Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

March 29, 2010

Beer Diary:

Badge Of Dishonor

Buying and drinking macro swill out of fear of looking like a beer snob is the height of dumbassery.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
You know, sometimes I just don’t get people.

Over the last two weeks or so, on more than a couple of occasions I’ve come across a blog comment, a letter to the editor, or just plain heard people falling all over themselves trying to prove that they aren’t beer snobs by the simple fact that they’ve got a six pack of MGD in their fridge or they are buying a can of Coors Light instead of a tap of local craft brew.

This completely baffles me. I can understand if you have a sixer of MGD in the house because that’s all one of your friends drinks (although if that is the case, you should probably think about getting new friends) or you’re buying a Coors Light because you actually, truly like that swill (on second thought, no, I can’t understand that). What I’m talking about is people who have a sixer of shit beer on hand or order up a cold can of vaguely beer-like alcoholic water, and announce their reasoning behind it as some kind of badge to let everyone know that they aren’t beer snobs, geeks, dorks, or whatever pejorative term is in vogue today for people who enjoy craft beer.

Where did the idiotic perception that drinking locally brewed beer is patent snobbery come from?
But unfortunately for these particular people, this badge they’ve hung upon themselves doesn’t make them non-beer snobs. It makes them dumbasses.

Although I said that I was baffled by this behavior, I’m really not, because I know what these people are thinking. They’re worried that if the neighbor comes over on a nice spring day or one of their fellow bar patrons notices what they order, they might look like some yuppie elitist if all they have in the fridge or the pint they get is craft beer. Like having a sixer of Bud on hand or a tall boy of PBR on the bar somehow makes them more working class, more egalitarian. In short, not a “beer snob.”

What a load of crap. First off, you shouldn’t give a shit what other people think of you (unless they’re the Beer Dorks, of course). Secondly, where did the idiotic perception that drinking locally brewed beer is patent snobbery come from?

Once again, simply drinking craft beer is a means toward saving the world.
Regardless of its provenance, as beer dorks it’s our job to combat it. How? By going ahead and ordering that craft beer instead of a Miller Lite even though that’s what all your friends are having. (And making a mental note when you get home to look for new friends.) When you’re at the beer store, grab a sixer of the beer you want to drink, not what the neighbors or your relatives might approve of. If you’re buying beer for other people to drink, that’s a different story. But otherwise, buy the beer that you want, regardless of what others think. Because as people see others just like them buying, drinking, and enjoying craft beer, that misguided perception will begin to fade, and those that want to try a local brew but were otherwise afraid of what their peers might think may just order up a tap of craft beer instead of bland, tasteless swill.

Once again, simply drinking craft beer is a means toward saving the world … or, at least, regenerating that tenuous link between popularity and merit—where a beer’s popularity is based on its quality, not a false perception crafted by a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. Plus, when we buy locally brewed beer, we’re putting our money into our communities instead of subsidizing idiotic ads about some jerkoff who’d rather have a Miller Lite than a girlfriend (and everyone thought I was antisocial) or pumping money into a foreign-owned megabrewery even as it shuts down malt plants and lays off our neighbors to offset debt from the latest takeover.

Do the world a favor and be a “snob” tonight: drink a craft brew.

This is like sticking a Happy Meal on your plate, because you don't want anyone to know you prefer real food.

Seriously, this is what the Beer Wars are all about...consumers need to vote with their dollars and every $ spent on the big guys is vote for commercials & gestapo distribution tactics and against quality, freshness & local products.
posted by rings | March 29, 2010, 9:29 AM
"This completely baffles me. I can understand if you have a sixer of MGD in the house because that?s all one of your friends drinks (although if that is the case, you should probably think about getting new friends) "

I do agree with you that people should drink what they enjoy.

This goes for beer hobbyists right alongside average joe.

And you know, there's people like me who are in between. I appreciate a damned fine beer. I also have grown rather fond of Mich Ulta and Budweiser. Sue me.

when you say what i quoted above, it's that elitist, snobbish, dickheaded attitude that makes people run away from nice beer, fine wine, and many of the other finer things in life. They'd rather stick with their chain restaurants, "crappy beer", and whatever else and feel that they can relate to the average human being rather than peering down their noses at everyone, which you have seemed to done a fine job of.

Allowing people to drink what they want to drink without ridicule swings both ways, moron.
posted by dd | March 29, 2010, 12:00 PM
As much as I agree with the bulk of this arcitle, I have to agree with dd. I prefer my craft beers and I don't judge, but saying you shouldn't be friends with someone who drinks plain beer is like saying you shouldn't hang out with anyone who's different than you (re: music taste, ideology, etc.). That's the snobby attitude you're pretending not to have. Well done.
posted by kearneycation | March 29, 2010, 12:41 PM

Yes. I REALLY believe that not only should you not be friends with someone because of what they drink, you should also steal their pants. But not their shoes. That's crossing the line into true antisocial behavior.
posted by EddieGlick | March 29, 2010, 1:22 PM
Eddie, we all get it, you were joking. Your "humor" isn't above anyone and assuming your so-called humor went over out simpleton, commoner heads is just an extension of your snobbery it seems.

Stick to talking about beer, you suck at talking about people.
posted by dd | March 29, 2010, 1:28 PM
I have a friend who'll only drink Michelob Ultra. And that's it, Ultra or nothing. If I know he's coming over I'll buy a twelve pack and throw it in the cooler. He, however, NEVER buys my favorite beers (I like Oberon and FFF Alpha King), even though they're readily available at the liquor store we both go to. One he came over out of the blue and was complaining that I didn't have any of his beer around. So I asked him why he never had mine around. He said "i'm not buying any of that fancy sh-t!". Who is the snob?
posted by Steve Bennett | March 29, 2010, 1:36 PM
Thanks for this article I have been referred to as a beer snob just because I like good craft beer largely it didn't bother me before but when I got it more frequently it makes you wonder if you are wrong. I love craft brews and I feel my drinking them stimulates a local economy and furthers my appreciation. Good Read!
posted by csmotsin | March 29, 2010, 3:17 PM
@Steve Bennett

You and your buddy both have a point. I can understand a bit of tit for tat with stuff like that. If you buy him some it's only common courtesy for him to buy you some.

Since he's never bought you any and you claim to have done so several times, you're clearly in the correct.

But... if you expected his 6 or 12 of Ultra to equal a 6 or 12 of FFF Alpha King you do realize that financially speaking things are definitely not equal.
posted by dd | March 29, 2010, 4:17 PM
@ dd: for some reason, this has touched a nerve with you, but I'll bite...what the heck.
Apparently, you're pissed about Eddie's "new friends" comment, which was obviously hyperbole to make a point - a point which is lost if it has to be explained. Lighten up and stop being "offended." Claiming offense or p/c status is nothing more than a tool to cut off debate by claiming taboo on an opinion you don't like. Or, you can just keep hurling personal insults. That works too.
As to the larger point, craft beer drinkers have ALL tried the macro brews, but have discovered there's more to life than TV Dinners and cute ad campaigns. Unfortunately, many macro brew drinkers are not nearly as courteous or open minded, as nearly all "beer snobs" will attest. I enjoy a dive bar and cold Schlitz as well as anything, but we've all been harrassed and subject to rude comments by "beer drinkers" who don't have the first clue as to what they're talking about. While many of them have sipped a Guinness or something in their lives, they settle for the typical assessment that they "don't like that dark beer" sans any knowledge of what that means.
Fact is, 98% of macro drinkers are drinking the label, not the beer, as there's almost no difference in their ingredients or brewing techniques...not that there's anything wrong with that.
Finally, to your last point, there's no need to drink "6 or 12 Alpha Kings," because each of them has 3x the alcohol and 10x the flavor of an Ultra. Where do you think the calorie savings in a Michelob come from? Its the alcohol. So a 6-pack would be might even last a couple visits in Steve's example.
Cheers...I'm going to get a PBR.
posted by rings | March 29, 2010, 5:02 PM
This is a little off point, but there is some relevance.

Tell a macro consumer that you're a homebrewer and the first thing they'll ask is "What do you mean?"

Explain to them how you enjoy crafting your own beers and visions of Ernest T Bass and other hillbillies with moonshine stills will run through their mind as they assume you're trying to get drunk as cheaply as possible.

Give them one of your beers and they will compare it to their macro of choice, decide you have no fucking idea how to make beer and must be desperate to drink that "dark stuff". Then they'll tell everyone else how they were lucky they didn't go blind drinking from your still.

Now tell a craft brew consumer the same, and they'll say "Fucking Wow! What styles do you make? Can I try one?"

This happens often enough that I usually don't tell people I know that drink macro beers that I even homebrew. Nothing positive comes from it. In fact, it often gives them wrong impressions.
posted by Jug | March 29, 2010, 5:35 PM
I've gotta agree with Glick on this one. Unlike some of the others I got the "new friends' and "only listen to us dorks" jokes on the first read. So boiled down his point is drink what you like and don't let what others think bug you, then he states some reasons why you should drink local. Other than the colorful ripping on big beer ads, not sure why someone would get angry at that enough to call anyone a moron and or they suck. Unless it hit someone where it hurts.
posted by Blurk | March 29, 2010, 6:15 PM

rings beat me to it, but, yeah, I don't drink more than 4 or 5 Oberons or FFF's at a sitting, while my buddy (and me, when I'm drinking Ulrtra) pounds twice that many Ultras. That stuff tastes and goes down like water.

But I don't know about your friends, dd, but mine don't keep tallies of owing each other 5 or 10 bucks over the course of a year.
posted by Steve Bennett | March 29, 2010, 9:36 PM
You guys have the best comments section! It's gotta be fun to whip people into a frenzy about stupid crap and then sit back and watch the show.

It might have been tongue-in-cheek, but if your friends are so lame that they would rip on you for actually thinking about the choices you make instead of doing what the TV tells you to, Finding new ones might not be such a bad idea. I like to hang out with people who are open minded, not ones who aren't smart enough to resist being manipulated by lowest common denominator advertising.
posted by Frank | March 30, 2010, 8:36 PM

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
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