Many craft breweries, regardless of their stylistic differences, share one thing in common: a distaste for irrelevant reviews on digital platforms like Untappd.
Two Greater Baltimore brewers, DuClaw and Key, teamed up with Charm City Meadworks and World of Beer pub chain to poke fun at these naysayers with a new brew: 2 Stars Not My Style, released on Friday.
DuClaw’s mid-Atlantic and midwest sales manager, Brook Simmons, said that the concept was formed when he, Key co-founder Spike Owen and Charm City Meadworks product manager Austin Haynes were venting about Untappd at this year’s Brew at the Zoo festival.
“It’s a phone app that people use to rate beers,” Simmons said. “Those of us in the industry are frustrated with it because the majority of people rate beers on their personal preference and not the style of the beer.”
For example, one user gave of DuClaw’s Haze of Glory, a hazy New England-style India pale ale, a rating of 2.75 out of five possible points. “Too hazy for me,” they wrote.
World of Beer product manager Rich Weddle eventually joined the trio’s commiseration. Their frustration turned to action as they decided to make a sour beer that pushed back against the reviews. Inspired by Simmons’ daughter’s “Snappsy the Alligator” book and its focus on objects beginning with the letter “p,” the collaborators brewed 2 Stars Not My Style with pretzels, pawpaw fruits and peaches. Charm City Meadworks contributed honey. The resulting sour ale) is 7.1 percent alcohol by volume.
[ Related: Just how regular is DuClaw’s Regular Beer? We tried it, along with the brewery’s other new offerings. ]
“The entire thing is just silly,” Simmons said of the creation. “It’s meant to be fun. For me, ultimately, beer should be fun. You can take it seriously...but the social aspect is the fun part of beer. These rating apps kind of suck the fun out of beer."
Simmons said that his greatest hope is for Untappd users to rate it according to its name. Consumers might have missed the point, though. 2 Stars Not My Style currently boasts a score of 3.2 out of five on Untappd.
Those interested in trying the beer themselves can do so at World of Beer locations and other local craft beer bars. They can also pick up the canned variety, with a label satirizing Untappd’s interface," at beer and wine stores throughout the region, Simmons said.