It's pretty likely that there will an uncomfortable moment between me and Brooklyn Brewing's brewmaster, Garrett Oliver at the upcoming Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Sept. 24-26. Personally, I like the guy a lot. He's been nothing but extraordinarily helpful on the multiple occasions I've interviewed him for stories I've written. In person, he's equally magnanimous and friendly. He's as passionate about craft beer as I am and seems to work tirelessly spreading the good word.
But on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26, from 1:30 to 2 pm, we'll both be signing copies of our books in the Beer Geek Bookstore at GABF. That would be fine—damn cool, in fact—if my book wasn't about extreme beer. Unfortunately, Garrett is not a fan. In fact, he was quoted in a 2008 New Yorker feature by Burkhard Bilger stating this opinion in no uncertain terms: "I find the term 'extreme beer' irredeemably pejorative," he was quoted as saying. Later in that same article he concludes, "The whole idea of extreme beer is bad for craft brewing."
Which should make for a nice exchange and that uncomfortable moment I mentioned above when I shake his hand to say hello and reintroduce myself. And then sit down in front of a stack of books with "EXTREME BEERS" in all caps on the cover. Awkward.
I make no apologies for the book I wrote and I think differing opinions on what's best for the craft beer industry are healthy. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head— an unabashed proponent of well-made extreme beer—and Garrett Oliver both brew really good beer that I enjoy drinking. I think that continually pushing boundaries, being creative and exploring possibilities are noble pursuits in craft brewing.
So, if you don't find the "idea of extreme beer bad for craft brewing," stop by the Beer Geek Bookstore at GABF, pick up a copy of my book, The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing's Outer Limits, and have me sign it during one of the two sessions listed below.
Friday, Sept. 25, 8-9pm
Saturday, Sept. 26, 1:30-2pm (members only session)