Warning: what follows is little more than a stream of thought outline rather than a cogent post, I may get a chance to cajole it into some semblance of logical thought, then again I'm off to Belgium next week; so I might not!
The session this month asks us to look at the difficult topics that aren't touched upon by beer . Part of me wants to point out that rather than be writing about what needs to be written about (blogging about blogging?), people should just get along and do it! Aside from finding the impetus to write something compelling instead of procrastinating^ there are certainly some topics that don't get touched upon by beer bloggers...either by dint of the topic being too difficult or controversial to write about or otherwise just plain boring.
There is of course a tendency for any stories about beer to be spun in a positive light, to the extent where facts are misrepresented and negative issues to be buried to the extent people even forgot they existed. This is certainly true in reviewing, perhaps doubly so if the beer/bar visit/insert item here is free.
There are myriad reasons for this. The more cynical amongst us would suggest that the writing of a bad review would lead to the cutting off of the lifeblood of some blogs which survive on free beer alone. The whole #BloggerBlackmail story has shed some light on the murky practice of promising a good review in return for freebies but this must surely be only the odd bad-egg rather than something that is rife. I'd hope that people were able to be fair when reviewing a beer/pub/ whatever regardless of whether they got a freebie or not and whilst its nice to receive the occasional care package* the majority of beer writers and bloggers fork out their own readies on the beers they write about.
More likely is that most beers aren't astoundingly good or spectacularly bad, just so-so, meh, comme ci comme ca and provoke a feeling of indifference in the writer which doesn't really lead to compelling reading; resulting in only the interesting beers getting through. Believe me for every good beer I write about there are five that are so-so and another few total drain pours.
Others will be loathe to write off a brewery on the back of a single bad experience, being keen to remind everyone that brewers are just doing a day job, often heavily self-funded and a bad review could cause harm to their business. Whilst this may be true for a small handful of writers, the majority of us just don't have the clout to make that much of an impact.
Finally taste is subjective, therefore enjoyment of beer is objective. Aside from obvious flaws and off-notes (which sadly are all to prevalent in our resurgent beer scene)¬ who's to say what you're tasting and not enjoying won't float someone else's boat.
All that said I really enjoy reading well written critiques of beers, especially those which take apart the status quo on "whale" beers and other highly hyped beers. A plea for more of these please!
^a topic for a whole other blog post
*Fully declared of course...
¬ability to objectively determine such flaws is few and far between in the pool of all beer bloggers, not excluding myself either
+Another potential blog topic...