homeworkOne of the greatest things about Twitter and the social media era is also one of the worst things: suddenly we have access to everyone’s opinions about everything.

This is great when it comes to cultivating meaningful dialogue or even just bantering back-and-forth about what the Vikings should do on 4th-and-2 from the 42.It’s good to have opinions. It means you stand for something. It means you have tastes and preferences from life experience.

From opinions a consensus often emerges. But — and this is important — an opinion or even a consensus of opinions should not be confused with a concrete fact.

This is an idea that people with passionate opinions about all sorts of things have a hard time understanding. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 3,231 yards this season, the Vikings won 11 games and made the playoffs … those are facts.

Teddy Bridgewater will be a Pro Bowl quarterback someday … or Teddy Bridgewater should be renamed Teddy Chokewater because he’ll never be any good ever … those are opinions.

That brings me to even more controversial subjects: beer and coffee.

For the newspaper today, in the spirit of Sunday’s playoff game, I put together a comparison between Minneapolis and Seattle using several different categories. In order to avoid being too cliche — this type of content is already pretty light and can be downright awful without at least a little effort — I crowdsourced some categories.

Readers did a spectacular job of reminding me of some good ones. The list was primarily for amusement, and most people are taking it that way. BUT: there were apparently two takes that were just too hot for people to handle. 1) The idea that Caribou (Minnesota) is better than Starbucks (Seattle) and 2) The beer scene in Minneapolis is better than it is in Seattle.

These are, of course, two things that people take seriously (maybe to an unhealthy degree, but again that’s just my opinion).

Anyway, I legitimately prefer the taste of Caribou to Starbucks, which made for a natural “win” for Minneapolis and a joke about the Starbucks Christmas controversy. The beer scene? Come on, that’s pretty much impossible to really judge on a macro level (pun intended?). Anyone who pretends otherwise is so far into groupthink and city pride that it pains me terribly to even think about it.

BUT: If you want to compare two like items — say, Red Hook and Summit — my contention would be Summit is better. So win, Minnesota.

Again, these are just preferences. These are things my individual taste buds have told me, but I’m also willing to admit I might have location bias as well — as in, I WANT to enjoy Caribou and Summit more because they’re ONE OF US.

Regardless: there are no facts when it comes to the enjoyment of food and drink. There might be preferences. There are certainly opinions. There might even be a consensus. But there are not facts about what is best. We are all free to consume as we please and like what we want to like.

But still I find myself today with the Coffee and Craft Beer Truthers on my case. A sample e-mail from this morning: “The fact that you have Minneapolis over Seattle for beer is LAUGHABLE. Do you (sic) homework, sir, before you write such nonsense.”

While that homework in either case sounds delicious, again, the only thing laughable is confusing an opinion with a fact, especially about something like beer.

You like this. I like that. Neither one of us is wrong. Everything is going to be OK.

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