble.“
Jim Lundstrom says
Craig Hartinger of Merchant du Vin referred me to your “beer man” commentary. Haefer just continues to stick his foot in his mouth. Several Wisconsin brewers would like to see him drawn and quartered after he trashed their beers (Kirby Nelson of Capital, and the Klisch brothers of Lakefront, for trashing their gluten-free beer (which just won a gold at the GABF for specialty beer). I hear from local readers all the time about how mnuch they dislike Haefer. Haefer and I used to work together at a small daily newspaper in the early 90s. I moved on to a larger newspaper (the Appleton Post-Crescent), where I originated the Gannett Beer Man column (I did not name it — the editors did while I was on vacation when my first column ran). I developed a faithful following during the fours years I served, but I left Gannett in July 2005 over idiotic management policies. They told me they owned the Beer Man name, so I became “the Real Beer Man” (taking the name just to rub it in) for a local alternative newspaper. I ran into Haefer at a beer fest and told him I thought he was a scab for taking a job I quit in protest. Anyway, just thought you might find this of slight interest….
editor, The Scene (www.valleyscene.com)
832 Jefferson St.
Menasha, WI 54952