The craft beer community is a vast one. Hundreds of thousands, hell, maybe millions of people drink craft beer, brew their own, age premium beer, and just generally shoot the shit about excellent beer on a daily basis. The United States as seen a huge resurgence in beer interest or simply put, people caring about the flavor of their beer. A hundred years ago, there were maybe a HANDFUL of breweries in the United States. Now microbreweries are cropping up left and right; some are even attaining rock star status. It's pretty safe to say that craft beer is not just a hobby, it is a passion. And it is a universally shared passion throughout the group. Or so I thought.
Beer Advocate. I won't link their website because they don't deserve it. When I first entered the wide world of beer, it was my go-to site. It was easy to navigate and had the "beer 101" upfront and ready for a newbie's perusal and absorption. But one thing I noticed about the site itself is that it functioned more of a business, with heavily promoting their magazine subscriptions etc. This was fine, really. They need to pay for the site and if they want some scratch on the side, who am I to complain? As I delved headlong into the craft world, I started using their forums. Their forums, too, struck me as odd. Poorly moderated and obscenely unkempt, a lot of the senior users there were elitist and snobbish. Simple (but unanswered questions by the 101) were crushed savagely by either the Alstrom Bros (who run the site) or the older members. They were, in short and polite terms, ruthless. I thought "well, they're only two guys. They can't handle everything with grace and charm."
I now think differently. It is pretty fucking plain to see that the Alstrom brothers don't care at all about the community at large. They don't care about the passion behind beer anymore. Perhaps, at one point they did. Now it seems all they're in it for is the fame, free beer, and unique opportunities afforded to those who have a modicum of prestige in the beer industry. For god's sake, they've brewed beer with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head. A private label. But what, dear readers, caused me to blow my top? Simple as this: an unfollow on Twitter.
Ok, it seems petulant and asinine but it speaks volumes. I am a frequent user of Twitter (as you can see on the left). As I was perusing the daily feed after getting some work done, I saw a tiny quote by a friend of mine on Twitter. It was, roughly, that after a slightly disparaging comment on the Bro's Twitter activity, they were blocked from seeing their news feed. Yeah yeah, he said she said playground shit, but it's more important than that. After this happened and people commented, Beer Advocate started blocking more and more people. After awhile, 9 people were blocked in a matter of 20 minutes. What Beer Advocacy is that? If you can't take criticism you slide deep into your shell like a turtle, protecting yourself from the bad people by isolating the critics? Is this "Ostrich Syndrome" or something? A head in the sand and a "na-na-na-na poo poo" to all?
Readers, this is not Beer Advocacy. This is not Advocacy. This is just a piss-poor, childish move. The best part is that Beer Advocate is quite gung-ho about "independent news sources" and "opinions of the unwashed masses" that come in the form of blogs and small websites. But, at the same time, they're turning their back on what they are supposedly so supportive of. I, too, ended up getting blocked from their feed as well, just solely for asking what was going on. You can go look at my history, nothing overly harsh or critical of Beer Advocate was said on my part. Hell, I've been using Beer Advocate for years now. But now, since apparently nothing is sacred to them and they clearly don't wish to participate in the joy that is craft beer camaraderie, I write this. Friends, Romans, countrymen and women, lend me your ears. Boycott Beer Advocate. Once an uneventful source of beer knowledge and pride, its eyes have been clouded by fame and fortune. No longer do they care about the craft beer community. They just want to line their pockets and illuminate their names with neon. They have become the wayward sons, blinded by riches and fame. It is time to show them that if they won't support us then we in turn will not support them.
EDIT: I have been IP banned from the Beer Advocate forums.
EDIT 2: They also deleted my account, which had about 20ish reviews that I didn't have anywhere else. Woohoo. Thanks for being so petty.
EDIT 3: Thanks for all the comments, everyone. In case you didn't know, all comments are approved by me. I dunno why I keep allowing the one-word retorts like "retard" but I suppose a fair venue of discussion is in order. So keep 'em coming in. I'd like to hear from the Jason and Todd about this but it's probably not going to happen. They're striving to cover things up pretty well.
EDIT 4: I'm amazed at how low they're stooping.
EDIT 5: You should probably go HERE.