The nice folks at Craft Beer magazine sent me a PDF of their recent issue, which they’re marketing as an iPad app. They asked me to do a review of it, so here we go. The only caveat to mention is that the PDF didn’t have the embedded video and I wasn’t going to pay for the download in order to see the video. So this review does not include that content.
This magazine is inoffensive and unfortunately, that is what I keep coming back to. Craft Beer’s iPad app seems to be a collection of blog writers, putting together relatively generic content that, as a homebrewer and beer enthusiast, I find it difficult to get excited about.
The writing is adequate but is clearly in need of an editor. There are sentences that are unclear or poorly phrased that could easily be cleared up with some editorial oversight. The topics chosen are a little bland and lack the kind of raw data that might make them interesting.
There is a history of craft beer in America that seems to hit all the base points of accuracy but it doesn’t provide anything new. Decent for someone coming into the scene perhaps but it doesn’t offer much to someone like myself. The article on American craft beer being big in other parts of the world is incredibly vague, lacking numbers or specific quotes to show either the impact the American scene has had or the adjustments that American brewers make to market themselves in Asia or Europe. Then there’s an article that reads like a PR piece on a social media app. Everything just lacks any sort of bite, and by this I don’t mean hostility, I mean an attitude to provide the reader with meaningful content.
The worst offender is the beer review at the end. If there is one thing this magazine should knock out of the park, it should be a review. However, the author uses the words ‘hops’ or ‘hoppy’ all over the place to describe a beer, without mentioning what the hops involved provide the beer. There is a sentence that reads “The hops in this beer are really nice.”
You could replace the word ‘beer’ in that sentence with practically any other noun and make it work, because it’s so vague.
That is a serious omission. Hops can have spicy, floral, citrus or pine qualities and that’s just the four I can think of offhand. Then they broaden out; pine can get sticky, sharp or marijuana-like. Citrus can evoke tangerine or grapefruit (among others.) Despite mentioning the kinds of hops used in the beer (Bravo and 644) there isn’t any attempt to convey what these hops contribute from a flavor perspective! If you don’t already know what Bravo or 644-which the author says are an experimental variety-are, then tough noogins.
Again, this shows a dearth of editorial involvement which could have helped this writer dig deeper and provide some content to the readership. As it stands, I have no desire or reason to spend my money on this beer–or this article–because the content just isn’t up to snuff.