Monday, February 14, 2011

Counterpoint: Are You A Beer Geek?

I liked Nick's post about beer snobbery last week. However, I don't really agree with all of Nick's conclusions. Also many of you wrote back, that while you scored a 5/5 on Nick's list o' snobbery, that maybe you felt that the title of beer snob was unjust. I present to you the counterpoint to Nick's beer snob: the beer geek. See the beer geek has all the characteristics of a beer snob, without all the turning-up-the-noses. Turning up your nose isn't the best thing for you, you know. You could actually drown yourself, like turkeys do... or not. So are you a beer geek? Maybe you only scored a 4/5 on Nick's categories. Maybe you'll do better here... Lets see.

1. While you appreciate a good beer, you don't turn on the under-educated.

I know a lot of beer snobs who will turn their nose up to the masses who think a quality beer is Miller Genuine Draft. To me, sure, MGD sucks. Really bad. However that doesn't make these other people (and coincidentally, the majority of the people) wrong. Maybe their tastebuds aren't as refined, but more importantly, maybe they just don't care. And truly, that's ok. Some people love cars, and "how on earth could you buy a kia, when BMW offers such a superior driving experience." Everybody chooses their vice. We, as beer geeks, choose beer. We can only hope that the love catches on.

2. You feel that some beer may suck, but it's still beer.

In my opinion cheap beer has it's time and place. Like porter is good with BBQ, like a lambic is good for dessert, and like a hefeweizen is good when the weather is hot, cheap beer is good for cheap events. When I go to the town bar just to drink beer after a long week and scarf down as many greasy wings as I can, I order a draught Icehouse anytime.When I go to my favorite sports bar, and order a uber footlong hotdog with bacon, onion, and american cheese (sooo good), I order a Budweiser. There is just a time in place where the beer is not on the center stage, and if it's not, why pay for it. I'm not going to wash down chedder-bacon-sourcream-jalapeno-steak nachos with a beautiful Stone beer, I'm going to do it with a PBR (it's called blue ribbon 'cause it won a blue ribbon once ya know). I was at a CFHB meeting a little while back, and the educational topic was how to pour a beer. We were all given a bottle of Budweiser to use to see the differences of a good, bad, and worse pour. After the presentation, a bucket was passed around so people could dump their samples. That's just ridiculous. I will never turn down a free beer.

3. You feel that some beer may be produced by a big named brewer, but that doesn't mean it's awful.

This past Winter I reviewed the Sam Adam's winter 12-pack. There may be some discepency here with my example, because Sam Adam's teeters on the balance between craft brewery, and big named brewery. I was disappointed to see that some of the beers I tried were "malt beverages." But that doesn't make them bad. The way I see it, it's beer if it's brewed with malt & alcoholic. While none of that 12-pack was knock-me-off-my-feet amazing, it really wasn't bad. I'm still finishing some of them off, and I really do enjoy them. They are unique, and they're cheap. Also, remember how much I love Corona?

4. You'll try anything despite preconceived notions.

Sure, Old English sucks. So does Colt 45. Icehouse. MGD. Yes, if it comes in a 40 oz. bottle, it's probably really bad. But have you tried it? If you're reading this probably not. While 95% of preconceived notions about bad beers are correct (and 82% of statistics are made up), you might be missing a real gem. That said, you may remember my review on Colt 45.  Yes, it was awful. Before I finished a quarter of the bottle, I had a hangover. But without trying it, I'd never know how awful it was. Bud-Light Chelada? It can't be as bad as it sounds... wait... wait.... yes, yes it is. The Chelada is probably the only free beer I would turn down.

5. You know your stuff.

Since this is a list to tell if you're a beer geek, if you don't score this trait, then you've completely fallen off this boat. You can't call yourself a beer geek if you can't tell your ales from your lagers. You should probably be able to tell some different hops apart too, and definitely recognize a few major styles, like IPAs, Hefeweizens, Porters, and Stouts. 

I think the most critical difference between Beer Snobbery and Beer Geekery is the belief that all beer, big or small, despite label, manufacturer, or list of ingredients (be it natural or chemical), is created equal... until you taste it. I hope you agree. Don't agree? Think there's a category we're missing? Share below, or shoot us an email (!


  1. I guess I get a 4/5 on this one with number 3 being the point I can't concede. I feel that how the beer is brewed is just as important as the end result. It seems feel like you're claiming "the ends justify the means." The entire reason the craft brewing movement faded away in previous decades was because big companies like this wanted to squash it; they do it with your money if you decide to purchase their products.

  2. Here's a good comparison between a beer geek and a beer snob if you haven't already seen this ...