I am a beer geek. I admit that. I am well aware that my knowledge of beer outstrips most people. That is nothing to be ashamed of. However, I also know that my deep passion and extensive knowledge not only of the liquid in the glass but the people who make it can sometimes come across oddly to those not quite as versed. I am well aware my descriptions of bee may seem ridiculous to some. My hovering over a glass to pick up the nuances of aroma just plain silly.
I could get offended when people tease me for my beer geek-dom. I try not to. Instead I try to take it in stride, recognizing that it comes from a place of wanting to keep my passion in context. It is just beer, after all. Shouldn’t get too serious.
On this topic, I offer a video (forwarded to my be John Soltice) that does a wonderful job of poking gently at the excesses and oddities of beer geeks. Produced by Australian brewer Bridge Road Brewers in collaboration with the organization Good Beer Week, the video, titled $#!t Beer Geeks Say, is a good-natured ribbing of some of the stupid things we beer geeks let slip out of our mouths as our favourite elixir goes in. I embed it below for your entertainment:
There is no shortage of great lines in there. Some of my favourites include: “Pale Ale? No, it’s a white stout.”; “He recently got his PhD, I think you can taste the difference”; “Is this contract brewed? I can taste the contract.”; “This is a really limited edition. You can’t have any, they only brewed one pint”; and “tastes like cheesy socks, but in a good way”. In the latest viewing my most favourite currently is: “Whoa! This is hideously infected. Unless it’s a lambic and in that case it’s awesome!”
Of course, the lines are funny, but how many times did you recognize something you do? Be honest. For me it was more than handful. I can find me in those satirical lines. Maybe not everyday, and definitely not on my most humble and respectful days, but I can do it. The deep inhale with nose shoved in the glass. The ambroisa-like sigh, smacking of the lips, full in contemplation. I try not to make too many assumptions about what I know about the beer – varieties of hops, etc. – but I even fall for that one sometimes.
Watch the video. Laugh. Appreciate it for its loving poke at our tendencies. But then also use it to become more self-aware of ways in which we let our love for good beer transform into something that cuts other people off from our appreciation. The point is not to wow your mates with your knowledge of hop varieties and ability to produce evocative adjectives. It is not to shame others for their tastes or inexperience. We want more people to appreciate quality craft beer as much as we do. Which, sometimes, just sometimes, requires us to slow down a little, be more humble and let the beer do the talking.
But don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get your full geek on. Don’t be ashamed that you can tell marzipan apart from almond (see video), just pick your spots. And, always, be able to laugh at yourself.