It seems to have been first flagged by the Los Angeles-based “Worst Beer Blog.”
“Like most men, I struggle with my primal self” it began. “And in the age of #metoo, the dilemma has grown. The pendulum has swung too far. One aggressive move and a man’s career can derail.”
It only got worse after that.
Bill Metzger, publisher of Great Lakes Brewing News – a freebie hand-out paper found in brewpubs and breweries across the area and which survives thanks to advertising paid for by Midwest breweries and homebrew suppliers – penned the cover story, a piece ostensibly covering a recent trip to Scotland, titled “Scottish Hopping To Real Ale.”
But the beer was secondary to the greater point of his narrative.
“Women need a higher level of alcohol to overcome the social restrictions on their primal selves,” he observed. “After all, women have the need-to-breed gene, too. And excess consumption can ruin a diet.”
But wait, there’s more!
“(Scotland’s) history is a metaphor for what I’m trying to say about the male being,” Metzger continued. “The country’s history is rife with the exploits of manly men raiding villages and ravaging maidens, then retreating to their castles to guzzle ale.”
And after failed connections with some female travelers not familiar with Scottish beer, he mused “had my offer to the novices of a hot shower been taken the wrong way? Both were females who I would have banged, but concern with how I dealt with my primal self shouldn’t have played a role.”
Not surprisingly, the beer industry is pushing back – and then some. Take, for instance, Ontario’s Muddy York Brewing, which is prominently profiled in the space alongside Metzger’s missive.
“We are so appalled and disappointed that we are anyway linked to this publication,” they wrote. “We in no way agree or endorse any of it. Great Lakes News, your publication and anyone linked to you are no longer welcome at Muddy York.”
Within 24 hours, the digital link to the Feb/March issue had vanished.
And a Change.org petition had been started, urging breweries across North America to stop supporting Great Lakes Brewing News.
The offensive issue in question includes ads from New Glarus, Michigan Brewer’s Guild and Fat Heads, among others, but no Chicago or Illinois breweries paid for space this month.
For what it’s worth, Metzger – a member of Buffalo’s beer “hall of fame” – responded by claiming it was all satire! A parody! And done in the voice of someone else!
“Nowhere in this pieces is there an endorsement of misogyny nor hatred,” he responded. “It is a simple parody of a disgusting attitude that I have seen often,” adding “And it most certainly does not reflect my views; those who actually know me beyond a few articles written and/or published know that much.”
For good measure, Metzger couldn’t help himself with a “but” in his sincere apology.
“I apologize to those who have been offended,” he added, “but will remind all that we have been delivering great beer news to a great industry for 30 years.”
Well, OK then.
After taking down the issue online, they just delivered an addendum.
They simply forgot the disclaimer that it was all fiction, part of their ongoing missives from a fictional character in an ongoing “Los Testigos de Cerveza” series.
To be determined is how many Chicago-area breweries will choose to financially support next month’s fictional piece or contribute content to each state’s roundup of local beer news. (Jeff Sparrow is the Illinois editor, with Jim Herter serving Indiana and Bob Paolino handling Wisconsin)