Not every song in the top 40 is worth downloading, and not every beer launched is a modern classic. In each case, most will be boring, tasteless, tacky, or poor imitations.
But we’ll focus on beer. To try everything you would need as many livers as you would income streams. I can’t have beer every night, and I wouldn’t want to. I want it to remain special and something I really look forward to, like OK Computer.
The modern beer scene is brilliant. There are no rules, complete freedom, and creativity like never before. I love the artistic and design elements, the enthusiasm, and that more people are enjoying the best drink in the world. But there is a cost.
For every brewery that opens, one of your favourites releases a single hop range. Then some Americans will meet with some Scandinavians to produce a new style. Then that new style will get reproduced by eighteen-million breweries in London. Then a second wave will take that already overdone style to extremes in order to stand out. Then someone will propose we serve these beers in ludicrous ways that actually have a negative effect on flavour. With each stage we clamour to find these beers, photograph them, Tweet them, blog about them.
I’ve mentioned before that the popularity of ‘craft’ means beers are selling that really shouldn’t be. Edgy cans and nonsense ethos continue to hoodwink us, so a great deal of what we try is no good, and we waste money on bad beer. But that’s not all. There’s the time and energy in sourcing the latest limited edition. You might not be lucky enough to live two doors from one of the best bottle shops in the country, in which case you’ll plan in military detail how to get that Cloudwater DIPA in the six and a half minutes it will be on the shelves; if you manage to find it on keg you’ll have to sell your car to afford it; and if you’re devout you can multiply that effort and money by however many beers are featured in the current edition of Original Gravity. And we haven’t even left the UK scene.
Now the real issue: while, at breakfast, you’re trying everything that was released while you slept, you’re not drinking some stone-cold classics and favourites you haven’t had for years. Timeless masterpieces are sitting dormant while you guzzle a pale, grapefruit yawnfest. Schneiderweisse Tap 1 isn’t being sold in UK bottle shops because there has to be shelf space for a brewery started by the second cousin of the assistant brewer of Magic Rock. That is the greatest expense of all.
Beer is supposed to be the universal drink. Limited editions and ten quid pints are not accessible to many, those on moderate incomes and not part of the scene shouldn’t be limited Stella 4. Trying everything new and hyped and paying whatever it might cost is simply being trendy.
I wouldn’t change anything about the current scene, but I’m opting out of certain elements. Choosing based on can design? Never. Ten pounds for a pint? I can buy a Duvel for three. Untappd? Uninterested. True greats bubble to the surface, classics will speak to you.
I don’t know what songs or beers were released this week, but my weekend will be filled with amazing drinking and brilliant music.