Announcing Session #33: Framing Beer

My sister once told me a story she had heard about a sculpture exhibit: on the winter day it opened, the artist placed a coat rack next to the door. Predictably, the patrons hung their coats on it. Each day the artist moved the rack a bit closer to the rest of the exhibit, until the day came when the visitors chose not to use the “piece of art” for their coats. That day the artist placed a sign on the coat rack that stated simply, “Art begins here.”

session_logo_no_friday_text_inside_200Imagine persuasively describing craft beer to someone who has until now entirely missed out, maybe in a sales situation. Perhaps it’s a brown ale and you can can describe the caramel and toast flavors, or it’s a pale ale and you have fruit or herbs from the hops. You might start having to defend yourself if it’s an IPA and those hops taste earthy, resiny, or particularly bitter. You’ll definitely meet some resistance if your favorite is an imperial anything, brimming with intensity and a sharp kick, or if you’d like to convince a person of the credibility of a sour beer or anything for which you must use the word ‘funky’. Each of these descriptions is inevitably an attempt to ‘frame’ the beer, putting the consumer in the proper state of mind to drink it.

For better or worse, in everyday situations beer comes with a label. This label very really ‘frames’ the beer inside. The fact that the beer comes commercially-produced signals the presence of investment (if not skill). A style name or tasting notes indicates the general characteristics to expect. If you know the brewery the beer is framed with your past experiences. Even the label art will affect your expectations for the beer.

What role does this framing play in beer tasting, especially for ‘professional evaluators’? Relate an amusing or optimistic anecdote about introducing someone to strange beer. Comment on the role a label plays in framing a beer or share a label-approval related story. I have not done much blind tasting, and I would be intrigued to hear about this ‘frameless’ evaluation of beer.

And drink a beer. Ideally drink something that you don’t think you will like. Try to pick out what it is about that brew that other people enjoy (make sure to properly frame the beer!). The Session #33 will take place here 6 November 2009. Leave a link to your post as a comment here or else e-mail it to me at couchand at gmail dot com on or before that day.

Extra credit will be given for specific mention of the Post article prompting this topic, or for use of the phrase “priming the pump”.

For more information about The Session inquire here.

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24 Responses to “Announcing Session #33: Framing Beer”

  1. […] new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic. Andrew Couch at I’ll Have a Beer has agreed to host or 33rd Session and he’s announced his topic for it. And for those of us […]

  2. […] Andy Couch has announced the topic for No. 33 will be Framing Beer. The explanation is a little complicated, and you might want to read the whole thing, but here are […]

  3. […] #33 tomorrow, the theme being “Framing Beer.” Andy Couch has the explanation, because I’ll Have A Beer is the […]

  4. Brad says:

    Well, I’m just on the early side of midnight, but here’s my contribution:

    Normally I’m a few days late, so this is big for me…

  5. The Beer Nut says:

    Hi Andy,

    My post is up here.

    Thanks for hosting!

  6. nemsis says:

    Well, our contribution was just posted to .
    It was an interesting topic.

  7. Derrick says:

    My contribution to The Session is up.

    Thanks for hosting, and take care,


  8. […] is a contribution to The Session a monthly series of communal blogging. This month’s session, Session #33 is being hosted by Andrew Couch at I’ll Have a Beer. This is my first contribution to The […]

  9. […] twelve hours by my reckoning to post your contribution to The Session #33. The prompt is located here, along with submission […]

  10. […] beer’s label and how it “frames” the beer.  Hosting this month’s Session is I’ll Have a Beer. Check out the site for more information on what other bloggers write about […]

  11. Gail says:

    fun to think about! Thank you!

    ..on tasting a beer as a frame for the next beer

  12. […] there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic. I’ll Have a Beer, a.k.a. Andrew Couch, our host for the 33rd monthly Session, begins his explanation of this […]

  13. Jimmy says:

    I’m in. This one was a thinker! Thanks for hosting.


  14. […] The monthly beer blog-up known as The Session. The topic for this month’s session is “Framing Beer” and it comes to us from Andy Couch over at I’ll Have a Beer. Andy wants us to […]

  15. […] is my contribution to Session #33, and the theme is “framing beer.” Check out I’ll Have A Beer for an explanation and to see what other bloggers are […]

  16. It’s still Friday in New Mexico.

    Thanks for hosting.

  17. Lew Bryson says:

    I’m up, finally:

    Went completely blind on this one, trying to smash the frame.

  18. Jon says:

    My Session post at The Brew Site is up:

    Thanks for hosting!

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