As I sit on a warm spring afternoon, flipping through my old Beer Advocate magazines, sipping a Mama’s Little Yella Pils, I am musing on the nature of beer snobbery. I was talking about a similar phenomenon with some friends last night called the Cage Stage. It applies to beer snobbery as well. The name refers to a set of religious doctrines to which I happen to subscribe, and the tendency of newly-enlightened believers to be…well…undiplomatic about their newly discovered beliefs. Actually, that was entirely too diplomatic of me. They’re freakin’ jerks, hammering their beliefs upon the heads of even their most ardent brothers and sisters in the Lord. The name implies (states outright?) that the new convert to this series of doctrines would be better served by being placed in a cage so they cannot harm relationships by acting in decidedly unloving ways. Beer connoisseurs tend to go through the same stage, which we refer to as Beer Snobbery.
At best, the beer snob is carried away by his or her own zeal so as to put off those to whom he or she ought ostensibly to be preaching. At worst, they’re jerks, causing others to feel that if this is what happens to people who like craft beer, they can just keep it. This doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help we craft beer drinkers, it doesn’t help craft brewers, and it doesn’t help the people we’re trying to enlighten.
And please keep in mind, dear reader, I am not preaching from some high horse. I’ve been there. I’ve said things which did not help the cause. I’ve snickered behind my hand as “uneducated plebs” ordered yellow, fizzy garbage water to drink. I’ve been that jerk, and I wasn’t doing anyone any favors.
See, when we put others off the wonders of craft beer, we guarantee the market will not grow as fast as it could. I believe craft beer is far superior to what is produced by the macro breweries, certainly. I know the craft brewer is far more honest and open about the beers they’re brewing and serving, absolutely. And if I want this segment to grow as it ought, pushing people away from the spectrum of wonderful beers out there is definitely counterproductive.
I’m noodling the next show as I type all of this. The Battle Royale, we’re calling it. We’re going to blind taste test light macro beers right next to light craft beers to talk about what is available for those who don’t want the latest palate-wrecking hop bomb. This show is for the guy or gal who doesn’t want the heavy, dark beer, and thinks if they go craft, that’s their only option. However, I am aware of a far more annoying way we could spin this show…
Great vs. Garbage! Decent beer vs. Sewer Water! It’d be all too easy to slip into an us vs. them mentality, and that would be completely missing the point. You want to drink Bud or Coor’s, fine. Just know that there are light-bodied beers out there which are worth your time. The alternative to light, carbonated Bud is not Guinness. The alternative to MGD is not Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout! This Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues brewery in Colorado is light, refreshing, and not too big on the alcohol. It’s even served from a tallboy can! This kind of thing is the true alternative if your beer is light on body, light on flavor, and heavy on refreshment and good times. If I get any message out there on this week’s show, I hope it’s that one!