middle brow | citizen how

\ 23 jun 17 /

we'll take a break from too many words this week. just a quick thought or two.

we had a lovely dinner last night at chef mickey neely's home. we talked about tons of shit with new and old friends alike: alaska. the chicago water taxi. learning to appreciate the lake as a resource in chicago. not donald trump. (not even one word. promise. it was weird.) but the thing that stuck with us the most was the discussion about kitchen culture.

most people these days are foodies. (damn that word to hadestown. also see below.) so most people have an inkling about kitchen culture. the kitchen can be a very intense place. it has to be: if you're going to serve beautiful, delicious food to hundreds of people over the course of 3 hours, you can't settle for anything less than perfection from you kitchen staff. it's a nearly impossible feat. but kitchens do it everyday aw low ver the whirled. everyday.

but. naturally. this leads to lots of yelling. can yelling be good? yes. can harsh but constructive criticism turn you into a better chef / cook? absolutely. in fact, it's likely necessary. but does this yelling cross the line? yes. often. and there's no need for that. some of the best restaurants in the world have perfectly cordial, scary-intense kitchens. criticism can be honest, direct, and harsh without crossing the line. but focusing entirely on the work product and not on the person. 

how is this relevant to beer? it's not. it doesn't always have to be. we're people, too. just like corporations. y'dig? and this applies to life in general: keep your criticism constructive. don't get personal. you're much more likely to be taken seriously that way. and you're wayyyyyy f'ing cooler that way. f machiavelli; anyone who follows his lead is a child. (pretty sure he was a child when he wrote his shitty prince anyway.)

did we say we'd take a break from too many words this weak? maybe next.


middle brow | citizen how

\ 16 jun 17 /

just a few thoughts here. about the world. starting with a bit of a beer ramble on...

one thing has been on our minds a lot recently: event fatigue. goddess knows there's too damn many events these days. and we're all getting so.... f'ing... tired of the fomo.

but why have events spiraled so out of control? over the last decade, social media has took control of many of our lives. and, by their nature alone, our social media accounts are ostentatiously experiential. so *experience* has become our principal social currency. in other words: we need to fill our social media accounts with interesting shit, 'cuz we gotta show the world how cool we are. so natch we attend and post about and hype up the super cool events and moments that we were privy to but that you missed. and then you gotta keep up. so you go looking for something cool to do. & on & on. it's a positive (negative) feedback loop.

and it's not only the sheer number of events that's to blame: it's also the lack of variety. because experience has become currency, experience has been commoditized. ever notice how every bar and restaurant seem to be owned by the same 6 people? you're aren't crazy. some very talented and insightful people saw this development early and had the tools to respond quickly to the experience generation. they tend to do a great job: that's why they turn out joint after joint, serving up heaps of dōp experiences for you to snap.

but there are only so many types of events one can throw in a bar or restaurant. and these bars and restaurants have to keep their seats filled. so, of course, the successful events repeat like an echo. and then the echo reverberates and independent bars and restaurants (so to speak) get inspired to do their own take on the idea. or sometimes the inspiration runs in the other direction. but either way, event overkill quickly sets in.

it's no surprise that we're all suffering from a serious case event fatigue. so... what to do?

well, first. we promise to do our very best to keep our events as original as possible. we won't always succeed, but we promise to try.

second. we promise to cut back on the excessive overhyping of non-event events. ever go to a tap takeover? it's a bar. with 4-8 beers on tap by one brewery. with the brewery team huddled at a table in the corner. it's certainly cool if you love the brewery. and you should go to those tap takeovers! by all means! but by itself it's not an "event". and it doesn't merit a social media invitation or advance fomo-generation (e.g. "you better not miss our tap takeover at 'frank's 'til 4' this monday!!!! we've got some special treats in store!!!"). breweries should be more particular about throwing these; and bars should be more particular about hosting them.

third. you readers can do something, too. you can commit to attending only the most creative events. save your event energy for stuff you know you'll reallllly love. for super creative, smart events like this wisconsin-inspired supper club happening every monday in july at the hideout. no need to attend your sixth beer fest for the year. there'll be three more waiting for you next weekend.

fourth. even if you're tired, make sure you go to those really creative indie events. even partial attendance is helpful-as-heck'm! you got 30 spare minutes for a 3 hour event? go. don't feel like staying out 'til midnight? catch the first few songs by a band you really dig and that you want to stick around. we could all use your support.

fifth, and last. a message to the big guys: be creative. and be generous. it's the least you can do.

this is a tough position to take for a brewery that doesn't even have a tap room or brewpub. but event fatigue is real. we must treat it before it's too late.