Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Bars, wine, beer, cocktails, drunken escapades
Ducatista
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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Ducatista » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:35 pm

While we're on the subject of ingredients: I'm a fan of Linalool IPA, with its indigenous WI hops. But I wouldn't throw "terroir" around regarding that beer, either.

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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:00 pm

I'd argue the idea that terroir can be experienced by consumers via their taste buds is as much a factor of marketing as anything truly inherent in products (it's hardly limited to wine in the minds of people who put stock in it) and it absolutely owes at least some of its appeal to good old-fashioned French snobbery. Now, I'm not saying that as a knock, really -- being a wine lover or a foodie is ultimately just a hobby like any other, and I don't like to disparage the joy found in the minutiae or rituals by any hobby's practitioners -- but, in blind testing, most experts fail at being able to taste the things they claim they can taste in fine wines (my favorite example being the study that showed dyeing white wine with red food coloring completely overwhelms the taste buds), just as most self-proclaimed experts fail at such identifications in most such endeavors. People can talk themselves into just about anything, in other words, and then other people can convince themselves to put more stock in the opinions of those experts than they probably deserve.

Can art historians really tell forgeries from the real deal with particularly great accuracy without rigorous scientific testing? Nope. Can record collectors actually distinguish between LPs pressed at different plants with only their ears? Not usually. Are there really experts who can routinely identify what part of the world your olive oil originates from just from sniffing it? Not likely. Machines can do those things -- so there are real differences, no doubt about it -- but humans who claim to have such abilities tend to arrive at that conclusion based on a good deal of imagination and wishful thinking mixed in with their actual expertise (and make no mistake, I am not claiming that expertise is purely illusionary, so please don't misread that I am. Some people know quite a lot, just rarely as much as they think they do.)

Just like my (well-tested) claims about how terrible human memory is, most people will reject what I just said out of hand. But them's the facts, folks.

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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby david cohen » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:21 pm

BTW, Ducatista, still my mad props and undying gratitude for turning me on to Tavour! I've been unable to quaff beer the past month due to antibiotics to combat a tick bite and the attendant illness, but I still get my monthly Tavour shipments...2 more weeks to go and my tastebuds are dying over here. I LOVE their service, selection, etc.:) And they even had some New Glarus available not long ago:)

Ducatista
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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Ducatista » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:29 pm

david cohen wrote:BTW, Ducatista, still my mad props and undying gratitude for turning me on to Tavour! I've been unable to quaff beer the past month due to antibiotics to combat a tick bite and the attendant illness, but I still get my monthly Tavour shipments...2 more weeks to go and my tastebuds are dying over here. I LOVE their service, selection, etc.:) And they even had some New Glarus available not long ago:)

Yay, so glad to hear that! About Tavour, I mean, not six weeks with no beer. That's not cool at ALL.

Ducatista
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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Ducatista » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:30 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Are there really experts who can routinely identify what part of the world your olive oil originates from just from sniffing it? Not likely.

Yeah, I'm with you, but it's possible that terroir exists independently of knowledge of terroir, know what I mean? The idea is that a wine (or whatever) may taste/look/feel a certain way because of where it came from. Whether or not you or I can identify the influence of the mineral content of the soil, or the angle of the sun during pollination, or the hardness of the groundwater, or the I don't fucking know what, doesn't change the fact that those influences add up to that particular wine.

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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:45 pm

Ducatista wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Are there really experts who can routinely identify what part of the world your olive oil originates from just from sniffing it? Not likely.

Yeah, I'm with you, but it's possible that terroir exists independently of knowledge of terroir, know what I mean? The idea is that a wine (or whatever) may taste/look/feel a certain way because of where it came from. Whether or not you or I can identify the influence of the mineral content of the soil, or the angle of the sun during pollination, or the hardness of the groundwater, or the I don't fucking know what, doesn't change the fact that those influences add up to that particular wine.

Nothing there I would argue with at all.

And I again wanna stress -- anyone who gets enjoyment from consuming or discussing wine or food or whatever in some particular way, by all means, keep doing it. Don't ever let a cranky realist like me suck any joy from your life. If the only thing people deluded themselves about was that how things taste could be determined objectively and the only willful ignorance we as a species ever displayed was to ignore jerks like me who wanna show them lab tests to prove their perceptions about flavor are in good part products of their imagination, what a wonderful world it would be.

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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby fennel » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:19 pm

Some folks are genetically predisposed to believing that climate change isn't real. Weak genes, I say — the only reason, ever, for eugenics.

(I kid, but one has to wonder.)

Other folks come to believe in the Holy Gospel of Cilantro, because they pray the distaste away.

(I'm pretty sure that's right...)

For me, I just happened to turn the taste profile upside-down, and I saw (or tasted, I guess) that the picture was not of a blood-sucking demon, but of a playful brown-eyed muse, floating on the still waters of Giverny.

So I guess it's true that there's no accounting for taste. As for the Denialists, that's another matter entirely.

Ducatista
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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Ducatista » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:50 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:If the only thing people deluded themselves about was that how things taste could be determined objectively and the only willful ignorance we as a species ever displayed was to ignore jerks like me who wanna show them lab tests to prove their perceptions about flavor are in good part products of their imagination, what a wonderful world it would be.

I'm saying terroir results in something lab tests COULD prove. This isn't some weird homeopathy thing, where the ghost of a place hovers over a bottle of Domaine de Whateverfuck. Each wine has objective characteristics: chemical makeup, suspended solids, probably other stuff I don't know or care about. Terroir is a lyrical way of summing up how a lot of different factors add up to those objectively measurable characteristics. Whether wine poseurs can accurately identify any of the above is beside the point.

I like the term from an economy of language perspective. One little word covers the whole land/sun/water business, along with the benefit of tradition and close sourcing.

That's why I'm not keen on throwing the term around willy nilly. I care about language a lot more than I care about wine. (Not more than I care about beer, though.)

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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby thebookpolice » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:14 am

Ducatista wrote:I LOVE beer.

Okay, just seemed like you had an allowance for poetry as far as wine was concerned, but beer was all commodity transactions. I don't typically use "terroir" in discussing the house characteristics of various breweries anyway, but the concept it tries to express -- as much as my prose may thud dully in your ears -- is in my mind equally valid for beer and fairly similar to "terroir" in spite of wine's stranglehold on romantic flourishes.

Some interesting reading on terroir, beer, wine, etc.:

-Should "terroir" be used in the world of beer?

-Jester King ditches "Methode Gueuze" label in deference to Belgian tradition

-Bianca Bosker's Cork Dork (skip to the Epilogue if you want to know whether wine tasting is utter bullshit or scientifically defensible)

Ducatista
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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Ducatista » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:48 am

Yeah, I think a good case can be made for certain Trappists or Carthusians who brew from ingredients in the neighborhood. Until they start outsourcing to the Lowland next door, that is.

Since terroir is all about being grounded (yeah I said it) in a place, beers that mix together a bunch of ingredients sourced from and/or processed in a bunch of places don't warrant the term. And that's the vast majority of beers.

Maybe somebody should plant some hops & barley & build a brewery next to the Briess malt plant in Waterloo. Who knows what essence might result from being right next door to the pickle factory?

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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:29 am

Ducatista wrote:I'm saying terroir results in something lab tests COULD prove.

That's why I said "machines can do those things -- so there are real differences, no doubt about it" and then agreed with your first reply to me. All I doubt is the ability of human noses and taste buds to ferret out and accurately identify those differences (and blind taste tests have repeatedly demonstrated that in almost all cases, they can't.) Because if "how things taste" were an objective thing, then they should taste the same to everyone always, and that's clearly not the case. So we seem to be in complete agreement, which makes me wonder what you're arguing with me about.

Ducatista
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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Ducatista » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:43 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:So we seem to be in complete agreement, which makes me wonder what you're arguing with me about.

I'M not arguing, YOU'RE arguing. (sorry, couldn't resist)

Apologies for misreading your post. I saw "Don't ever let a cranky realist like me suck any joy from your life" and knee-jerkily assumed you were putting me on the opposite side of realism. I'm glad I was wrong.

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Re: Beer Advocate, WI, & New Glarus

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:55 pm

Gotcha. That whole paragraph was directed at folks in general, not you specifically.

As should be obvious from lots of other posts I've made over the years, I am endlessly fascinated by the power of the human brain to deceive itself, but we all do it (and there's no way not to) so there's really no reason to stomp on things that bring people joy. If someone gets enjoyment from believing they can detect subtle nuances in flavor, then they can, as far as I'm concerned, even if I know they probably couldn't in a blind test.

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Re: no time for the whole joke...

Postby penquin » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:01 pm

...the man spits out the drink, and yells "That's piss!!"
To which the bartender says "Yup, but whose?"


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