Sunday, June 25, 2017


在亚洲,绝大多数人不知道CRAFT BEER是什么,这是些在专卖吧/瓶子店或CRAFT相关社交媒体看到听到的情节。
Observing reactions from people who have not heard of craft beer or newly into trying some craft can be amusing at times--here's some FREQUENTLY UTTERED sentences/comments seen/heard on a daily basis either at craft beer bar/bottle shop or craft-related social media here in ASIA:-
1) Do you have something similar to XX brand(of MACRO BEER)?
This is quite a daily occurrences at any craft beer bar/bottle shop--somehow someone would just pop that question---which effectively saying "Don't give me anything strange or unfamiliar-- i want my familiar MACRO tasting BEER".
It's human nature to resist change --or it takes time to step out of comfort zone/accept new things--but hey--this is just beer( or maybe mead)--and it's so much more fun and delicious than your average BEER--there's no need to feel threatened or fear.
IN FACT--walking into a craft beer bar or bottle shop and asking for "something which taste like a MACRO BEER" is just like walking into a fresh fruits juices bar and keep asking if you could buy a factory made can/bottle of juice from the super market--it's obviously a scene of being at the right place but asking the wrong question.....
2) Give me the BEST beer/most Delicious beer
It's a common scene where someone walk into a restaurant and asked "what's the best dishes/ what's the most delicious food?" here in ASIA.
However--trying to apply the same logic when in a craft beer bar/bottle shop would not work--because with that many varieties of beer styles/taste profile--who is to say which beer is the BEST of the lot?
OK--there's so called top 100- top whatever chart listed out there on social media by beer rating websites-apps-magazines-experts and so on--if you a firm believer of others opinions about where a certain beer would place in a "top xx/xxx chart" then so be it--but the truth is--no one knows for sure which is the BEST beer.
Let's micro zoom a little here--on what might influence one's judgement about how a beer taste( to decide if it's a good one at that time of drinking)---let's take out the issue of whether it's good or bad brew--also take out the issue of how the beer might be handled logistic wise--let's just say it's a beer in good condition to drink--what might influence one's judgement about a certain beer is still quite a few:-
A) what are you looking for? or even crave for? a light beer? a heavier one? sweet one? bitter one? sour one?  
B) physical condition at time of drinking--fresh palate? tired already?
C) personal preference on beer taste profile influenced by food/fruits preferences..
Just imagine this scenario--you walk into a fruits stall full of all kinds of fruits--and you ask " which is the BEST?"--how to even compare apples with oranges? and while there's this saying that DURIAN( in particular the Malaysia species) is the KING of Fruits--how many of you out there would agree in unison?
3) This beer is so expensive/ so cheap
Let's agree on 1 thing first--that everyone view prices/value for money ( or not) very differently.
In ASIA--different major cities would have different taxes/policies in place by respective governments concerning alcoholic beverages including craft beer/mead --and the different ways of beers/mead being imported(officially sourced or grey imports)--hence it's obvious prices of same beer/mead from same brewery/meadery can have price differences.
BUT--even if there's no price differences caused by those mentioned above--assuming prices stays the same from Tokyo/Seoul to Beijing/Shanghai to Hong Kong/Taipei to Bangkok/KL/SG---THE FACT is there would always be some geeks who are willing to pay over the odds( say USD100 or above) just to secure some rare/hyped/hard to come by beers from US/Europe---while there would also be a bunch of people thinking to pay a few bucks more for a certain craft beer is just expensive/ not justifiable.....
The fact is--there's no need to think you have gotten a bargain by picking up some super cheap beers in a supermarket or such because unless you have checked the expiry dates/bottling/canning date/storage condition--you would not know if the beers still worth that few bucks you have just "gained"/spent.
As for geeks who chases after rare/hyped/hard to come by beers--the true value of that bottle is still about how it taste--it's not something to brag about or showcase as a shinny trophy.
4) Give me the STRONGEST tasting/ Highest ABV beer
Anyone asking for this would probably due to :-
A) thinking that the higher the ABV--the stronger a beer would be in taste profile--which obviously is wrong/misguided perception--the truth is some badly brewed beer can taste full of alcohol even at 4 or 5 % ABV--while some well made beers/mead can taste so "harmlessly smooth" at well over 10% or 20% ABV.
B) been watching too many badly made movies/drama series thinking that drinking beer is just to get DRUNK.( wake up--it's not cool)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WEEK 107---Craft What Fun?

2013年底朋友鼓励抱着写玩玩心态开始“CRAFT IS ART” 部落客,到隔年写“顽啤主张”,有朋友问到底Craft魅力何在,可以让人如此着迷?来聊聊到底怎么回事。
It's been quite a while since this blog started, here's a little "looking back and forth":-
1) how it started?
About 5 years plus ago--going to the only dedicated craft beer bar in town--the drinkers would almost always full of either expat or foreign tourists, the percentage of local drinkers are quite small- that's when a friend suggested " why not try writing a blog about craft beer in Chinese?"
(*Malaysia as a muslim country--technically speaking it's only the Chinese with 20 plus % of population and Indians at about 5 plus% who are not bound by "prohibition laws" and can drink freely) 
Then again--since there are Chinese who don't read Chinese, as well for the benefits of some friends who are not Chinese--a Chinese + broken English blog was born in late 2013.
1) 怎么开始的?
56年前去本地唯一1craft beer专卖吧时,都是外国人居多,有朋友提议说为什么不写中文啤酒blog尝试推广?后来想到有不会看中文朋友,也不管半桶水英文,于是变成中英文双语版。
2) drinking craft---what is it all about?
it's still beer drinking--only and HUGE difference is Choices available.
Imagine this--all the MACRO BEER you been drinking so far is like eating Plain White Bread and nothing else.  Drinking craft is more like making bread into all sorts of delicacies -you could put on fresh vege or ham or eggs or add some fruit jam-peanut butter jelly- toast it- roast it---the possibilities quite endless...
2) craft 到底怎么一回事?
简单说,可以想像成以前喝的大厂啤酒都像是白面包,而喝craft beer就像是开始在全麦面包上做各种美味添加,涂上果酱-花生酱-蜜糖,变成三文治或烤土司等美味转身,听起来是不是美味多了?
3) what got you into the craft "black hole"?
10 years ago--anyone who chose to drink some "Macro-ish" German beer or Belgium beer here in KL is considered advance drinker ;) 
There's simply no supply of craft beer here until about 7,8 years ago when a small Belgium restaurant in Bangsar brought in beers like de la senne, st.martin,  Hopus, Duvel...that was probably the time when palate was open up somewhat. BUT the 2 beers that really gotten me was Rochefort 8, as well as a vintage 330ml Struise Black Damnation Mocha Bomb kindly shared by the owner, those 2 beers definitely impacted the palate in more ways possible at that time.
3) 什么情况下陷入浩瀚啤海的?
一直以来吉隆坡没有craft专卖店,当时会喝些德国啤酒就已很与众不同了,七八年前有一家比利时餐厅自己小量进口几个不同品牌比利时craft beer,那时算大概知道什么是不同啤酒美味层次,真正让人开窍的啤酒是餐厅主人分享私藏,一是Rochefort 8号,另一是已绝版Struise Mocha Bomb小支装,对那时候味蕾来说,这两支啤酒带来震撼是影响深刻的。

4) what fun being a geek?
Geeks at times are seen as "alien subject" by some other drinkers--simply because they are seen to be either too picky about beer or trying to make something as simple as beer drinking into complicated rocket science?
In truth the joy of being a geek is the same as say a foodie, it's all about finding and enjoying different taste profile, in this case, either a beer or a mead, and that is all geeks wanted, nothing too complicated really. 
and if you don't realized, being a geek in ASIA can be not much fun--painful even at times--simply because we lives so far apart from Europe/US where lots of awesome beer/mead originated from and hardly get any consistent or fresh enough supply.
4) 啤迷乐趣是什么?
5) what so fun drinking craft?
first and foremost--it's different--though it's still beer--the varieties of taste profile one could get out of a craft beer (or mead) is so so much different from gulping your usual BUD or Tiger or Carlsberg or Tsingdao or Chang....
secondly- drinking beer can become something one could "taste"--the term tasting session no longer belongs to just whisky or wine--with craft beer you really can enjoy better with a tasting session- drink less taste more.
IF you are into or have friends who are very into certain sports or hobbies, say photography, cooking, rock climbing, writing or whatever--the joy is the same when you share and appreciate good craft beer/mead.
5) Craft乐趣是什么?
6) does it make any difference---when majority drinkers just simply buy BEER and gulp it down?
It's a fact that MACRO BEER is the market leaders in terms of volume and easy access to getting it--but craft is here, craft is a CHOICE, and a much much better one (ok, fxxk some awful brew claiming to be craft)--people just need to open up their eyes and mind and give some varieties of craft a few tries before even trying to decide or judge if craft is worthy sip or to your liking.
craft in ASIA is still at early developing stage--if the US market took about 20 odd years to gain a strong foothold in the beer market while trying to fend off all kinds of tactics from MACRO--ASIA might need that long a time to get craft moving in the right direction--one step at the time--so long as craft community moves--the craft movement will move in tune...
6) 绝大多数人都随便买随便喝大厂啤酒,啤迷摇旗呐喊有用吗?
Craft主要靠口口相传,如何让更多人知道啤酒不是只有大厂品牌,craft beer才是更美味多变化选择不是短期内就能看到成效的事。美国的craft革命用了20年左右才有如今占整体啤酒市场销量10多巴仙成绩,亚洲肯定需要时间,而且搞不好比美国更长时间才能让更多消费者开始意识到喝啤酒时其实有更多美味选择。
7) why write when the market is dominated by MACRO still?
when this blog started--or subsequently when the local Chinese newspaper Guangming Sunday feature section invited to start a craft column--the thought is the same--it's to share thoughts about craft--though maybe it would be nice to be able to earn money while writing/sharing like J.K.Rowling or some big time blogger but i guess that's not happening/not gonna happen :)
end of the day--if anyone who read this blog/newspaper column or say someone met in person got interested with craft and went on to explore more--i guess that would be reasons enough to keep writing/sharing...(though i won't mind IF someone like to donate millions to the account and say go on be a full time craft writer or go and publish a book or something : )
7) 大局是那样,还有什么好写的?
无论是最初写部落客或“顽啤主张”,都没什么伟大理想抱负,只抱分享心态,想到什么就写什么,要说有谁看了会对craft beer产生兴趣,或觉得原来长大以来以为认识的大厂啤酒并不是啤酒全部真相,那就够了。

Monday, June 5, 2017

WEEK 105---you have CHOICES when it comes to beer

This is a fairly simple piece --it came out of a casual chat with someone about craft beer, during MBCC beer week  here in craft desert KL:-
"what is it about craft beer? what so special that people would fly all the way to Copenhagen just for beer? are you guys nuts?"
Obviously the guy who commented is not a beer geek--well perhaps not even a craft beer drinker but a curiosity drinker--and he is absolutely right to voiced out those questions.
You see--the world of beer is split into 2--there's the commonly available everyone knows MACRO BEER, and then there's craft beer( though i would say it's going to be 3 or already split into 3 with the role of MACRO-CRAFT coming into play) ---hence it's normal majority of BEER drinkers don't understand how and why geeks behave or go huhhhhuaaa about beer.

"what so different about the world of craft"--the curiosity drinker guy asked.
The biggest differences of course is CHOICES--there are so many choices with craft beer that it's like walking into a candy store or XMAS gifts shop.
 的确,喝啤酒这件事本质上是可以很简单的,就算来到craft beer的世界,也可以是简单事情,要说其中最大差别的话,应该说在于怎么喝,喝什么。

"OK--choices--but is that to say you guys turning what used to be straight forward friends gathering-chit chatting drinking session into some complicated -smart ass beer sniffing -gourmet studying session?"
That is also quite understandable--of course geeks can be a bunch of weirdos who sniff beer as if they are tasting wine/whiskey--take photos of bottles like they are taking pictures of some rock stars or the finest art collectibles--all those make geeks look somewhat strange--to many a beer is just a beer--there's no need really to make things complicated than necessary.

Are beer geeks really that different from say guys who are crazy about photography? or say people who are into seeking out good food? or say people who love mountain climbing?

The answer is simple---what  beer geeks really wanted is to be able to seek out and appreciate high quality brew --and to achieve that geeks are prepared to do more be it to fly out, to pay a bit more than average drinkers would for MACRO BEER, to study a bit about beer styles and taste profile and so on---It's all about passion and interest level---all in the name of taste.
没错,啤酒原本就是被诠释为直截了当的轻松型酒精饮料,这是大厂啤酒一直为大家塑造的印象,也是消费者一直以来的理解。换个角度看,在craft beer世界裡,喝啤酒可以有更多其他层面享受。

如果一个饮客一路来只认识大厂啤酒,会这样想不出奇,因为对不少人来说,喝啤酒就只是为了跟朋友或亲人开心集聚,喝什么口味啤酒根本不重要,气氛和亲友间交流才是重点。所以,当一个那么"简单质朴"的大厂啤酒世界概念被强调不同风格口味啤酒享受的craft beer改变後,啤酒世界没选择不用选择的局面就已被打破。

"so craft has got choices-different flavour profile--but why should i drink craft?"
It's not a must for everyone who drink MACRO to turn over and drink craft--it's still personal choices what you would prefer to drink or where to drink---the 1 big reason maybe that since no matter if one is drinking MACRO or craft--it's still alcoholic drink which the body needs working to dissolve the alcohol, in that case, why not give your palate a nicer tasting beer than the dull and same same?
'what so different drinking a MACRO BEER or a craft?"
there's many technical aspects to go into details--perhaps think of it this way---it's like the differences of drinking a pack of frozen orange juice bought from convenience store as compared to a glass of freshly squeezed juice with 3 oranges? 

一些人喝啤酒只为热闹或跟亲友聚聚,喝什么不重要,只是,看到大多数人完全不知道有craft beer美味多样化选择存在是件让啤迷揪心的事。的确,每个人口味看法不同,有人觉得喝大厂啤酒就很爽了,可是,对啤迷来说,打个比喻,酿得很好的craft就像是用3粒优质橙榨成的一杯果汁,更原汁原味新鲜好喝。跟超市卖的包装果汁是有一定区别的,既然有那样的美味选择,为什么不要?

"what so good or important to know what craft is?"
Let's maybe put it this way---knowing how to appreciate craft would bring about many different flavours for varieties of palate enjoyment.
Only those who gave themselves a chance to get to know craft better--as well know how to respect an alcoholic brew--would have the chance to appreciate the multitude of joy craft could bring.
或许这样说,懂得欣赏craft beer会带来很多意想不到的不同风味味蕾享受(虽然偶尔也有喝到难喝酿品受罪时候),也会比较懂得怎么去面对酒精,只有给机会自己口味选择,尊重酒精酿品的人,才有机会享受不同类别啤酒所带来乐趣。