Confessions of a Recovering Beer Snob

tierney hbg beer fest

I’ve made a conscious effort to change the way that I am and become a better person.
Are you willing to do the same for the betterment of the craft beer community?

An interesting concept emerged over coffee today. A friend, while planning an evening bottle share, discussed with me out loud the guest list as they lamented over whether or not to include a few people. Their thoughts “well if I invite them they’ll come over with the been there drank that look on their face but if I don’t I’ll feel bad because we’re friends.” Further prodding led to “I mean when I see them check in and share what they’re drinking, it’s just a completely different echelon of beers, half of which I don’t even think you’ve heard of.”

I rolled my eyes. It was an immediate response. My reply was somewhere along the lines of “I don’t even care to trade and chase whales anymore. What’s the point?” followed by a quick realization that I truly did mean what I had just said. I no longer write for a Beer Street Journal, so I don’t find myself salivating over beers I can’t get in PA. I haven’t put out an ISO post on social media in ages.

During the same coffee shop interaction they asked me what was on my craft beer wish list. I had to really ponder this as I updated my ‘about me’ to reflect the updates. It all felt so forced and awkward and I finally realized what I had done. I had become the recovered beer snob.

selin's grove kriek

Do I still love craft beer? Clearly. Do I get excited to see a new brewery in town or a beer I haven’t had before? Duh. Do I still devote myself to expanding my palate, trying new beers, and advocating for the craft beer industry? Of course. But the way I think about all of it and behave has changed.

I went through a point where it was hard to interact with newer beer drinkers or those I considered to be…less educated…than I. They’d mention a beer and my immediate reply would be somewhere along the lines of “I’ve already had that” or “Meh”. It took a conscious effort to stop being a douche about it and actually start to engage with people about their beers. “I’m so glad you finally got to have that, what did you think of it?” has become the language I choose now. “If you like that you should try this” is acceptable vernacular in my eyes.

Two years back the same bottle share mentioned above was forming and I remember thinking well I don’t want to take x, y, or z from my cellar because that’s the really good stuff and they won’t appreciate it. Who am I to even THINK that? What had I become? First impressions are everything and I wasn’t making a very nice one.

If you ask me to define myself, I usually choose craft beer enthusiast, connoisseur, or evangelista at this point. The terms snob and nerd have too negative of a connotation. Defining yourself as such has bigger implications than you can imagine.

3 Comments on Confessions of a Recovering Beer Snob

  1. I find myself sliding into snobbery every now and then, and I agree, it’s not pretty. But a lot of people seem to have lost sight that the whole endeavor is to enjoy beer and spread its message. To many people are all about “the get”. Chasing whales, badges, whatever; and seeing it as some kind of competition. Good luck on your continued recovery (being a beer snob is like being an alcoholic; you’re never really cured, it’s day-to-day, and you could lapse at any moment).

  2. It’s funny I can totally relate to this post! Since I work in the craft beer industry and have many craft beer drinking and brewing friends I still have many friends that do not. That said, I fall into the mindset you mentioned from time to time however my goal is always to expand people’s pallets in addition to having a good time with beer. The thing I tell people the most (especially when doing samplings and beer fests) is there is a beer out there for everyone and you not everyone can like the same thing, hence the variety of beer available now!

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