Why I Do (and Don’t) Want More People to Like Craft Beer

[Enter obligatory sentence(s) on the growth of craft beer]. With that being the case, I have reasons why I do and don’t want more people to like craft beer. Let’s start with the don’ts — the thoughts people won’t say out loud.

The Unheard of Band Effect

I wasn’t here first. My love of craft beer is still in it’s infancy. This blog that I started in January was my way of trying to embrace and expand my love of the stuff. But I was a part of the movement before the person discovering craft beer today was. And that upsets me, and probably you, a bit. I call it the “unheard of band effect.”

The unheard of band effect is what happens when a band you’ve been listening to for some time suddenly becomes popular. Fun.. Mumford and Sons. M83. [Insert your favorite former unheard of band here]. They become mainstream and what happens? You try to justify how you listened to them for years. You even have some rare EP with a live version of their new single that’s being played on the radio but what happens? No one cares. The band grows, still creating great music, and your roommate who would yell about that noise you used to play now proudly touts a t-shirt with the band on it. You’re left with two options. 1) Abandon the band you’ve been loyal to for years and move onto a different band or 2) sigh, suck it up, and continue listening to them and cheer on their successes.

I’ve straddled that line with bands many times but ultimately I tend to choose option 2. I don’t think this is far from happening with craft beer though. I already see craft beer lovers slowly starting to dabble in other spirits like whiskey. There’s nothing wrong with whiskey (it’s my liquor of choice when I go that route) but I don’t want people who have been with craft beer for years to choose option 1 and move onto a different band. They’ve been loyal to “the cause” of craft beer and their experience is needed while more and more people enter into our niche.

Why I do want more people into craft beer

I don’t really not want more people liking and getting into craft beer. The “unheard of band effect” example above is just some superficial, suppressed emotion that I think a lot of people, me included, have. But we can’t let it get in the way of the expanse of craft beer. Let’s all be option 2 people.

However, what I don’t want is craft beer becoming something that bothers me when I hear people talk about it. Let me explain…

I was at the Nationals game yesterday and the person behind me who “grew up watching baseball” knew “we need to take that dude out of the game” after the starter gave up two runs in through two innings. And the center fielder was not trying since he didn’t lay out on a shortly hit flyball to shallow center when the bases were empty and there were two outs. Chill. 1) They have real names. 2) You don’t pull a starter after giving up two runs in the first two innings. 3) The CF just had a 29-game hit streak snapped, reinvigorated the team over the past month doing so which got them into the playoff hunt, and will most likely win the Gold Glove award. Needless-to-say it only took a couple innings before I was running over to the beer line to fill up on $9 16oz Sam Adams.

I don’t want craft beer being overran with people who think they know beer and what and how it should taste. I don’t even know what it should taste like and I’d like to think I know a little more than the craft beer newbie. That’s what I don’t want. I don’t want to be sitting at a bar and listening to a guy in a pastel polo with crabs on their cloth belt bad mouth a perfectly fine beer. I can imagine it now… “I’m paying $7 for a beer that’s not cold?” “Bartender, there’s too much head on my beer.” “Why am I drinking out of a wine glass?”

This morning I asked for help on this topic on Twitter.

Here are a few responses:

Jeremy Danner, brewer at Boulevard made the best point:

The sarcastic, goat-loving father from the heartland is absolutely right. We don’t want craft beer to become wine. Let’s drink, share and laugh. Cheers.

What do you think? Do you want more people to like craft beer?

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Homebrewing, it’s for people who can’t cook

I can’t cook. Like I really can’t cook. I tried grilling a chicken breast a few weeks ago when my wife was coming home from work late. You know what she came home to? A house full of smoke, dog barking at the blaring smoke detector and me yelling at a pan full of burnt chicken. So why the hell would I think I could brew beer? Must be the hardheadedness I get from my dad.

I had a free weekday, no work and no wife, and saw the homebrewing kit I’ve had for months starring at me. I popped the DVD in and watched the poorly made and poorly instructed training. Went out to the store to get a thermometer and decided to give it a shot. 48 or so Irish Stouts on their way!

Here’s my adventure:

The Setup

Homebrew Setup

Homebrew Setup

After having to do a load of dishes to empty the sink, I sanitized my pot and various equipment using the Easy Clean provided in the kit. I placed everything I could think of out on my island and surrounding countertops. I read and reread my notes and warned a friend who just started homebrewing that I’ll probably be frantically calling him over the next couple hours.

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