One Word Of Advice For The Craft Beer Newbie

Would you just slow down a minute? I'm trying to tell you something.

Look- LOOK WOULD YOU LISTEN? Put your goddamned beer down, and shut up.

Yeah, I know, you really like that IPA.

What? Yes, I've heard of Heady Topper.

Why do you want to go to Portland?

Because it's the beer capital of the United State? [laugh] Oh shut up. Look, shut up, you only just had your first beer that is half way decent. Like just had it, 20 minutes ago. Would you just relax? Thank you.

Yeah, beer is great. Yeah, it's exciting to learn about the hops and the grains and the this and the that, but you know what you got to learn before all of that? Before the shit that doesn't matter? Before the top 10 this, or the fucking Bro's say that or any of that?

No. What? No. Not that at ALL. Patience, dude. That's why I keep telling you to shut up, so you can hear what I'm trying to say.

Yes, I know I'm the furthest thing from sage-like, but I do have SOME wisdom. And that tasty little nugget, that one word, that singular utterance that has taught me the most. Patience. I understand that beer is really exciting, and that you just want to go all in.If anyone gets it, trust me, it's me. Lately though, I've learned more from a slow drink in a quiet place, than I have in all my neckbeard filled beer fests.

Neckbeards. Yeah. It's a term you'll come to learn.

Patience. It's really all I have to offer you. Beer is something that I can see getting excited about in all kinds of different facets, and just like there is a lot to get excited about, there is just as much to sit the fuck down and be patient about. But seeing as You are annoying the shit out of me, I'm just going to focus on the two most important ones. Well, at least important to me.

Like what? Well, one of the first things I learned to be patient with is my consumption. Not just in a "hey, slow down before you get all kinds of shit-faced!" Patient in a more, "hey, why don't you slow down and pay attention to what you're drinking." While I had been drinking for a while, and into craft for a while, the first beer that ever really spoke to me and made me pay attention was Otter Creek's "Stovepipe Porter." As I sat and drank it, with no intention other than enjoying the album I was listening to, the flavors really bloomed and made me stop what I was doing and take my time. With each sip, I let the beer sit in my mouth, rolling over my tongue while I tried to discern all the different flavors I was discovering. I sat with that one pint for nearly an hour, and it still stands as one of the best beers I have ever had.

Yeah, I know it's "only an Otter Creek" but there is more to beer than just drinking it. You'll learn that one day, but that's not what I'm trying to pound into your simple mind.

What album was I listening to? I think it was "Extraordinary Machine."

The last thing I'll tell you about, is-OH MY GO PUT YOUR FUCKING PHONE DOWN AND GET OFF OF BEER ADVOCATE! Beer Advocate is run by a couple of douche bags, and one of them has some wretched wife, and you really should stay far the fuck away from that site. I promise you, it wont do you much good. This though, ironically kind of filters into the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. Hype..but I mean, not HYPE...more...Ugh. Look, I know you see all this big exciting beers, all these rare beers, one-off and all that shit people are clamoring over one other to get their greedy little hands on.

I promise you, the super whaelz you want to get your hands on are very good. BUT...I also promise you that there are other beers available to you that are just as good. I guess that's where patience comes into this one. Spend some time drinking whats around you before you go out and attempt to trade away your first born from some Heady Topper or whatever you nerds are into these days. Besides, that Heady Topper? There are plenty of other easily available DIPAs that are just as good. Seriously, dude, just explore the beers that are available to you locally. I don't mean be the guy who is ALL LOCAL, ALL THE TIME! But your local beer store will have a pretty good selection, I bet. Play with that first. Find the flavors you like, find your style preference, hell, find a brewery that seems to play to your own tastes. but take your time doing it. Beer is always going to be there. There is no need to jump in liver first, buying up and consuming it all in one fell swoop. Beer is a really fun thing to discover if you just slow the fuck down and show a little restraint.

Get off those forums, and calm yourself. I promise, it may be some time not in the near future, but you will be able to come across any of those super raer beerz, you'll try it, and wonder "that's it?"

But in order to do that, you would have needed to stop fidgeting and be able to actually listen. But you didn't which explains why your stupid-ass is paying $40 for some bottle at a bar that is half that on the shelf.

What? No. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. So fucking what if it's 11% ABV. Higher ABV is not equal to better beer. Neither is higher price. Neither is IBUs. And lastly, neither is a line of dorks outside the brewery at 8 in the morning...But again, that kind of stuff is a lesson for another day.

This post is the second part of what will be multiple essays from a variety of Mid-Atlantic bloggers looking to offer one word of advice for those of us who might be new to "craft" beer. Check in with Oliver from Literature and Libation tomorrow to see what he thinks.

Other posts in this collaboration:
Doug from Baltimore Bistros and Beer on "Craft"
Oliver from Literature and Libation on "Reciprocate"
Andrew from Das Ale House on "Drink"

Bryan from This Is Why I’m Drunk  on "Live"
Josh from Short On Beer on "Journey"
Liz from Naptown Pint on "Relax"


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