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Pardon me, do you have any absurdly obscure beers?

I’ve read a lot lately about the beer snob rearing its ugly head. What is the beer snob? You know that guy/gal who makes sure you know that they know more than you do about beer. Which may or may not be true. You find this same phenomena (maybe the same person) in other sub-cultures like music, spirits, fashion, homebrewing, cars, and more. Yeah, I’m looking at you hipster.

When you hang out with a beer snob you cant just serve them a beer. You need to produce a beer list and then sit through an over-thought decision followed by a dissertation on why your beer sucks. Do you know the beer snob? Probably. Is it you? Maybe. Is it me? I hope not.

I found myself approaching this slippery slope recently at a friend’s party. I brought over a decent six pack that I pulled from stock in my fridge and a bomber I picked up at the store. A mix of hops, stouts, and Belgians. These were a house warming gift so they were moved to a secret fridge. From there, I was led to the party stash and found one cooler filled with Stella and Bud Light. Next to that was a stash of North Coast Blue Star, Lefthand Polestar and North Coast Scrimshaw. I momentarily panicked. No over-hopped or barrel aged beers in the bunch! Nothing but malt! Fortunately, I realized this wasn’t a “problem” but rather an opportunity to drink some different styles and talk malt with a friend that sees hops as an afterthought instead of the focus. I really enjoyed the Blue Star wheat. It was simple, refreshing, and very session-able. I will look for it again in the future.

I’ve tried to embrace being a beer nerd without letting the snob element creep into my passion. I like good beer and will drink it when I can but there’s no reason to turn my nose up at a Miller Lite (just focus on that triple-hopped marketing piece) when having a good time with friends or family. If you can’t have a good time without a $2/oz beer then maybe you should put down the bottle. Be a nerd that appreciates the craftsmanship, history, and passion of craft made beers but don’t be a dick about it.

Oh and be aware that often the poor beer snob isn’t self-aware enough to see how pretentious they’re acting. It’s like that Grey Poupon commercial where you pull up to an old-money Rolls and ask for some mustard except you pull up to a banged up ’91 Civic with the “I brake for Pliny” bumper sticker. Perception is different than reality. I don’t think this actually makes sense but the imagery makes me giggle.

In sum, follow the wise words of Ice Cube: check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

Mike Stuart

Craft beer enthusiast and hombrew dabbler. Part-time writer, sometimes funny.

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