Booze: The Session #68 – Novelty Beers

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.

This month’s session is about Novelty Beers and is hosted by 99 pours.

Now, I’m pretty busy right now; I have lots of albums to review and a few beers to write about but I think anyone who reads my tweets or my blog would expect me to weigh in on this one.

The issue here, however, is that the people who read my blog and my tweets will be expecting this post to only talk about a certain brewery.

I have to disappoint those people.

See, I’m a beer geek or enthusiast. Hell, maybe I’m even an alcoholic. I don’t know what you call it. As of today, untappd says I’ve had 188 unique beers since I started using it a couple of months ago. Some of these are what you’d probably call ‘novelty’ beers.

I talk about beer all the time to friends who like beer but aren’t really into it as much as me. I talk about all of the different beers I’ve had and will occasionally get asked questions about them as my friends are sometimes genuinely interested and there are times when they’ll be like “What the fuck? That’s weird”.

Is it though?

Is any beer ‘weird’ or a ‘novelty’ anymore?

Brewers are putting all kinds of shit in beer. Bacon, weasel poo coffee, steroids… all manner of crap.

But hang on… isn’t that what ‘craft’ brewers hate macro brewers for? Filling their beer with unnecessary shit? Of course, there are opposite aims – macro brewers do it to make their beers cheaper and ‘craft’ brewers do it just for the hell of it or because it seems like ‘fun’ and a ‘novelty’ to put ‘weird’ flavours in their beers and because it gets people interested.

It’s the same principle as my marketing job… write a subject line that is vaguely related to the content of the email and it gets people interested; it makes people open my emails. Or a brewery, brew a weird beer that vaguely resembles and IPA and call it “<insert weird ingredient here> IPA” and people buy it because they’re curious.

My point is that the term ‘novelty beer’ is as bullshit as the term ‘craft beer’. It’s all beer, regardless of what brewers put in it. It’s just marketing. Where ‘macro breweries’ will constantly brew the same beers all the time but launch a new shaped glass, beer font or tap handle, ‘craft breweries’ will launch a ‘novelty beer’ with slightly unusual ingredients.

So yeah, that’s my contribution. I just don’t care anymore. I’ve had my time bitching about that brewery and their unnecessary sticking stuff in beers but I understand now. I’m just gonna shut the fuck up and drink my Carling.

Have a good Friday, you weird beer drinking fiends.



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