In the craft beer world, we like to brand ourselves as a welcoming and friendly industry that is filled with people and companies that are more like friends than competitors. Yet, there’s still so many people too intimidated by condescending beer nerds to get into craft beer, people that back away hesitantly from their local breweries clinging to their wine glasses with white knuckles. Humour me here, let’s pack away all of our certifications and beer biases for a hot minute and get back to why craft beer is so great- community. Too far up your own butt to know how to do that? Don’t worry, I got you covered- in a fancy listicle format because who doesn’t love listicles?? HERE’S HOW:
- Stop bashing people’s beer choices.
If you think you’re going to switch somebody off of a corn-based macro brew to your barrel aged saison by berating and belittling their beer choices- you’re going about it the wrong way. I know, we all get a bit caught up in the excitement and wonder that is locally made, quality driven, and naturally created beer. It’s easy to become blinded by passion for quality and complexity in your beer and let it take over your better judgement. That’s why I’m here. So don’t. Okay? It’s mean and it’s not cool, especially when you know that person paid money for that beer.
2. Remind yourself that craft beer is for everyone- not just you and your super rad friends.
Remember when men used to think women couldn’t drink beer? That was pretty terrible and no fun at all. Can we please just let everyone enjoy beer now? Don’t overlook a person or rule them out because of the group of people they associate with. Don’t assume Brad in the Leafs Jersey only enjoys crushing Budweiser in the locker room, he is just as capable of enjoying and respecting craft beer as you are.
3. Be confident in your own preferences and tastes, and let that be enough.
Be confident enough that you don’t have to try to validate yourself by bullying someone else into agreeing with you about what specific orchard fruit is on the nose of that Belgian ale you cracked open. Shoving beliefs of any kind down a persons throat is generally a terrible idea, but it can be pretty discouraging to a person just starting out their foray into craft beer. I’ve said it before, but beer is totally science, so take a hint from scientists and encourage people to prove you wrong and give you different results from the particular beer experiment in your hand. Any time I’ve spoken with Brewers about their beers, they’re intrigued and open to hearing about what flavours and feelings you get from their brew, so don’t take it upon yourself to decide that there can only be one correct way to experience any given beer. Science, bitch.
4. Understand that craft beer is not the be all and end all of beverages.
The Craft Beer world is amazing, but there are many different worlds our there that are amazing to a lot of people. Let’s talk about Brad again. Maybe he’s crushing a Budweiser. What you may not know is that maybe he’s hesitantly enjoying that Budweiser because last night he dipped into his private scotch collection that he’s been grooming for years and got a little too crazy and just wants something different today. Brad is a genius when it comes to scotch and knows a whole lot more than you, and places a lot of value in scotch rather than beer- but you didn’t know that when you interrupted him and trashed his beer choice. Respect that, appreciate it, and give that Brad some props for having a beer at all. Because he’s a whole lot closer to being persuaded to drink craft beer than a full-on beer hater. Feel me? It is okay for people to not enjoy beer.
5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
I’ve met a lot of people who have been in the beer industry for longer than I’ve been alive, and they are the first ones to reach over and shake hands and make friends and buy rounds, and most of the time they aren’t the ones bashing anyone else. Remember that beer has been around for a pretty long time, and just because you developed a passion for it when it started to become trendy, does not make you an expert. Be forgiving and allow yourself to enjoy a beer without scrutinizing it too carefully, or attend a party without trying to convert someone to craft beer. It’s just beer after all, we’re all going to carry on living our lives after we finish our pints. And don’t get me wrong, if you love craft beer, please indulge in all of the resources and literature and certification programs there are in this world and soak up every piece of information you can. Learning is seriously the best. Just remember why you liked beer in the first place, and allow yourself to take it easy every now and then.
Thats all for now. Feel free to disagree with me, or if you’d like, add to this list. I’m open to discussing with anyone who has an open mind. Let’s try a bit harder to live up to the reputation of the inclusive community that we started out as and are known as, and appreciate the different places and backgrounds that all beer drinkers come from.