Our beer will not be brewed with the finest all-natural ingredients, nor will it be made by hand. These are meaningless clichés trotted out when a brand has nothing to say. There is no “natural” or “unnatural” malt. “Finest” doesn’t mean anything. And the notion that commercial beer is made by hand—or that “handmade” is a positive attribute in beer—is a fallacy.
Let’s take it one word at a time.
What is gained by using “finest”? Nothing is gained. It cannot possibly make a positive impression on a single shopper. And the absence of “finest” does not lead one to assume that a product is made with shit ingredients. There are no grades of brewing ingredients, there are only the personal preferences of the brewer.
“All-natural” means nothing. It’s not even a phrase that was once meaningful that now means nothing, like “local.” The entire notion that some products are natural and others aren’t is absurd. At what point does processing make an ingredient “unnatural”? There is no meaningful answer to this question. Malt is processed. Whole leaf hops are processed. Your poop is processed.
No one makes beer “by hand.” At a production brewery, hands might be used to open and close valves or turn on and off a pump, but under no circumstances are they better than the automated version. In fact, manual process controls lead to more mistakes, which leads to less consistent beer. And I have yet to hear anyone comment on a beer’s rough-hewn, handmade quality because it tasted different than the last batch.
We will use whichever ingredients lead to the tastiest beer and the most efficient workflow, in that order. That might mean we use the cheapest malt, or it might mean we use the floor-malted heirloom shit imported from a castle on a scenic European river. It makes no difference to me.
It only matters that the beer taste mind-bogglingly delicious, and I will use any tool available to reach that goal: downstream hop products, enzymes, Fermcap, whatever. I could not care less about tradition.
In my ideal brewery, everything would be automated and our beer would be brewed and packaged and shot straight into your mouth by robots; it would taste better that way, which is the only thing that matters.