|This MJ leans forward. I suspect the other MJ would lean back.|
Those in the craft beer movement* want us to distinguish between craft beer and crafty beer. Lew Bryson would have us draw a circle around beers under 4.5% and call it session beer. I have asked that we pay our respects to flagship beers. Others seem to have a cloudy concept of something called beer geek beers or white whales.
I just finished reading a piece on interactive media and caught a term that may or may not be useful in discussing beer — lean back vs lean forward experiences. A simple example should suffice for our purposes since I'm curious as to how you might apply it to beer. Television is defined as a lean back experience and a computer is a lean forward experience. Interactive media is blurring these lines, but that's less relevant to our discussion.
What beers would you consider lean back beers and why? What would a lean forward beer be? Is it a function of your engagement with the beer? Others? Can we draw conclusions such as lean back beers are sessionable? Or maybe they're complex and strong? I don't have an answer, but I will tell you that I'll probably be leaning back more this weekend than leaning forward. (One hopes not to lean too much in either direction lest you fall.)
*I've moved away from distinguishing craft beers from the rest of the beers in the universe. I think that it makes more sense to talk about the craft beer movement — a social movement by brewers in a certain era who share common goals and interests. Certainly, there is a definable movement that traces back to Anchor brewing that gained momentum in the 70s and 80s and now has us in a golden age of a ridiculous amount of choice and a high water mark in terms of the number of U.S. breweries. Note that this definition says nothing about quality.