This is an important post. I’m tired of experience, discernment and real knowledge being mistaken for ‘snobbery’, and people considering all opinions to be equal and all beer knowledge to be subjective – they simply are NOT. For many years a debate has raged in the craft beer community about what constitutes beer snobbery, and what does not. In issue #61 of BeerAdvocate magazine, the Alström Bros define it in the following terms, and I comment on each.
1. You think your palate is better than everyone else’s.
OK, my palate is not necessarily better than EVERYONE else’s, but it IS better than most peoples’. Here’s why. If you have a multi-continent, 30 odd-year, multi-perspective experience of drinking beer, then by definition your palate IS more developed than someone that started drinking good beer last week. This is part of a larger problem where experience is shunned. Why? In what world is experience in drinking beer NOT relevant to commenting on beer?
2. You put others down for their beer choices.
OK, no need to put someone down if they fancy a Bud Light Lime from time to time, since quite frankly, from time to time I might grab a ‘less than amazing beer’, BUT a consistent choice of undoubtedly inferior beer DOES allow me to make judgements about your beer knowledge and your appreciation of beer. Why sugarcoat it?
3. You criticize and dismiss beers you have not tried.
OK, but with experience you find that an increasingly small number of beers actually DO surprise you. With more and more experience, it becomes LESS likely that a prejudgment is wrong. I actually agree with this statement, BUT my experience suggests that I am seldom wrong.
4. You can’t refuse a beer which you deem inferior without being snarky.
I agree (if you can define ‘snarky’). Well, I agree as long as you are not in a craft beer environment. For example I can happily turn down Bud Light after Bud Light without comment at a neighbors Superbowl party, but I’m not going to reject craft beers that I deem inferior without comment in beer geek situations.
5. You feel compelled to correct people because you think they’re wrong.
Let be CLEAR. If it’s a matter of opinion, then I agree. If it it’s a matter of fact, then I 100% disagree. For example, when people continue to call beers over 4% ‘session beers‘, then I am going to continue to correct them. I will continue to be correct, and they will continue to be wrong. Subjective matters are very different to factual matters.
6. You think breweries are overrated just because they’ve become popular or successful.
Difficult one, this. Just because a brewery has become popular obviously doesn’t mean that they have suddenly become less ‘good’, but there is a big problem here. The sudden popularity of craft beer has brought literally 1000’s of ignorant, uninformed people into the arena. So, for example, if Dogfish Head DOES actually make a crappy beer, far too many people will fail to deliver the criticism they deserve because they have insufficient knowledge and they think they cannot do any wrong. In short, don’t confuse MY knowledge with others’ ignorance, or the fact that success has brought with it a multitude of ‘fanboys’.
7. You feel the need to defend yourself after reading this.
This is a stupid statement. All you need to do is read what I have written above to understand why I feel that way.