One word of advice to craft beer newbies
When I first took the leap from “Hey, I like to drink beer!” to “Hey, beer is something I’m passionate about!” I was shocked by something. No, I’m not talking about the surprising diversity of styles – though that’s pretty dope – or how much heart and soul goes into a truly well-made beer.
Instead, what really took me by surprise was how super aggressive some people could be about beer, and how that translated into them politely giving advice – i.e., impolitely butting in – on how I should be enjoying every single moment of my beer experience.
I’m referring to know-it-all beer tyrants, which is a sub-strata of the generally newbie-averse craft beer snob.
"You have to drink this. Don’t drink that. No, this is the best example of a porter. Oh, you like that? You really shouldn’t – it’s a terrible representation of an IPA. What do you mean you don’t homebrew? You haven’t been there? Well, you don’t know beer until you’ve gone there. Eek, don’t admit to anyone you like that beer. Trust me.”
This kind of bossy behavior reminds me of how some women treat motherhood. As a woman in my 30s, I can’t tell you how many “discussions” I’ve heard about or witnessed where one woman – feeling #blessed with the unparalleled wisdom motherhood has bestowed upon her, and her alone – has felt the need to completely bully another woman with parenting “advice,” when no one asked her about anything in the first place.
So here’s my one word of advice to those who are new to craft beer:
Seriously. Take a big deep breath, block out the endless prattling of the craft beer mouthbreathers out there like white noise and relax.
It’s okay to dislike beers others swear by, while simultaneously embracing brews others abhor. (For example: Sorry, guys. I still like pumpkin beer. I had one earlier this week, and it made me happy.)
It’s also no big deal to take your time getting to know different styles at your own pace. Or to change your mind over and over again about what you like and don’t like. And yes, you can still consider yourself a craft beer nerd without going completely mental for IPAs; don’t let those hopheads pressure you into thinking otherwise. I say this as someone who really loves IPAs, but didn’t always.
Oh, and you can still be a cool beer kid without enjoying the act of homebrewing. You can just want to drink beer. Or you can try homebrewing once, learn some cool stuff and then decide you don’t want to do it anymore.
Beer is too awesome to have the fun totally sucked out of it. You are free to enjoy it as much or as little as you’d like. I say this because yes, there is a lot you can learn about beer, but how far down the rabbit hole you go is entirely up to you. So while pursuing the hilariously intimidating Certified Cicerone exam seems like a good idea to Josh and myself, you don’t have to do that.
Because here’s the best part about beer: While that yeast strain-naming, craft beer snob in your life might be judging your every beer-related move, your beer never will. Your beer will always love you just the way you are.
Mostly because it’s inanimate and incapable of independent thought, but whatever. My point stands. A beer will never judge you.
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