Best in Show

The quality of a beer, like all things, is a matter of opinion. Those who think their opinion is not an opinion, but rather some universal truth of quality, are what I refer to as snobs. Beer snobbery reaches its extreme with the existence of the beer competition.

I don’t enter beer competitions. Well, to be truthful I did it once. A few years ago after getting so many raves about Honey Badge Don’t Care (since renamed Badger Don’t Care), I entered it in a beer contest. Well, it won no prize and I received the notes from the judges who had comments like, “should have more of this” or “not enough of this.” At which point I realized the absurdity of the competition. For someone to think that Badger Don’t Care is not what it is supposed to be assumes that somewhere there exists an ideal version of Badger Don’t Care and that I am trying to replicate it. When the truth of the matter is that Badger Don’t Care is exactly what it is supposed to be. It is exactly what I want it to be and that is exactly the beer that so many people love so much.

So, what is the point of a beer contest? It’s like a dog show. In dog shows people try to have dogs that most precisely match some theoretical (and arbitrary) definition of the particular breed of dog. It’s not the best dog. It’s a very specific thing that does not really address what most people would consider a good dog. A good dog is the friend that waits for you at home that you love to spend time with. And a good beer is the beer that you like to drink.