I’m about to have a conversation with myself about beer. You’re welcome to eavesdrop or interject, whatever rubs your Buddha.
Here’s the thing about talking about beer: I’m fucking sick of everyone talking about beer. Jesus Christ. If people less drunk than me devoted this much time to actually discussing affordable healthcare or the minimum wage in this country we might actually make some damn progress instead of spinning our two wheels in reverse directions and calling it a democracy.
Wait, I thought we were talking about beer? Let’s try this again: why does everyone need to have a fucking opinion about everything? I was sitting at a bar, as I am wont to do, and this is on St. Patrick’s Day. So the big news in Boston is Sam Adams pulled their sponsorship from the parade because the cementheads in Southie won’t let the gays march in the parade. Which honestly makes no sense to me because 1. it’s 2014 and 2. is there anything more gay than parade? And I don’t mean “gay” like I’m a 13 year old that’s never seen a tit, but I mean “gay” as in a celebration of flamboyance. Hell, you’ve got men in skirts and high-knee socks blowing pipes until they make noise. But I digress. So this older guy, starts talking to me about how the gays are “pushing their agenda” or some other old, white man bullshit. And I’m a young white man, so I got my own bullshit, but fuck if I’m going to waste my precious little Monday energy engaging a closeted bigot.
But that’s what I’m talking about: why the fuck do you care, old man? Drink your beer and make nice. That’s what I’m doing. You know who has an agenda of rubbing their beliefs in your face? You do. You’re rubbing them in mine. And I don’t like it any better than you do, so shut the fuck and drink your beer.
Shut the fuck up and drink your beer.
Look, I’m not saying not to appreciate it. Do. Appreciate the fuck out of your beer, because some poor bastard dumped every ounce of energy he/she had into making it so that 1. he/she could live their dream 2. he/she could give you the best possible beverage to drink and 3. he/she could feed their family. Appreciate your beer, but… do it quietly. I’m a huge beer nerd. Clearly. I have a blog about beer. That is some lame shit. I talk about aromas, and tastes and mouthfeel and other happy horseshit like that, because I enjoy it and (presumably) people want to hear about it.
You know who doesn’t want to hear about it? That guy next to you at the bar, who doesn’t mean to eavesdrop but fuck if he can’t help it because you’re packed in like sardines and you might as well be sitting in his lap. No one within earshot gives a fuck if you detect a hint of blueberries, because all they detect is a hint of pretentious asshole (which smells like a regular asshole, stuffed with blueberries). Seriously. Save your beer critiques for your friends, at home, or at a quiet booth at the bar if you’re lucky enough to acquire one. You’re not there to play the Roger Ebert of beer. You’re there to relax, drink, and tip your bartender at least $2 per drink, you stingy fuck.
I went to a small tasting tonight. That’s the perfect venue to sniff, swirl, and discuss “hints of horse blanket” and “I don’t know, cherry, I think?” And shit, if the bartender asks you “what do you think?” Fuck it. Tell him what you think. He/she asked, so feel free. Just remember to take a 2oz tasting of humility before you do. It’s not “the worst beer you’ve ever had,” that’s Heineken, and no one fucking asks you what you think of Heineken. And check shit into Untappd or whatever you use, that’s fine… but don’t treat it like someone gives a shit what you rated a beer. “I gave this one 2 and a half stars.” Good. Now go give yourself 2 and a half bullets to the cerebral cortex. Beer rating systems are a socially acceptable form of masturbation, but regardless they’re best kept to yourself.
The “problem” with craft beer isn’t the trademark lawsuits, or the fad-chasing, or any of that other bullshit. The problem with craft beer is that it has empowered a bunch of people who are generally outsiders to exclude people from their little club. And that’s fucked up. Stop being an asshole. YOU are the problem. Not the hopping techniques or the percentage of adjuncts, but the percentage of assholes. Don’t turn beer into politics or religion. It should be discussed. It should be celebrated. But it should never be the battle of pretentious douchebaggery it so often degenerates into. If you can’t help yourself, then fuck off. This isn’t a hipster arms race to the next fad. This isn’t music on vinyl. This isn’t handcrafted keffiyehs that you don’t understand the cultural relevance of. It’s beer. It’s the same shit (different zip code) that the college kids are getting piss drunk on.
Beer is great. One of the reasons beer is great is because it’s a tabula rasa. It’s a blank slate. Beer is only as pretentious as the person drinking it. Heady Topper, arguably the best beer in the world, is served from the same style of can as PBR or Bud Light Mango-rita. You can either crush a case of it floating in an inner tube down the Saco River with a few buddies at the end of Summer, or you can make snide comments about it “not living up to the hype.”
But then again, when’s the last time you lived up to the hype?