Being provocative has been a staple of artists since time immemorial. Mockery was likely not far behind as a method of provoking one’s audience. The best example I can easily recall is Marcel Duchamp visiting a plumbing supply store and entering a urinal titled “Fountain” signed R. Mutt into an exhibit. The message seems clear: Piss on art.
Anyone looking at it and giving a deeper meaning to “the piece” by describing the urinal’s orientation and “flowing lines” is at best stretching and most likely just trying to sound important. A urinal was precisely chosen. This choice mocks the exhibit, the viewer, the critic, and the concept of art itself.
Because this is a Pizza Boy Co. review, there has to be a movie connection and discussing “Fountain” takes me to Exit Through the Gift Shop. Stick with me… I promise this work out at least a little bit. Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary that after watching left me furious. I was genuinely angry because I saw it as a fraud, with Mr. Brainwash being a talentless maroon who used his bizarre nature to create a gimmick. It mocked the concept of who is and can be an artist, it mocked documentary filmmaking, art itself, and it mocked me the viewer in real-time. It was outrageous and it created such a visceral response within me that I had to eventually come to the realization that its ability to drive me to such an extreme reaction was to its credit. It was great in spite of being fraud to me the viewer as it was powerfully effective in such a unique and stirring way.
Will I ever watch it again. Fuck. And. No. Was I glad that I sat through it the one time and was so pissed off at it? Surprisingly, yes.
One of the ways art can be great, in my opinion, is when it takes control of your response. When you are not necessarily fully in control of how you feel about it. When you look at a piece and you feel discomfort, or happiness, or longing, or whatever… When the art takes you someplace you did not expect or particularly want to go. That control over the viewer can be powerful and when done well, masterful. Mockery can be a hard one to use for this purpose.
This brings us to Pizza Boy Brewing’s Hazy Fuckboi Juice, a collaboration with Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co.
It’s got a ton of grain: Pils, Oats, Flaked Oat and Spelt getting smashed with Amarillo, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Hull Melon hops. 9% ABV and as easy-drinking as anything Al and Terry have ever dropped in a pounder can. It’s a great beer and if you had the chance to drink one, I’m sure you would agree. It’s awash in passion fruit, mango, and the standard-issue orange flavors. There is a bit of pine for the long finish. At $20 a six-pack, it was also well priced.
But… that name…
I love hazy IPAs. I do. I crap on them from time to time and then go and buy them like some kind of hypocritical dope.
Was this label mocking me even as I bought it? It’s not like Al and Terry are above sticking their opinions in people’s faces, right or wrong.
Is this beer self-mockery? Is it mocking #CraftBeer? Is it telling me to fuck off? Do I deserve that? (Spoiler: I do.) Is this label telling craft beer what Duchamp clearly conveyed with “Fountain?” Piss on craft beer and piss on you?
It is as engaging as it is outrageous. Would I do this if I owned a brewery? No. But that is part of what makes Pizza Boy, Pizza Boy. They take no prisoners. They throw their opinions and beer out on the shelf in the west shore and dare you to ignore them. You can’t. You will see their work and you will have an opinion about it. You are not completely in control and that is art. It’s engagement but not without cost; in this case at least $20 a sixer.
When this beer hit the shelves a lot of people were freaking out about the TTB letting this label pass approval. But it did not get Federal approval and I do not believe it was sought as this beer was only sold on-premise, not in distribution.
On the IG page for Worst Beer Blog, which picked this up with surprising speed, one guy simply wrote “ISO” in the comments. Typical. Somewhat ironic given what the label conveyed to me. I couldn’t help but laugh.
My whole thinking as described above may be me thinking way too deeply about this shit. If I see Al or Terry soon and they have read this they might tell me to pull my head out of my ass. That might be well deserved in this case. Maybe this is all nonsense on my part.
It is totally possible that you believe I completely missed the point of both “Fountain” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” That is part of art too.