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"

2 comments:

The Sessions #90: I'm Liable To Bite Your Goddamn Ear Off.



Did you catch the fight last night? Oh man it was a knock down, drag out, dirty fight. Hipster Brewfus, a relative new-comer, took on The Beer Industry. Man...it was bloody.

In the first round, Hipster bobbed and weaved around his competitor, trying to get a feel for the speed and strength of his opponent. A few years ago, this fight would have been a bit easier to call from the beginning, but it's plain to see that Beer has certainly bulked up the last couple years, and we really had no idea how this would end. A few moments of dancing around the outside went by before Brewfus moved in for a quick jab at mediocre breweries. Oh, this is shaping up to be good- Hipster balances on his right foot, ducking the slow, lazy blows, and moves in deftly, his words hit before Beer even knows whats happening

So this is what our culture has come to? You brew a few decent batches of beer, and you think you've got what it takes to step to the plate among those who have earned their right to be here? You've got friends who tell you the beer is amazing, but in the same breath will tell you Yuengling is one of the best beers.

Yeah, I understand all brewers have to start somewhere, but you' re bringing absolutely nothing new to that plate. Oh, you make an IPA? Fantastic, it's half as good as any of the other 900 IPAs that are on the shelf right now. But your brother-in-law said it was one of the best beers he's ever had? You my friend, have an issue of people not being honest with you, or even knowing what the fuck they are talking about.

In this make believe bubble we are dealing with now, we have breweries popping up at an alarming rate. In the words of the great George Carlin, "there is bound to be a few winners, and a whole lot of losers."

And you know what? I'm rooting for the losers.


You got stars in your eyes, son. You see the explosion of craft beer, and you want in on it. I don't blame you, it seems like an easy cash grab, but you simply lack the skills and imagination to have any sort of impact.

Christ, that looked like it hurt. Brewfus danced back, and waited for the sound of the bell, not wanting to exhaust himself right off the bat.

At the start of the second round, Beer came out swinging!

More is better! You have to support local breweries! You love beer, you have to support it!

Beer certainly caught Brewfus off-guard, but he quickly composed himself, and while leading with his left hand, went in for the body...

Nope, that's where you are wrong, more IS NOT always better. Would you rather have 1000 mediocre breweries with a whole lot of the same, or 500 breweries who know what they're doing, and can make beers worth getting excited for?

And local breweries? Yeah, I'm all for them, when they are deserving of being supported. I'm not going to blindly pump my money into a business, just because they are down the road from me. That's just blind stupidity. I give my money to companies that deserve it, to companies that have shown hey make a product worth supporting, be it down the street, or across the continent. See that shelf there at your local beer store? That's your competition. You have to pit your 4 shitty, boring beers against a veritable plethora of choices of styles, flavors, and quality. You think you really have what it takes? Yeah, you're local, but you certainly aren't captivating.

I love beer, and as a consumer, I don't have to do shit other than support my preferences, and reward those who make a superior product, with my dollars.


Brewfus really put his body into those last few blows, and sent Beer sprawling. But just as soon as it hit the ground, Beer was right back up, reeling back, and about to lay it on Brewfus. Before any of that beating could happen, the bell rang, sounding the end of the second round. With a shit-eating grin, Brewfus glanced over at Beer and blew it a kiss, taunting it. Beer really needed to change it's approach, because it's became blatantly obvious, Brewfus was going for blood.

At the beginning of the third round, Brewfus hung back, wanting to see what Beer was going to do. With a speed we hadn't seen, Beer danced around Brewfus and smacked him with a hard right hook across the face...

I got a legion of bloggers, motherfucker. I got bloggers all over the world espousing the merits of how awesome I am! AND YOU ARE A BLOGGER! You dedicate your time, money, and energy to ME, to making sure I can be the best. How are you gonna start beating on me?

Finding solace against the ropes, getting out of Beers barrage of hits, Brewfus saw the blood dripping down his eye. Beer had drawn first blood, and had Brewfus confused.

Stumbling back across the mat, Brewfus went on the defense...

How am I going to start beating on you? Easily! Look at the amount of bloggers there are, and then look at the quality of writing coming from them. 

Brewfus seemed to be getting his bearings back as he pivoted and went back to throwing actual punches...

How many motherfuckers out there are just writing reviews? And how many of those reviews are painfully boring to read. You aren't engaging me, you aren't doing a damn thing to keep my attention. I have no reason to read you. A beer review? Edgy. Because there aren't literally thousands of reviews on any other rating site about whatever shelf beer you had last night. You want to talk about mouth-feel? Fuck your mouth-feel. How does the beer look? Who gives a shit? You are so painfully boring. Do something else, anything else. Show me why I should get excited for this beer. Tell me a story about this beer. Do a million other things than write your monosyllabic review of this beer that I could care less about. And while we are at it, step up your writing game. Use your imagination, use a thesaurus, use the plethora of information available at the tips of fingers to do something to make your writing unique. Have a voice. When you can write 1,000 words, and not have anything to say, there's a huge disconnect. 

With laser focus, and gritted teeth, Brewfus wasn't letting up...

And what the FUCK is the deal with crowd sourcing your Beer Blogger Conference vacation? Look, I went to the Beer Bloggers Conference in 2013, and as educational as it was, it was a vacation. To be more specific, a 3 day blur of booze, cheese, and a riotously good time. But I wouldn't ever have the lack of self-awareness and tact to ask OTHER people to send me across the country to get drunk. It's not for a "good cause" it's because you obviously didn't manage your money in a manner that allowed you the privilege to take the trip. It is not some sort of right. It's something you have to earn, something YOU have to make happen through your own means. The thought of you begging other people for money for this frivolous expense infuriates me to no end, and fuels my unrelenting attack on you.

You are shameless in your panhandling. And at the end of the day, you have nothing to offer to anyone who actually funds your trip. And the worst part is; THERE ARE PEOPLE FUNDING YOUR TRIP. I have almost as little respect for them, as I do for you. What do you have to offer to the people pouring money in your pocket? If you learned anything from your other trips, your blog would have improved by now, and it hasn't. Your words are still simplistic, and you still haven't offered anything to the world of beer blogging worth getting even slightly excited for.

Regardless of my feelings, you'll reach your goal, and people will call me some terrible things. Let them, because I can rest with the knowledge that when push came to shove, I knew I couldn't make the trip, and bowed out gracefully. I didn't make a mockery of both myself, and beer bloggers, by begging for money. Obviously, you haven't heard "No" enough times in your life. You have no humility. You got a free fucking ride last year, and what? You just thought "Well shit, I'll do it again?"

Fuck. You.


You don't deserve this, you haven't earned this, and all I can do is hope for your failure in this endeavor, Active Beer Geek. Maybe you can take the money you earn, and invest in some classes about fiscal responsibility. And then perhaps learn how to set a goal, and achieve it through hard work, and a bit of frugality.

You know what most people do when they cant afford something they want (and not need)? Go without it. Your preponderance shows that you are obviously above the means of us normal people.


At this point the crowd was on their feet as Beer swayed stupidly, and collapsed onto itself in a puddle on the mat.

Brewfus didn't wait around, and as the count neared 10, and the final bell rang, he had already tossed off his gloves, and disappeared, headed back to his room.

You know, we all thought that was the last we would see of him, until he stormed in on the post-fight press conference, grabbing the microphone, and jabbing an angry finger at the crowd. What he said, pretty much took the breath right out of the audience.

"Look, you all seem to live in this happy-go-lucky word, where nothing bad is ever made, all the beer is good beer, and everyone should praise everything. Well fuck that. That is not a world I want to live in, and I will happily burn any bridge to that world that I am connected to. Too many of you are full of shit, and you're sitting there gripping your phone, laying on praise where it doesn't deserve to have the faintest hint of existence. You ride these breweries dicks hard, but we all know what you want. What you've been secretly hoping for the whole time. Probably one of the reasons you got into this in the first place; free shit. I suppose I can't argue your logic though. If you jerk anything off long enough, you're going to get whats coming to you.

Apparently I missed the memo though, because I've learned that with a whole lot of no hard work, a half-assed video, nothing to offer, and an upturned palm, you can get pretty far.

The only way things get better, is when you get rid of all the bullshit that is plaguing it. But the craft beer world seems to think that piling it on instead, is the answer."

After that, he dropped the proverbial mic, and walked out the way he came, leaving us all slack-jawed, and stupid-eyed. I can not wait for the rematch.

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