I read an article from thrillist.com explaining the different kinds of beer snob. Of the 19 different types of beer snob the writer identified, I was happy and rather surprised to know I only fit into one of those categories. I was a little less impressed, however, to discover that kind of beer snob was the worst kind, the most obnoxious, The Condescender.
So I’m a beer snob … so what?
Do you know why beer snobs are the way they are? If you are one, the answer is probably ‘yes’. If you aren’t, you probably don’t care, but I’m going to say it anyway.
Most beer snobs knew beer before the craft revolution in Australia. It was not good. We drank it, but only for lack of choice, and we really, really wanted to impress boys and girls, which can be oh so difficult without alcohol. Sure, we could have resorted to the more expensive wines or spirits to get us to that level of social comfort where inhibitions are masked. But that’s not blokey, and let’s be honest, beer was traditionally (and largely continues to be, though this is changing) a blokes’ drink. It’s a barrier the craft beer revolution is breaking down, and today there are an increasing number of very influential female craft beer brewers, bloggers, promoters, reviewers, enthusiasts out there enjoying the craft way, appealing to the masses, and slowly destroying the stereotypes.
I was attending the evening session of GABS in Sydney last year (there are two sessions in Sydney, an afternoon and an evening sesh), and on the way to the venue at Olympic Park, the afternoon sesh folk were passing us on their way home, or perhaps to another venue for their Saturday night. What was astoundingly knock-me-over-with-a-feather clear, was the lack of drunkenness from the crowd that had just finished four hours of drinking. Happy, yes, but not drunk, boisterous, obnoxious. Where else do you get that? Not a bar, pub, club, sporting event, music event, party, wedding … nowhere else in the world will you find a group of people that large having just been to a venue for the specific purpose of drinking alcohol come away so not-drunk.
Why? Because craft beer drinkers aren’t drinking to get drunk, unlike our adolescent selves who suffered through the commercial lager-consumed beer landscape ten plus years ago. We’re drinking for a whole bunch of “snobby” reasons: because it tastes good; because craft brewers are passionate, local, funny, and we want to support them; because they’re hand-crafted, and even when they hit the big time, they can hold on to their roots and produce great stuff (think Feral); because there’s so much variety, and it’s increasing at a rapid rate – not just the florally, fruity beers we often hear non-craft drinkers whine about, but yes, them too; because it’s a whole lot more interesting to discuss and photograph (on social media, in pubs, microbreweries, festivals etc.) than commercial lager; because we can have just one and be satisfied; because craft beer labelling is very freaking awesome, from the simple to the elaborate; because sitting down with some friends at a microbrewery and sampling a tasting paddle is just plain fun; because we can rate them; because girls like them; because we can share a beer with our partner; because they come in a whole bunch of snobby-shaped glasses that look cool and actually make a difference to the overall experience (no, seriously); because we don’t wake up with a hangover the next day and can actually enjoy our weekend; because they don’t contain the preservatives that make hangovers worse in commercial brews; because they don’t taste like piss.
I’m sure you can add more reasons to this list, but the only reason I had for drinking commercial lager before the revolution was to get drunk so I could talk to girls (and dance and sing karaoke – no great loss). And it wasn’t pretty. And so why am I a craft beer snob that judges people who drink commercial lager? It’s not so much judging them, but rather wishing more for them because we’ve been there and we know what they’re missing out on. I know a lot of people still drink commercial lager because that’s just what they’ve grown accustomed to and why change it if it’s not broke. So my thought to them is: oh, but the snobbery you’re missing out on.
Yeah, I’m a beer snob, and I’m ok with that.
But how annoying are those coffee snobs