Our man sits in the dark. His greasy, porous cheeks reflect the white luminescence of the electronic page. He lifts a glass. The base of the glass sticks to the crumpled pages of a mid-1990s soft-core pornographic magazine. He sips from the glass. Swishes the heinous liquid around his mouth. His fat, grotesque lips form a damp smile. A stray drop gathers at the corner of his mouth. It drools down through his crusty, cheesy beard. It splashes softly onto his white, flabby, black-haired paunch. Amid the heavy stench of semen and the many, many additional odours that emanate from this man, unfit for any kind of natural activity, he plies his craft: he is a Craft Beer Blogger.
At least that’s how I imagine that these things come about. We’ve been at this brewing caper for a long time, we humans. And like the shark that has spent millennia honing its bloody routine for survival, we have recently become host to a multiplying contingent of remora — suckerfish, dangling from our mouths, gobbling up the bits of detritus they need to stay alive. But unlike the humble remora, the critics of our craft have grown fat. They never signed the remora’s pitiful contract. Instead, they grow. They grow large. They grow sharp teeth, and a ruthless appetite for shark flesh. And they are legion.
“Isn’t this meant to be about fun? Having a beer, some laughs?” A friend/industry colleague/mentor remarked this to me last week. And I thought back to my own dusk-lit memories, the lens smudged like gossamer… aah, simpler times. The beer was horrible. But the times were just the best they ever could be. And the beer we make for you — yes, YOU — now, is quite simply intended to be better than what we had. And despite your heavily overestimated opinion, and your imaginary credentials, it IS better. I imagine the heady barroom nights of my twenties set to the current array of solid, small-batch, hand-crafted beer… it would have been something immaculate. Now, if you quietly sip your beer and pontificate… judge… rank… ‘post’ and/or rate negatively… not only have you missed the point: you’re spoiled.
Be aware of what you drink. Pay attention. But stay positive. And don’t shit on anyone. Brewers have enough problems. We don’t need you to become another one.
So I raise this glass, tonight, to you: Jeffery Grajkowski. Cheers! To you and your ilk, for your thankless labour and insightful wisdom. Cheers! To your comments, via Untappd* [sic], in regard to my own Belgian Blonde: “Better than drinking straight from a dog’s wiener… barely.” I wish I had the space here to delve more acutely into your concise sensory breakdown, but for now I see you – so dedicated, so unwavering in your quest to enlighten and inform – fervently continuing your explorations into beer analysis through canine fellatio. I see your creased, sweaty brow, furrowed with dedication, while your lips pucker around that hairy little lipstick, waiting for your golden reward. You, Sir, are a National Treasure. And I speak for every professional brewer, as we labour to provide the fodder for your casual slander, when I say: cheers! This one’s for you, Jeffery.
Words by Daniel Murphy
Daniel Murphy writes freelance poetry and prose on urinal walls and independent magazines. He supports his chronic brewing habit through functional alcoholism. You can sample his beer (and the occasional salacious limerick) at Canoe Brewpub, where he has been Brewmaster for the past 3 years.
*Untappd is a social networking service that allows its users to check into beers as they drink them, and share these check-ins and their locations with friends. Untappd includes functionality that allows users to rate the beer they are consuming, earn badges, share pictures of their beers, and shit on professional brewers with self-important and uninformed critiques of good beers that they didn’t understand.
Originally published in analogue magazine’s June/July issue.
Murphy’s Canoe Brewpub Lager took Silver in the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards. See a full list of winners here