One thing that epitomises the rise in on-line beer writing is the way that some fresh-thinking brewing companies have harnessed the support of the on-line community to help to grow their business.
The natural life of this fanbase creation is that there is an initial stage where everyone is climbing on the bandwagon saying everything from such and such a brewery is great and fine and dandy. Then a secondary phase as the mist clears and some of the actions by said company intended to stimulate debate, comment and outrage become over the top and folk start to be more critical. There follows a third stage where everyone realises that on balance most things the company does are for the greater good of the beer enthusiast.
A little simple perhaps, and by no means a detailed critique of the Brewdog business model but on the right track for me personally.
I first came across the Brewdog fellas at Beer Exposed, a "before its time" craft beer tasting session held in London in 2008 - a year or so after Brewdog kicked off their journey.
I liked the guys, they were young, edgy and ambitious and making beers in a far off land that were slightly off the wall either packed with hops or aged in whisky casks.
I climbed on the band wagon, followed the beers, visited the bars as they opened, and bought shares in the first round of fanboy fund raising - now known as crowd funding.
I was never a real hardcore (sic) follower and there were some mishaps along the way. Notably a spat with CAMRA over attendance at GBBF, fallings out with the alcohol marketing watchdog, Portman Group and a firestorm with Diageo over a withdrawn award - all perfectly executed as far as Brewdog were concerned for optimum publicity - good or bad, it's all free marketing.
I was also disappointed that Martin was not Mother Theresa but that is a different story that I can only pass on verbally. (Ask me if you see me).
Personally I was also disappointed that the company stopped brewing cask ale as perhaps the most memorable of their beers in my opinion were the hard-to-find real ales - a cask Hardcore IPA in the Rake and an Alice Porter in the Falcon are particularly vivid in the great beers memory bank.
Nowadays, I am firmly back in the fanboy camp - two bars have opened one bus ride away for me at Clapham Junction and Shepherds Bush - the home of my footie team too.
The Brewdog beers are still of the moment and they now import some of the best beers in the world as well as showcasing some of London's finest. I will even take a pint of This Is Lager in a Wetherspoons.
So, I can't quite bring myself to slag them off big time as was the so-called theme of this post. All I can say today is that I enjoyed a lovely Brewdog beer at the weekend, 8.7% full bodied, straw coloured, crisp, clean and dry, double IPA packed with Citra, Amarillo and Centennial hops. Very drinkable and moreish. A delight to take my mind off another poor result for the Superhoops.
A fabulous beer and the only thing that offends me is its deliberately provocative name :
Restorative Beverage for Invalids and Convalescents.
Come on fellas, it's not big and it's not clever ! You are (now) better than this.