What Exactly Is A Beer?
By: Craft Beer Critic’s Critic
Before I begin my earth altering treatise, let’s get one thing clear: I enjoy craft beer. I like the variety, the mystique of trying something new, the sweetness, the bitterness, the hoppy flavor, the wave of rejuvenation that first sip brings after a long day. My grievance is not with you, o craft beer connoisseur. Indeed, I salute your adventurousness, your discerning palette, and your willingness to pay ungodly sums of money for that rush. My grievance is with you, o beer snob. To enjoy craft is reasonable and expected, but to enjoy only craft is an outrage and offensive.
One day, a few friends came over to my apartment– just a few dudes and dudettes chilling and having a good time. Like any good host, I offered them a couple bottles of beer, Stella Artois. Snob #1 emitted a condescending smile while he tilted his head at a 45 degree angle and retorted, ‘Do you have anything else?’. Snob #2 raised his hand, as if directing traffic to stop and said, ‘No, thank you’. Appalled and in a huff, I returned the frosty bottles to the refrigerator.
It was this egregious snobbishness that prompted my pondering of what a beer is, what it represents. From the times of yore in a wooden tavern to modern teen movies, beer has an inveterate tradition of bringing people together. Every time I hear that gust of compressed air escape from a can or that pop and clink from a bottle being opened I’m reminded of good times, of the Redskins dismantling the Ravens, of white people thinking they can dance, of befriending that creepy 50 something year old potential date-rapist at the bar wearing a red flannel shirt and a comb-over that starts at his sideburn and… okay you get the picture. Just as the bubbles rise in the glass, so do the spirits of those who consume them. The refreshing golden flow is the nectar of the gods. No matter how small the brewery, how high the ABV, how pale, or how it pours, every beer is to be respected.
Drink and let drink, I say. Don’t make beer a point of division, Snobs. If you’d like to have a beer with me, don’t invite me to a ‘taproom’– I don’t enjoy ballet. If you don’t drink non-craft, that’s your choice, and you’re entitled to it. But don’t think that narrow-mindedness also entitles you to sit atop a self-erected perch and stare reproachfully down your beak of bigotry at the rest of us.
You’re seeing the hops but missing the forest.