This forever seems a subject we may never move away from. I recently ran across two great articles pertaining to the never ending discussion of style, each approaching from a different angle. The first from Jeff Alworth at Beervana, raises the question of our methods in brewing to recreate a style. Does the method matter or is it solely the final result that is truely important? Alan Mcleod at A Good Beer Blog, approachs from the stand point that a beer is the sum of its parts.
This brings to mind an episode of No Reservations. Right now I can't remember the exact episode (though I do believe it was one about China). In the episode there was a story of a traditional noodle maker. This man was a true craftsman, making noodles every day following the old traditions. The method was disfiguring for the noodle maker, a method that is dying out. At some point we may never have the opportunity to have these noodles again. But this doesn't mean that all of the good noodles are gone. It may even be possible to find noodles that are as good or even better than these particular noodles.
In the end though, isn't something intrinsically wrong with this whole idea. Sure Kraft Mac'n' Cheese is macaroni and cheese, but in the end it really isn't the same as something made with traditional ingredients used in a traditional manner. Maybe that is too extreme an example. How about something a bit closer to home? Originally, weren't beers like Budweiser (go figure Brewed originally by German immigrants) meant to be similar to the Pilsner lagers from the homeland? Maybe I am barking mad and these beers were meant to be only slightly akin (as in name only) to the beers that they once had a resemblance to.
It could be that I have odd notions that it was better in the old days. Or maybe there really is some truth in craftsmanship that we have long forgotten. Great and powerful change can happen for the better, but at the same time, this double edged sword can strike both ways. In our rush for change and progress it is possible to lose our way.
Time for a pint...