When visiting a brewery the most helpful thing you can do is offer constructive criticism and an unbiased opinion of what you are drinking. You will inevitably feel the urge to please the bar staff and the brewers with compliments on their brand new IPAs. Which is a normal feeling. Breweries are fun places to be. And brewers make up some of the finest drinking companions on the planet. Who wouldn’t want to be friendly in return? But I must implore that you praise in moderation and only when deserved.
I’ve seen a compliment come from someone who hadn’t even tried the beer in his hand before brazenly exclaiming that this was the best Saison on the market. This unabashed and aimless appraisal for everything and anything resembling beer is a disservice to the craft beer movement. It was the downfall of many breweries in this country in the 90’s. The fact of the matter was they didn’t know they were creating truly horrible beer. No one had ever told them. Craft beer was brand new to this country and none of their friends and patrons ever had the heart to come forward and tell this generation of brewers to step up their game. The beer suffered, and the people summarily descended to the familiarity of their mass produced light adjunct lagers.
Yet what we gained was the valuable lesson that critique begets quality. Whether it is art, literature, or in our own case beer, a critical eye opens up a dialogue between producers and consumers that both camps benefit from. Constructive feedback sparks the creative juices of brewers who are constantly seeking new combinations and techniques. Like an evolutionary pattern the bad beers are able to die in peace and be replaced by far superior iterations. Like Italy during the renaissance, everyone is engaged in the process of creation; so much so that the creations themselves are raised to heights that were previously untenable. Brewers did not create beer, society created beer, and it continues to do so to this day. With every sip you have ever tried you are furthering the evolution of fermentation. You owe it to society, and you owe it to beer, to speak the truth.
Cheers from the brewers at Iron Fist