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“Strangers are like friends” – The Session #84: Alternative Reviews

The SessionThe Session #84: Alternative Reviews

In the city fields 
Contemplating cherry-trees…
Strangers are like friends
– Kobayashi Issa

This is my first participation in “The Session.”  The Session is a monthly blogging collaboration in which that month’s designated blogger selects a topic for everyone to write about.  The results are then posted on the first Friday of the month.  This is the 84th edition of The Session.  And while I realize I’m very late, this is neither a Friday or the first Friday, I wanted to start my participation with this one because it was unique and created by one of the best writers in the beer blogging scene, Oliver of Literature and Libation.  Although my tardiness can be explained by two things, I was out of the country on vacation on the first Friday of February and that I just didn’t have an idea that I felt was worthy of the effort, especially with so many great beer bloggers putting up some really fun stuff every month.  I didn’t want my entrance into this foray to be lackluster or half-hearted.

Before I go further though, here is Oliver’s directive for the month (or a shortened version of it, for a full read of his challenge you can peruse it via this link):

“We, as beer bloggers, tend to get caught up in this beer appreciation thing, forever chasing an invisible dragon of taste, doing our best to catalog our experiences on the page or in a database. We get obsessed with the idea of quantifying our experience – either so we can remember specifics ad infinitum or use the data as a point of comparison for other beers – and often forget that beer is just as much art and entertainment as it is critic-worthy foodstuff.

So for my turn hosting The Session, I ask all of you to review a beer. Any beer. Of your choosing even! There’s a catch though, just one eentsy, tiny rule that you have to adhere to: you cannot review the beer. 

I know it sounds like the yeast finally got to my brain, but hear me out: I mean that you can’t write about SRM color, or mouthfeel, or head retention. Absolutely no discussion of malt backbones or hop profiles allowed. Lacing and aroma descriptions are right out. Don’t even think about rating the beer out of ten possible points.

But, to balance that, you can literally do anything else you want. I mean it. Go beernuts. Uncap your muse and let the beer guide your creativity.”

You can see that this sounds like a fun way to do something creative and different with beer and beer reviews and an exceptional way for us to get out of our routines and comfort zones to try something new, something that may in the long run really help us improve our game.  But what was I going to do?  Well, it finally came to me.  I’ve always loved the Haiku form.  That simple and short Japanese art form that is deceptively complex and deep.  I’ve always enjoyed reading the masters and occasionally penning my own pithy versions.

(You can read the other entries here: Oliver’s Wrap-up, part 1 and Oliver’s Wrap-up, part 2).

Beery Pet Peeves

Suds, I don’t drink
Beer is thy delicious name
Soap is for cleaning

Brew is a verb
Why is the noun use bothersome?
Quirks of the ear

Time and Place

Macros can be nice
Sun and fun and water, yeah
Shelves barren, no craft

Shrine in Snow
Miyajima Shrine in Snow – Kawase Hasui

Sun glares on snow
Nature’s refrigerator
Toss in a six-pack


A Pen in hand
Subjectivity to note
Liquid art, written word

Yeasty love story
Belgian nose, esters phenols
Oh, delightful joy

Mount Fuji Seen Through Cherry Blossoms
Mount Fuji Seen Through Cherry Blossoms – Katsushika Hokusai

Cherry blossoms drop
Floating on spring breezes
Brewing Kriek bier soon

The first warning hiss
Slithering into its lair
Heedlessly we engage

Wild beast lurking
funkily tantalizing us…


The Session, obsession
over shared internet pints
Strangers are like friends

An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond.
splash! Silence again.
– Basho Matsuo

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