Better Know a Beer Mag: Draft Magazine

21 01 2010
draftmag.com

Draft Magazine November/December 2009
Independently Published
http://draftmag.com/

Overall Feel: With the rise of “lad mags” like Maxim and (ahem) the blogosphere, many magazines have gone for short, quick, and numerous articles and features. Draft magazine is included in this. Their “articles” rarely fill a page with some notable exceptions: a history the Ayinger Celebrator, The Ten Best Beers Named After Royalty (#1- North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Russian Stout), Charlie Papazian’s report on on his summer vacation (more on that later), and what to drink when wintering in Hawaii. The cover story was an interview with George Wendt, wich was a page and a half and actually very good. Mr. Wendt, who starred as Norm on TV’s Cheers, has a new book out on beer and is a very charismatic and humble man.

Articles: For the most part, the articles are about bars, beer, and “manly things” which is interesting considering how many women work on this magazine. The articles are mostly comprised of lists–“top Bars in Buffalo, NY”, “Best Beer in the Twin Cities”, “Best Gift Ideas”, “Best Belgians for the Holidays”, “Our Six Favorite Beers of the Winter”, “The Five Best Beers of the Lost Abbey”, etc. I found this magazine lacking depth which made it difficult to take it all that seriously. By the time I got to the “longer” articles, my attention span was so blown out, I couldn’t help but skim them. In short, this is good bathroom or bus reading.

Pictures: This is something the magazine does incredibly well. It is inherently diffuclt to fill a magazine with bottles and glass wear and make it look good. Their full page, glossy, cleose-ups of bottles, lables and food paring pretty much make this beer porn.

Highlights:

  • Overall and for the most part, these folks have good taste. They have a wide variety of beer with different levels of pricepoints and availabilities. They don’t yank your chain by telling you that you have to track down the Westfederlin 12 right now–or else!!! Nor do they swear that the Blue Moon Grand Cru is the Beer God’s gift to humanity. Just simple, good, beer.
  • Despite the brevity of their articles, some are extremely clever. I really enjoyed the infographic called “The Jacksons” which compared the lives and careers of The Beer Hunter Michael Jackson (who died in 2007) and The King of Pop Micheal Jackson (who died in 2009). There are some nice, short interviews with some brewers including Jim Koch of the Boston Brewing Co. about the the launch of the 2009 vintage of the Utopias.
  • The food section was beautiful! The sweet potato pirogi with brown ale gravy has been added to my list of recipes to try and the flourless chocolate raspberry tort made with Lindemans Framboise has been haunting my dreams. Paring donuts and beer was a stroke of genius.
  • According to the table of contents, the editorial staff has no fewer than 18 women. And half of the main articles were written by women. In two male dominated fields of publishing and brewing, it is excellent to see women take such an important and active role in both. However…

Lowlights:

  • For having so many women on the editorial staff, we are just two scantily clad women short of a Maxim Magazine. With articles on football stadiums, guy’s must have list for Christmas and nary a woman in sight, this magazine is definitely aimed toward masculine men. I would have liked to have seen a magazine that not so gendered.
  • With a magazine that focuses on quantity over quality, I found the analysis lacking. For instance, Charlie Papazian’s article on German and Italian beer culture was little more than “What I did on my Summer vacation” and he devoted about as much time to the monopolization and corporatization of German breweries as he did for Simpsons jokes (And yes, I see the irony of my writing this a day after I post my top 20 favorite Simpsons quotes). One would hope that the godfather of American homebrewing would devote more than fifty words to the demise of the German craft brewer, and yet, that is what we got.
  • There are some more things I don’t like about the magazine. But I am afraid that would be nit picking. For all taht I wish this magazine could be, I just wish there would be more depth and analysis.

Who is This Magazine Good For? Your 21 or 22 year old nephew who has outgrown Maxim but not yet ready for GQ.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5. Barely worth the $5.99 for cover price.

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