Writing What’s Right About Beer

A month or so ago, the San Francisco Weekly published an article called The 10 Coolest Specialty Food and Drink Magazines. In that list are two magazines that write about beer, at least in a cursory manner.

The magazine Imbibe generally has one (or sometimes two) articles about beer and finished No. 3 on the list. The second to make the list at No. 5 is a magazine called Draft, which is written exclusively about beer.

Now, when writing about all specialty food and drink magazines, we think it was actually kind of impressive that one and a half of the choices involved beer.

After all, it is a big, wide world of food and drink out there.

What kind of put a burr under our saddle, however, was this statement in the writer’s description of Draft magazine, “Beer is not usually something you think of as classy.”

Now, this writer is sitting in San Francisco, what some call the birthplace of the modern craft-brewing movement. San Francisco even hosts the SF Beer Week, a 10-day festival with over 155 events.

Really now, San Francisco is not some Podunk town in the middle of nowhere, yet this writer felt the need to qualify beer as generally unclassy.

One might argue, based on our experience in the Yukon, that this qualifier would not be necessary. I would put very few, if any, of our customers in the category of needing lessons on improving their classiness.

True, there is a beverage category called beer that is yellow, fizzy and tastes best ice-cold,12 at a time with a frozen pizza.

There is also a category called beer, however, that houses a plethora of flavours, colours and subtlety. The rub is that all of the above are called beer, and therein lies the core of the issue.

In the end, the writer of this article notes that the magazine Draft “gives the craft its due as a refined art”. So, she eventually concedes that this beverage called beer, brewed in one way, can be quite different from that other beverage called beer, brewed in another.

We have certainly learned not to underestimate, in any way, the Yukon beer consumer.

Indeed, compared to the Yukon, San Francisco may quite possibly be lagging, at least in an overall sense. Over time, we have gotten more adventurous with our product offering.

Last winter, we brewed up a spiced ale that was totally unlike any other beer available in this market, not knowing how much, if any, would sell. And it became our quickest sellout, ever.

Right now, we have a Marzen beer, made with birch syrup freshly tapped by Berwyn Larsen, near Dawson. It is full of rich, subtle flavour, is totally unique (could it be the only beer in the world made with birch syrup?) and has created yet another mini rush to get some before it is gone.

And we kind of like the idea that, when it comes to sophisticated tastes, perhaps San Francisco should send a writer to the North to talk to some of the locals and get a few pointers to bring home.

This column is courtesy of the Yukon Brewing Company, an organization that is so classy, they drink their beer with a pinky extended.

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