We Are Better Than This

One of the reasons why I really fell in love with craft beer was the atmosphere of the community. I was already an avid wine drinker and had spent a lot of time visiting some regional wineries. There’s something about most wineries that just feels snobby. I’m not sure if it’s the wordy descriptions or the upscale décor or the older crowd or the jazz music or the way the wine is poured for you. Whatever it is, it just feels snobby.

When I went to my first brewery, it felt so much different from that. The people serving you beer are so different! They genuinely love beer and are excited to tell you all about it. There’s rarely some weird and wordy description. You can drink a beer and simply decide for yourself whether or not you like it. You can sit around with your friends with a sampler and just kick back. I loved it!

In this way, craft beer is far less snobby than wine. However, since I’ve become more engulfed and involved in the craft beer community, I’ve discovered that snobbery does still exist, it just comes in a different way.

While wine might feel snobby in its environment, I feel that the craft beer community in itself has become a bit snobby. Just take a look around Beer Advocate or Untappd. It’s suddenly all about exclusivity and chasing the rare beers. It seems many beer drinkers are using these channels for a weird self esteem boost. Even when you go to a brewery or a great craft beer bar these days it seems there’s always someone there willing to tell you their opinion about everything you’re drinking and probably tell you about all of the things he/she has had that is ‘way better than this.’ I’m sure these people think they are helping to educate you, but it really does come off as just plain snobby.

Lets face it, craft beer is growing and a rapid rate. This is an awesome thing. We need to embrace all of these new converts. Sure, they might start out drinking Boston Lager and #9 (which are still craft beers!), but they’re NOT drinking Bud Light or Blue Moon. This is a wonderful thing! We are all in this together. We have to make everyone feel comfortable.

My proposal? When you meet someone at the local bar or brewery, instead of telling them what you think of the beer, ask them what they think of it. And instead of responding with a comment comparing it some other better beer you’ve had, just describe how THIS BEER tastes. Talk about your current surroundings, give them some background information about the brewery, tell them about some other cool places in the area to check out, add them as a friend on UnTappd, or anything else that will truly help them discover and love craft beer. Both Beer Advocate and UnTappd were created to bring people together. We are better than the snobbery.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite people in beer:

“At Dogfish Head we are beer geeks, not beer snobs. This means we love and respect all good beer and realize that appreciating beer is subjective….Beer snobs are the people who want to prove how much they know about beer by bashing a brewery.”
– Sam Calagione

10 Comments on We Are Better Than This

  1. Welcome to Stouts and Stilettos! The sad part about this “snobbery” is that it seems to me to come mostly from people who drink craft beer or wine. I rarely find the people who actually produce fine wine or craft beer to have this attitude. In fact, most will be quick to point out benefits to the industry that the “big boys” have brought. And you are 100% correct. If you do want to educate someone on craft beer, approaching them like a condescending, know-it-all is not the way to go.

  2. While I will admit that I am a tad on the douchey side when it comes to what I will or won’t drink (I’m way past drinking to drunk, so if it doesn’t taste good to me, then I don’t see the point of drinking it), the whole one upmanship thing irritates the hell out of me. I mean, what’s the point of trying to make someone feel inferior? Being at a bar or gathering with friends to have a few drinks is about enjoyment and having a laugh. If I happen to try something new or turn someone else on to something interesting, then that’s a huge bonus. And when it comes to recommending anything to anyone (food, drink, cars, movies, or anything else you can think of), you have to start with the following question before you can start to list options: What do YOU like?

    • Totally agree. I’m not a very competitive person, so it drives me bonkers. I do love the Untappd unique check-ins count though. It drives me to try new things, but I don’t think of it as some kind of score in a game.

  3. Well said. I try to pay more attention to what other people think than what I think about a beer. My tastes are relatively static, but meeting people with different perspectives happens all the time. It is human nature, however, to compare one experience to a previous one, so I have to force myself consciously not to do that.

    • Thank you! I agree. It’s hard to not say “Oh well I liked THIS double IPA better than the one we’re all drinking right now,” but I do think it helps you enjoy the moment more if you try not to compare. 🙂

  4. “give them some background information about the brewery, tell them about some other cool places in the area to check out”

    This has been my issue for years. Well said and welcome. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  5. While I do use BA quite a bit, I use it to expand my connections around the U.S. I enjoy trying beers I can’t get near me. Especially small brewers in the growler only business. I find so many gems this way. I’m not one to care about a beer’s rarity or judge anyone for what they like. It’s all about new beerperiences and sharing those with my friends (and remote friends, I’m looking at one contributor here) Beer is like music, we all have our own tastes or there would be only one style.

  6. I know exactly what you mean and this post hits close to home. I mean I love craft beer and it is such a wonderful hobby, but lately especially in the Instagram craft beer community its all about those “whales” and people are really losing touch with what craft beer is really about. Its hard enough for a woman to get respect in the community as it is. Now we have to worry about if we can really dissect a beer; all of the flavors and the nose correctly for fear of losing said credibility. All I want to do is drink and enjoy a damn good beer.

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