What victory? An open letter to Yael T. Abouhalkah

Victory is an interesting word. It typically implies that the winning party has been engaged in some type of battle or challenge in which they came out on top.

So, Yael T. Abouhalkah, I'm still trying to wrap my head around why you decided to use the word 'Victory' in your latest Kansas City Star 'Midwest Voices' post when referring to Boulevard Brewing Company's decision to cease production of Chocolate Ale in 2013. When nobody was looking, were you on some crusade, petitioning the dramatic end of Chocolate Ale because of the havoc it wreaked on the city? Has there been some campaign over the past few months that I, along with everyone else in Kansas City, missed?

I do recall you writing a similarly unfounded, illogical blog post back in late January/early February where you made lots of references to the 'hype', 'marketing savvy' and 'outrageous prices' surrounding Chocolate Ale. That post alone quickly pointed out how naive and uninformed you were (and clearly still are) when it comes to today's craft beer industry.

So again, what exactly is this victory you speak of?

Is it because now Chocolate Ale no longer has to bring national exposure to two local businesses and stimulate the local economy? Yeah, I mean, I can totally see how you would hate that. Why would we want another revenue stream for Kansas City, right? Boo money! Victory!

Or maybe it's because you didn't like the taste of the beer. After all, you have referred to it as 'overrated.' Wait, that certainly couldn't be it, BECAUSE YOU DON'T DRINK. Although, maybe you had friends that tasted it and didn't like it, is that it? It makes sense that you might draw an opinion based on someone else's opinion. I'm sure your Kansas City Star colleagues that review restaurants and movies regularly base their reviews on the thoughts of others rather than tasting the food or watching the film themselves. Responsible journalism, right?

You complain about hype. But what is hype? It's buzz, it's excitement. What on earth is the problem with hype for a local business' product? I can't begin to list the number of places and events in Kansas City that get ridiculous amounts of hype, some way more deserved than others. Why is that something to bash? If people are excited about something, and want to spend their money on something, who are you to rain on the parade and say that they shouldn't?

Of course, judging by your history of editorial posts, tweets, etc., you have a penchant for calling things overrated and reaching to find any reason to hate something that boosts the local economy or helps this city make forward progress. Why should we expect anything different with Boulevard and a product they created?

In the end, the only logical conclusion is that you are being inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory. Not because you have actual reasoning or logic behind your strong, naysaying opinion, but because you seem to get some kind of pleasure out of constantly being the dissident voice. Once again with your 'victory' claim, you show just how little respect you have for the people who worked so hard to put this product out, distribute it and get it into the hands of customers, plus the people of Kansas City who do enjoy this beer and look forward to buying it.

You have no victory here. The only tally you can mark is in a mental 'W' column, because in your own mind, you win for rubbing people the wrong way. You are entitled to your opinions. And so am I. But the funny thing about opinions is that a lot of them stink, and your opinions on Chocolate Ale stink a lot more than waiting in line or paying $9 for a bottle of beer. If being hostile and disagreeable is what you consider a victory (and judging by your Twitter comments yesterday, you do), then okay, you win. But don't expect any congratulations.

I was already looking forward to Chocolate Ale returning in 2014, maybe with a tweaked recipe or a new logistical approach to how the beer is sold in order to organize the chaos a bit. But now I have another reason to look forward to it being released again; to irk you and watch you scramble once again to hate something for no reason.

Chocolate Ale may not be the greatest thing ever fermented and it may not change the world, Mr. Abouhalkah, but it boils (pun intended) down to this: I'd much rather drink an 'okay' beer that creates excitement, brings exposure to craft beer and stimulates the local economy than the bitter Kool-Aid of a disillusioned, eternally negative editorial writer.


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