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You may be aware that your digital editor is a beer professional of long standing, quite easily old enough to recall with increasing fondness an era when beer reviews and ratings were confined to a handful of esteemed print publications, as entrusted to experienced beer writers possessing some measure of qualifications to perform their analysis competently.

The digital era changed all this, along with the explosion of beers available for purchase. In some respects it’s for the better, although an 800-lb double-edged sword constantly hovers ominously on one side of the room: first, a rater/reviewer states categorically that he or she dislikes a certain style but will drink it anyway, then with subjective flagrance gives the beer being consumed one star out of five.

Second, that legions of nitwit readers give the performance a measure of credence it hardly deserves.

It’s a short sidestep to the genre of food and dining (lower case) reviews. To me, it’s relatively simple. Knowledge, experience and objectivity enables one to pass judgment, and given the widespread absence of these qualities, crowd-sourced ratings and reviews are largely bunk.

It also helps to eliminate malice. Unfortunately, malevolence currently is trending in America, as this article in Eater (San Francisco) attests.

One-Star Yelp Reviews Hit SF Bars and Restaurants Requiring Proof of Vaccination, by Becky Duffett

A small but growing number of bars and restaurants in San Francisco have started asking to see proof of vaccination before seating guests inside, following a recommendation from the SF Bar Owner Alliance. These bar owners and managers say they expected most of their regulars to happily show their cards — after all, this is San Francisco, where 84 percent of residents over the age of 12 have gotten at least one shot. These bar owners also fully expected the occasional belligerent bar-hopper to forget a card at home. But now, in an unfortunate but perhaps predictable turn of events, two bars and one deli are getting hit with one-star Yelp reviews and direct messages on Instagram related to their new COVID policies.

However as it pertains to the practice of internet restaurant reviews at portals like Yelp, you can be part of the solution, not the problem.

Before You Leave A Nasty Yelp Review, Here’s What Restaurant Workers Want You To Know, by Lia Picard (HuffPost)

If you want to help restaurants as they come out of the pandemic, here’s what to know about leaving (and reading) Yelp reviews, according to industry professionals.

One of these recommendations carries added weight. It comes from Desiree Maldonado, manager at Old Skool Cafe, “a restaurant run by at-risk youth in San Francisco.”

Show compassion

“I think we have to all give one another some grace ― the restaurant and hospitality world was so negatively impacted by the pandemic, and so many decades-old restaurants shuttered, and thousands of people lost their jobs. Many people got sick or had loved ones that got sick. Everyone is trying to return to whatever the next normal is despite all this hardship, and we really should treat one another with more kindness and forgiveness.”

Today’s cover photo is from Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2019. The shop wastes no words: wine and fish. I reviewed it very favorably.

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