Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Are you a beer snob?

Over the past three years, since the inception of, I have been faced with the comments from folks that we are beer snobs.

Lately I have been thinking about this stereotypical term that is laid upon any and all craft beer lovers from their peers. While part of me is quite proud to own this label, there is a part of me who despises this terminology.

I have learned over time that this term can be quite damaging to the craft beer industry as a whole. We at SIDT are proud to introduce average folks to great craft beer. And from experience I can tell you that these same folks are very turned off by the stereotypical beer snob who talks over their heads, and spits out beer terminology like a scientist.

So if you consider yourself a “beer snob” and want to spread the good word of craft beer, please keep in mind the next time you chastise someone for drinking one of the “BMC” (Bud, Miller & Coors) beers that these folks are new to the industry as a whole. If they are willing to listen, offer them a gateway beer and explain the blood, sweat and tears that these brewers experience to share their favorite recipes and styles with the masses.

Explain the different styles and recommend that they keep trying until they find their favorite. If they are not willing to listen and simply insult your beverage of choice, move on to someone who will listen.

Even as an experienced craft beer fan, I feel that there is a fine line between beer snob and asshole at times. If you love craft beer and want to see the industry grow, I implore you to not cross that line and simply be respectful and have patience with your new craft beer prospects.


Jessica Knott said...

I love craft beer, but you'll pry my PBR and Old Style from my cold, dead hands. You can be both, and both offer different benefits. Well written, sirs!

Sickpuppy said...

Thanks Jessica,
I tend to go back to Iron City Beer every now & then!

Greig McGill said...

Great stuff Sickpuppy. I struggle with this one on a daily basis. We had an issue with a column in a local newspaper a while back. The author took our discussion on the merits of a judging panel's results to heart, and declared a group of us snobs of the highest order. I rebutted his points. The key part of my argument was the definition of a snob. I think it goes to motivation. A snob wants to feel/appear better than you. A beer lover just wants everyone to drink good beer, because s/he is just that damn passionate about it.

The problem comes when the exuberant beer aficionado alienates people unintentionally by "going on too much" about what others see as just a beer. That's the bit I and many others have trouble with, and that's where it can be hard to walk the line.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Greig. I think that's more to the point of what true beer snobbery is exactly. More often than not, it's someone trying to "one-up" another individual by insisting that they have better taste. And therefore, they are more sophisticated and better than you are.

As far as I'm concerned, this is exactly what craft beer is not about. It all started because a select group of people wanted better tasting beer, having been to Europe and other places around the world where beer seemed fresher, and more flavorful. The idea was to bring those flavors here, and brew beer that tasted better than what they were getting at the time.

The BMC versus Craft Brew argument reminds me of all other stupid arguments of their type - Mac vs PC, Mets vs Yankees, Butter vs Margarine, NASCAR vs Formula 1. If you like a PC, root for the Mets, and put margarine on your toast - good for you! It may not be what I like, but that's none of my business.

I blame Stone Brewing's arrogant approach to "fizzy yellow beer." They're against the big business mentality of the larger breweries, and I appreciate that. But their message gets misconstrued by craft beer fanboys.

I'm a big craft beer advocate, but for the record, on hot days I like an ice cold "fizzy yellow beer." Nothing tastes better when you're turning that 9th hole in the Summer.

Jeff Porn said...

I think the one main thing that turns people off or cause people to apply the tag "Beer Snob" is that far too many craft beer lovers feel that they have to put down "BMC" beers constantly to be a true craft beer lover.

Put yourself in the other persons shoes, if all of a sudden someone start slamming the beer you have enjoyed your whole life and telling you how crappy it is and that you should be drinking craft beer X. What would you expect their reaction to be.

The best approach is to appreciate the fact that the person chose to drink beer over any other option first and then if they are interested introduce them to a craft beer, but don't try to fore it down their throats or belittle what they are drinking. It doesn't do the craft beer industry any good.

Good Burp said...

Well said. I am proud to be a "beer snob". And I love to share a microbrew with a Bud kind of guy.

There becomes a point when you could become an ass by projecting your opinions.

Bottom line, educate. As a "beer snob", you are the teacher. Take a little pride in that.