Beer for me will always be about flavor. You can slap whatever name, style, picture, etc on it you want but so long as I can get my flavor on than all is well in my beer quaffing world. It's wonderful that brewers and judges have guidelines upon which to create and to evaluate. It's beautiful, even. But when guidelines become rigid rules that stymie and suppress a brewer's creativity, a judges ability to fairly evaluate a brew, and a beer drinkers ability, nay right, to enjoy said beers whenever, however, and in whatever flavor imaginable than I dare say things are getting a wee bit out of hand.
Style conflicts aside for a moment, yes I still plan on furthering my knowledge and professionalism in regards to beer, brewing, styles, and judging. I haven't settled on my next goal for this year since receiving my Cicerone Beer Server Certification, but I have a few ideas. As much as it pains me to say, Siebel and their Master of Beer Styles and Evaluation program will have to wait till next year. Money you see, it's a fickle thing. But there are other possibilities to keep the ol' Kristyn Beer Train on track. BJCP Certification and Home Brewing are fighting for eventual wallet domination in this fine year of 2010. Shall see...
Of course both roll me right back into the world of styles and style guidelines. For example: the Iniquity from Southern Tier which we tasted yesterday at work. Awesome beer. Southern Tier calls it an Imperial Black Ale/IPA. RateBeer calls it an American Strong Ale (another dubiously generic style of wide-ranging proportions) and BeerAdvocate calls it an American Double/Imperial IPA. Which is right? Which is wrong? Does it really matter?
Personally, not so much. Styles are useful but sometimes highly overrated. Tasting a little bit of all the above in my Iniquity, I simply call it fanfreakingtastic. Tasty. Yummy. Flavorific.
And for me, that's really all I need.
Brew on. Drink on. Get your flavor on.
May I have another please.
(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)