Brew in a bag.
Olive Oil aeration substitute.
The list continues. These types of techniques are great and frequent areas of discussion in the home brewing forums and the like. I also have no doubt that these techniques are making good drinkable beer. I am sure brewers who use these types of techniques really enjoy their beer. Otherwise, they wouldn't really make it to daylight discussions.
But is anyone REALLY making world class beer? I mean, has anyone seen or heard of competitions being WON by brewers using these techniques. Or for that matter, even probrewers going these routes where possible.
For example, in Zymurgy magazine they publish the recipes and results of the National Homebrew Competition each year. I find it interesting that in the years where they have included "fermenter type" in the recipe description, no one ever has "in plastic bucket" as a fermenter. Either winning brewers are afraid to admit they use buckets or everyone making top notch beer really is using glass or stainless.
I'm not trying to take away from these techniques, just trying to make sense of the observation that by competition measures, I don't seem to see non-traditional techniques overtaking the more tradition 'time honored' brewing techniques.
This is a wiki, so what say you????