The other night, Joe and I were discussing an article on wheat beers we had both read in a magazine. “I think that one was in Draft.” “No, that was in the UK magazine.”
“Seriously?” our friend said. “There’s more than one magazine devoted entirely to beer?”
Actually, there are dozens, even excluding international and strictly local magazines, and not many of them are easy to find. Joe recently bought a few, and I’m going to review them over the next week or two.
First up is Draft. I find Draft very confusing. I don’t understand who their audience is. Or maybe they don’t. Or maybe it’s just that I’m not at all included in that audience.
That confusion is unfortunate, as this magazine has nice production values–the pictures are clear and bright, the writing is interesting and it’s printed on good quality paper. But there are immediate problems. On the cover of the Nov/Dec issue is Jeremy Roenick, a hockey player. So I flipped to that article and showed Joe.
Joe: Is he retiring from hockey to start a brewery?
Me: (silence as I scan the article)…no
Joe: Is there anything about beer in there at all?
Me: Wait, here they’re asking what his favorite beer is…it’s…Bud Lite.
There’s an article about the best “manventure” to take, another sports article having nothing to do with beer (this one about curling), and the “Ultimate Guy’s Gift Guide.” I looked through the guide and decided that the only thing Joe might possibly want in it is the one beer they list (Sam Adams’ Utopias…duh, who doesn’t?). In an article about tasting that points to the different parts of the tongue, every single model tongue is attached to a pretty young female.
So what? you might say. It’s a super-macho magazine. Leave it for the manly men. Fine. Except that I find it strange that the editor-in-chief and half the editorial staff are women. Then there’s the “plate” section, where baked desserts are paired with and made with beer. It’s a great article, featuring three up-and-coming chefs (including one woman) with three upscale, delicious looking desserts. The problem is that the recipes are so long, so complicated, with so many ingredients, that only the kind of people who own and have read the French Laundry cookbook cover to cover, who actually know what feuille de brick dough is, who already own one of those fancy chef’s knives they feature in their gift guide, is ever going to bother to try any of these recipes. People like me and Joe. Who this magazine is clearly not aimed at.
There are great articles on St. Louis and Montreal, and one on Iraq that I first viewed with skepticism, but actually found very interesting. Did you know U.S. soldiers aren’t allowed beer in Iraq because it’s a muslim country and the U.S. respects that? I didn’t.
At times it seems to be a magazine after my heart too: the first beer on their 25 beers of the Year is New Glarus’ Wisconsin Belgian Red and their Pub of the Month is Toronado. But these I can chalk up to luck–the Belgian Red is on a lot of top beer lists, and who hasn’t reviewed Toronado?
All in all, it’s a well-done, interesting, and informative magazine. If you like your beer news delivered strong and burly, it’s worth your five bucks.