I visited Belgium last year and fell in love with beer. Trying the various Belgian craft beers was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. When I returned home I turned my sights to the ever-increasing number of American craft beers. I live in a great location for craft beer, as there are multiple breweries within an hour of my house. As I was expanding my craft beer horizons I came across an aspect of craft beer culture I was really disappointed by: beer snobs.
Craft beer is the new thing. Craft breweries and stores are opening up everywhere. Americans have shifted their beer drinking habits. Instead of consuming large quantities of cheap beer, people are consuming fewer more expensive beers. The craft beer market boomed and entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity. As a result America’s beer preferences are expanding. Consequently people have begun to pride themselves on knowing the intricacies and differences of each style. This is great. It allows people to experiment with and perfect different beers. But it has turned into a competition to show who knows the most.
If beer is your hobby, that is great. If you know a lot about it, then that is also great. But don’t be the guy who scoffs at someone who doesn’t know whether they want a hoppy ale or a dark porter. You’re not helping anyone. You’re not making the novice beer drinker feel comfortable. The more you learn about beer the more you should be willing to help. You don’t look cool by taking sips of a coolly named beer and priding yourself on being able to spit out a slew of nonsense. If someone is in a craft beer shop don’t look at him sideways if they look unsure of what exactly they want. Don’t judge them if they don’t know anything about beer besides the major companies.
The funniest thing to me is when people wear T-shirts that say, “drink local beer,” berate the big beer conglomerations, but then get upset when someone new decides they want to expand their beer horizons but don’t know exactly what they’re talking about. You should be happy that people are willing to spend more of their hard earned money to drink the more expensive but craft produced beer. Don’t pride yourself on knowing more than someone else. I guarantee you there is someone who knows more than you. Your beer store is not cool due to the fact that only a small group of ‘enthusiasts’ are allowed through the front door. Your beer store is cool because it has a variety of fun new beers to try.
Don’t be a beer snob and we can all enjoy this beautiful elixir of the gods, while supporting small business owners and furthering the product.