It already has rave reviews, the chef boasts a one-of-a-kind food and drink experience, and everyone is talking about it. They’ve even been highlighted on the Food Network. As soon as you and your friends can get a table, you’re pumped. You sit down and take in the articulately planned menu. Then reality hits, they only serve macro beer. Henceforth, this restaurant is dead to you.
Dare you say something to your friends who are all currently Instagramming the croissant burger with siracha infusion, or the raving on Yelp about the corndog breaded with organic ingredients? You. Do. Not. Okay, you might, but that’s a bridge I am afraid to cross. Why? If I so much as mention my disappointment with the offering, I will be assaulted with a Beer Snob retort.
You know that friend… the one who is pretty condescending about what you’re drinking? It doesn’t matter if they just gave it a five star rating on Untappd last week; if he’s got the next, hard to find craft brew in his hands, your first taste will never be up to snuff. Heck, even your assessment can’t live in the same realm. This friend… they’ll gush for fifteen minutes about the hint of sugar cookie on their ‘mouthfeel’. They’ll chastise you repeatedly for not using the appropriate glass. It won’t matter what you do to impress them… they’ve already been there, done that, and done it better.
I am proud to admit, I’m am not this person. Before our current generation of social transparency and empathetic disregard, the last time I was called a snob occurred during my grammar school days at the playground. Back then I was a brat, so it was more-than-likely warranted. Today we consider anyone with a healthy amount of knowledge on any subject a snob, especially if it’s more knowledge than we possess. When someone knows more than another and isn’t afraid to show it, people are inclined to feel threatened. The real definition of a snob is a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position and dislikes people or activities regarded as lower-class. Yes, I googled it.
So I ask, are all craft beer connoisseurs really snobs?
In truth, the roles might be reversed if you asked someone what they’re passionate about. When did it become irritating to enjoy something and be enthusiastic about it? The snob moniker implies we think we’re better than anyone else, but are we? Think about it, you know a lot about craft beer and your present company does not. Does that make you better? I’m going to be brutally honest with you, my friend… NO. Plain and simple.
Sure, recent macro commercials would have you think we’re froo-froo idiots with no capacity to enjoy any beer, all-the-while making incessant comments of flavor notes, and glassware choices. With the latest development, I expect even more snob-snubbing from the new market’s mega-brewery… Lest we forget the endless amount of articles, in print and online, shaming beer snobs left and right. All this name calling, public shaming, and downright hatred for each other has me wondering…
The snobs make up a tiny percent of our small, yet fanatical, ranks of craft beer lovers. The rest are pretty cool, once you get to know us. We simply like talking about it because that’s our thing! We’re excited. We geek-out. Heck, we’ve even built websites about it… ahem. There are many subcultures that do the exact… same… thing.
I used to work with this guy. He was such a Star Wars fan that he could find a way to insert a Star Wars related comment, joke, or anecdote about it into any and every conversation. If you tried to trick him with a random question about what type of fruit was in season he could find a way to redirect the conversation to his passion. Was it annoying? Sure, but was he a snob? No. He was someone who knew what he liked and he embraced it. We all have those things that we lose ourselves over, and when anyone crosses our path showing the slightest mutual interest, we can launch into an obsessive conversation lasting as long as they’ll let us. Maybe even longer.
I know I can’t change your mind about snobs in your life. I know I can’t change the mind of those who think I’m a snob. Maybe we can change what the word means. In this day and age, the ‘youths’ are so hell-bent on making up words, slang, and other such nonsense. Why can’t we do that. Let’s embrace being a snob… the right way.
I admit to being a beer geek.
I don’t think I’m better than those who are not like me.
I’m PROUD to be someone who is enthusiastic about craft beer.
Say it with me…
I will change what it means to be a Beer Snob.