As I stated in my first article as the beer columnist for The Capital, I didn’t always like beer. Obviously that’s changed. Being a beer blogger who hates beer would be pretty darned awkward.
Anyway, since I’ve undertaken this journey, I’ve been so lucky to meet so many amazing people, have awesome experiences, make new friends and, well, drink a lot of very good (and sometimes not-so-good) beer.
Most importantly, however, I’ve learned a lot. This has been and still is an evolving learning experience for me — which part of the reason why I started this blog. I always roll my eyes so hard that I fall to the floor when people use this term, but I very much consider myself a student in this arena. I’m not an expert: I’m simply passionate and open, trying to learn as much as I can.
And I can’t explain it either. After months and months of being exposed to good beer and the talented, creative people behind it, it just clicked for me one day. I realized I was inspired more and more to turn off the Law & Order marathons that I love so very much to study and taste and read and taste and learn and taste. There was so much history and so many stories and so many passionate people, and it was awesome.
It’s hokey, but when it comes down to it, the more I learned about beer, the more I wanted to dedicate my time to it.
There is one thing I find frustrating, unfortunately. It’s not something I’ve dealt with personally, but rather it’s something I’ve encountered indirectly. While there are jokes about beer snobs — funny ones — there is a certain type of beer snob that irks me. They turn their nose up at those who are new to craft beer, as if they are somehow unworthy. This special breed seems to view themselves as pioneers who got to Craft Beer Island first with a flag (see: Eddie Izzard), and thus they are more entitled to craft beer, shunning all outsiders.
In more simple terms, they licked craft beer and claimed it as their own.
Now look, I get that bandwagon fans who spend their lives perpetually waiting in the wings to leap on the Next Big Thing are completely annoying. And there are serious concerns about the craft beer market becoming saturated beyond demand. But I don’t like the idea that just because you won the “I FOUND CRAFT BEER FIRST” race, somehow you have the right to determine whether an individual is good enough to like craft beer or be respected for the fact that they want to learn.
One of the things that drew me to beer in the first place — beyond its tasty qualities, of course — is that it brings people together. Not only that, there are so many memories in my life, even before beer became a big thing for me, where beer figured prominently. The night Patrick proposed, I was unemployed, but we were laughing and drinking beer on the floor of our first apartment together in Beltsville. When we got married, we spent most of the night kicking back cream ales at our reception at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Old Town, and maybe a few (several) shots of Jameson. And when we decided to move to Annapolis on a whim, it was over a large format bottle of Dogish Sahtea while we were vacationing in Boston.
Something as amazing as beer, which has been a social cornerstone across many cultures for centuries, should not be hoarded for the enjoyment of a select few. Those who are new to craft beer should be respectful and open to learn from those who hold a wealth of knowledge, and those who encounter or are welcoming newcomers should be excited that mass-market beers are at long-last losing their stranglehold on consumers.
To make an already long soapbox-diatribe short, beer is a great uniting force, and everyone has the right to discover truly good beer in their own time. So don’t be an asshole about it.
P.S. Fat dogs who nap all day are useless as nurses when you have the flu. Just an FYI.