Most of us in the beer world know Stan Hieronymus, who so deftly writes the incredibly enlightening and entertaining Appellation Beer blog when he’s not writing incredible books on beer (Brewing with Wheat, Brew Like a Monk) or touring the globe with his family.
What Stan might not know is that he has very quietly and steadfastly been one of my mentors for more than a decade now as I’ve pursued being a beer communicator/evangelist. I am constantly impressed with Stan’s work, both in quantity and in quality, and with his generosity of his time and knowledge.
He’s one cool dude, too; I’ve hooked up with him for beers in my hometown of Portland while he was traveling, at JazzFest in New Orleans, at Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and in his hometown of Albuquerque for a beer or two while on assignment for my “real job.” In fact, he and I shared the spotlight as two of the first-ever recipients for the Beer Journalism Awards at the GABF a few years ago. Every time I meet up with Stan, I am reminded that he is fun, interesting, and has some great insight into the past, present and future of craft beer and home brewing.But today, I have a bone to pick with Stan over the word “quaffable,” which Stan recently posted on his blog that he will never use.
Stan didn’t do any ‘splainin’ about his quibble with quaffable, but I am guessing some of it has to do with its infusion in the wine world. A quick quest on Google makes several references such as “(usually referring to wine) Easy to drink” and “(tasting term) used to describe a wine that is pleasant to drink but not deserving of careful tasting attention.”
Or it could be because “quaffable” doesn’t even have an entry in the online version of Merriam-Webster, the dictionary that is often considered the “official” resource for writers. (All you get is a referral to “qualifiable” instead.)
No matter the reason, Stan doesn’t like it. But, despite my affection and respect for Stan, I am going on the record as being a member of the “quaffable” camp.
For one thing, it’s a great Scrabble word (nobody’s ever tried the “not in Webster’s” argument on me — yet). And, “quaffable” is fun to say and write; I use it in my radio show, Beer O’Clock!, especially when I describe certain beers for the “Beer of the Week” segment — while “quaffable” doesn’t roll off the tongue, it does kind of wobble, which seems to fit the word to a T.
As a fan of alliteration, I love the way you can play it against other words (Kolsch is quite quaffable in Cologne, for example). But mostly, “quaffable” is a very visual word for me. It evokes hot-summer-day drinking; those times when you want something wet, refreshing and lighter on the palate that is still darn tasty, but isn’t so complex it takes your focus away from the moment. Except, of course, when you stop just long enough to realize you want to quaff another one!
What are your thoughts on “quaffable?” Should beer writers be using “wine words?” Do you scoff at those who quaff? What are some of your favorite words to describe beers?
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