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The Mildly Miffing Art of Reviewing Drinks

by Michael Phillips

The Mildly Miffing Art of Reviewing Drinks

Reviewing beverages can sometimes be very challenging…ok…well…let’s say...mildly miffing. One of those challenges is the battle between hedonic vs style. Hedonic refers to judging purely on how you think it tastes, whereas judging by style can often mean having a set list of things you are looking for in a particular drink The problem with hedonic tasting is that you can so easily veer into awarding higher marks for stronger flavours and before you know it you’ve compared an expensive Belgian slow-drinking ale with a no frills lager that was a fraction of the cost, judging the latter against criteria it never set out to meet. However, when judging within style, there is a danger that excellent drinks fall by the wayside in favour of less good ones which meet strict criteria. I worry that it stifles creativity somewhat also. Afterall, why produce a fantastic round marrow for the country fayre if it’s going to be judged on length? 

So what’s the best way to judge? Honestly, I really don’t think there is one. At drinkNAB I do try to compare like with like, without placing too many constraints on what a beverage has do to get my approval. Of course, without a checklist I run the risk of indulging my preferences, which is why your reviews are so very valuable to keep them in check. I also restrain myself from going into too much detail as a) it’s already on the makers' websites and b) wouldn’t you rather taste it for yourself?

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