Thursday, May 31, 2007

TENTATIVE REPENTANCE ON DRAFT MAGAZINE

A few weeks ago I eviscerated a new beer magazine called DRAFT, a high-gloss, corporate-tinged bi-monthly that positions itself as a “men’s lifestyle” magazine that happens to center around craft beer. Now most guys that I know who might subscribe a magazine like Details, Esquire, Men’s Journal, whatever – they’re most certainly not the type who aggressively seek out Imperial Russian Stouts or lambics. In trying to cater to these two seemingly barely-overlapping worlds, they’ve created a strange muddle of extreme travel, barbequing, boobs and loads and loads of craft beer. I guess that’s a marketing problem for the DRAFT editorial staff, right?

This post, however, serves as a minor mea culpa vs. my previous post on the magazine. I got the new issue of DRAFT, the one with “Chelsea Handler” on the cover, and after giving it a thorough reading, I’m significantly more impressed than I was last time. They have writers on staff who know good beer, who write about it well, and who seek out and savor some of the most interesting and/or experimental beers in the world. Particular kudos go to the “Most Innovative Beers” article, as well as the one on Fruit & Beer, with recommended examples & tasting suggestions for various styles. Their pictures of the beer itself, be it bottles or draught pints, are beautiful - they’re not just stock photos, and are obviously taken for the sole purposes of this magazine. They even have a full-page spread on COLLABORATION, NOT LITIGATION ale, which is about as geeky and obscure as it comes, so cheers to them for that. Any beer dork with as intense an interest as yours in our favorite beverage will find some worthy journalism, both written and photographic, in this new issue.

I think it’s only fair that I bag on them a little more, though. I saw the quote-unquote comedienne Chelsea Handler about six years ago, when she hosted a lamely-attended Tuesday night comedy show in San Francisco that I got free tickets to. I remembered her because she was, and remains, the single worst comedian I’ve ever seen. A typical joke was something along these lines (and this one is verbatim): “What’s up with Sacramento? Have you ever met someone from Sacramento? Oh my god, they’re so retarded!”. End of joke. Next joke: “Oh my god you guys, I’m such an alcoholic”. Etc. DRAFT magazine has somehow seen fit to give her and her breasts the cover of their new issue, and the interview itself is one of the most cringe-inducing things I’ve ever set eyes on. The interviewer mock-flirts with this ravaged floozy, barely touching upon beer at all and generally making a total ass out of himself (I suspect a lot of these questions were “punched up” in editorial after the fact, as no one says stuff this stupid and faux-suave in real life). It’s abominable, just like Handler’s act. If this magazine can lose this sort of dim-witted, poorly-realized filler, hey, I’ll take recurring articles like “Top 10 Places to Drink a Beer” – just no more pablum like this, okay?

2 comments:

tedo said...

Jay,
I think I agree with your assessment this time around. There are a lot of really good things about DRAFT, but so far most of their 'feature' interviews have missed the mark.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Chelsea Handler Show? You're missing out, dude. I'm one of those "Mens Journal" subscribers you talk about, and I usually pick up DRAFT too because the celebs they have are just like me in the fact that I like beer, but I don't know enough about it yet.