November 12, 2012
Real Men Don't Drink Craft Beer
A traditional man rages against the machine that is Kraftbierkulturkampf:
I go to a restaurant in Brooklyn and the sommelier des bières saunters over to the table to discuss Estrella Damm Daura and König Ludwig Weissbier. I stop by a pizza chain in Mount Laurel, N.J., and my best friend spends 15 minutes discussing the marvels of Castelain Two Brothers Diversey & Lill(e) with the waiter.
Then the maître de la Jersey bière appears out of nowhere and rhapsodizes about Goose Island Matilda and Stillwater Existent for another 15 minutes. The subject eventually turns to Southern Tier Iniquity and Flying Dog Underdog Atlantic Lager, as it so often will in pizza chains. Meanwhile, I sit there, meekly sipping my Diet Coke. I am an outcast at life's rich fest.
I used to be able to hold up my end in barroom conversations, because I knew a lot about sports. "What'd you think of the Cowboys running a double reverse on fourth and one Sunday?" I would ask. "Did you know that Barry Bonds has a career on-base percentage of .444?" "OK, which brothers hold the record for most career home runs? If you said 'the DiMaggios,' you guessed wrong." But that was back in the day when people in bars talked about sports. Now they talk about beer. Craft beer.
Lately I seem incapable of escaping from the kraftbierkulturkampf. I go joy riding to admire the autumn foliage and get stuck in an hourlong traffic jam just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Why? Craft-beer crowds on the way to Oktoberfest. The martini lounge directly underneath my office folded its tent and has now morphed into a classy craft-beer establishment. My son hits me up for a couple of benjamins so he can buy his friends a round of Obermeister Faust Dummkopf at some glitzy craft-beer saloon.
Last Sunday, on a trip to Philadelphia, I happened upon a local magazine called Philly Beer Scene. It looked like Vanity Fair, with such riveting articles as "Viva La Fungi: Beer's Most Important Ingredient" and " 'Beeradelphia': Finally!" I want people to cut this out right away. I don't want to pull into a small town in the nation's breadbasket and come upon a magazine called Peoria Beer Scene or Redneck Riviera Beer Scene or Coeur d'Alene Beer Scene. I want the madness to stop.
I had tears running down my face.
Posted by Cassandra at November 12, 2012 12:15 PM
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...the sommelier des bières saunters over to the table to discuss Estrella Damm Daura and König Ludwig Weissbier.
Sure that wasn't Estrella damn Daura? Just bring me my Bitburger, and go away. Don't come back except and until it's time to bring me another Bit. I'm here with my lady, not to chew the fat with staff, no matter how officious or precious he might think he is.
Posted by: E Hines at November 12, 2012 02:02 PM
On the other hand, note the efficiency: in order to be able to discuss sports at the bar, you had to devote the whole weekend to watching sports. In order to know how to discuss beer at the bar, all you have to do is have another beer at the bar.
Posted by: Grim at November 12, 2012 02:53 PM
Much like anything else, there's a certain percentage of people who want to fetish-ize an otherwise simple pleasure. I put little stock in people who can tell you they can tell the difference between copper wire and $200 gold plated audio cables, or between a $.50 cup of joe and a tall black Americano, or between and IPA from a major brewery and one made in some guy's basement. Sure, I will bet there IS a difference in the latter two pairings (physics tells us the Monster cable guys are full of old shoes, as my mother would say). But honestly, is that something to be prideful in? Your beer-nose?
I like beers that are light on the bitterness (hops) and a bit sweet. Do I have any prejudices? Sure... I like a good Guinness draft now and again (yes, I know they spell it "draught"... they also misspell simple words like "color" and "program", so I don't care). But this "microbrewery" nonsense is just another form of snobbery that I can't abide.
Posted by: MikeD at November 12, 2012 03:25 PM
I like Guinness on tap too. I went into a roadhouse the other day called "The Blind Pig," and they had it. I ordered one, and they asked me if I wanted the mug chilled. The right answer was "no," I gather.
So, you know, the guy has a point after a fashion. I just admire the efficiency of the learning process.
Posted by: Grim at November 12, 2012 03:43 PM
I just admire the efficiency of the learning process.
But is that something worth learning? Sherlock Holmes couldn't name the planets of our solar system; he had better uses for those brain cells. So have I than for learning the subtleties of beer. I'm a simple man, with simple tastes. Just gimme my Bit.
Posted by: E Hines at November 12, 2012 03:58 PM
Was sports trivia worth learning? The point of both was the social interaction -- as you know, from the Politics, Aristotle says that man is a social and political animal. So in a way either one is worthy, because it's an exercise, in a rational way, of something essential to your nature as a human being.
Posted by: Grim at November 12, 2012 04:09 PM
Guinness... We have a horse that will drink no brew unless it's a Guinness //clears throat// 'Draught', thankee.
I'm almost as picky. The beer has to be, ah, ok... scratch that assertion.
While I have my druthers, I'm not very persnickety when it comes to beer. Unless a refusal to drink anything light, lite, or low-cal is considered to be picky. The offer of any brew of such dubious origin will elicit from me a terse sentence beginning with an expletive and ending with a NO, immediately followed by a thank you...
A genteel southern upbringing, eh what.
P.S. In the spirit of me ancestors, I always give thanks to each beer I slay.
Posted by: bthun at November 12, 2012 04:48 PM
You're a boss, Mr. Hun.
Posted by: Grim at November 12, 2012 04:56 PM
//Looks left, then right, no sign of Walkin' Boss...//
Ah yep, that's the ticket. I'm the boss of all I survey :)
Posted by: bthun at November 12, 2012 05:04 PM
It's far more worthwhile than knowing anything about professional sports, unless you or yours are playing them: You can actually enjoy the experience of a good beer or coffee directly instead of voyeuristically watching someone else have a fantastic time.
Anything can be turned to snobbery; decrying snobbery itself is a popular a form of macho braggadocio these days:
Ta HECK with that high-falutin' 'capp-o-chino' - gimme a 50 cent coffee, black 'n hot - cuz I'm a REAL MAN, not one of them lah-tay sippin' sissy boys.
The worse it tastes the more of a man you are for drinking it, I guess.
Of course, if you're at a pizza joint with a friend/date who doesn't speak craft beer, it's rude to carry on a 15-minute conversation about it with the waiter. Knock that nonsense off.
Posted by: Tom at November 12, 2012 09:18 PM
And for what it's worth, Guinness is a pretty low-cal beer - more proof that God loves us, I say.
Posted by: Tom at November 12, 2012 09:20 PM
I actually enjoy trying craft beers, though I have to say that most are not all that wonderful. But I still thought the article was hilarious.
I'm kind of an IPA gal, though I also like red ales.
Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2012 09:40 PM
For what it's worth, my tastes run to the ends of the spectrum: I like rich IPAs, and thick stouts.
But really, you know, I like beer. You can slap a Budweiser in front of me and I'll be happy to drink it, so long as more are on the way after.
Posted by: Grim at November 12, 2012 09:56 PM
The article was funny, and I know just how he feels. I've felt that way about sports all my life. I never watched them, and once my own football and wrestling days (which I loved) were over, I stopped caring about sports altogether, but it's impossible to avoid. I've spent hours at a time completely failing to understand in-depth, statistics-laden discussions of NBA player picking strategies. (No, really, one of the guys ran a blog all about statistical analysis of NBA picks.) By design, I usually buy the beer, so not all is lost.
All that said, end of the day, if beer is called for, the only thing I won't drink is gin.
Posted by: Tom at November 12, 2012 10:22 PM
I've felt that way about sports all my life. I never watched them, and once my own football and wrestling days (which I loved) were over, I stopped caring about sports altogether, but it's impossible to avoid. I've spent hours at a time completely failing to understand in-depth, statistics-laden discussions of NBA player picking strategies.
You sound like my Dad :)
He played football in HS and college, but I grew up in a household in which neither of the two males had much interest in watching sports.
Posted by: Cassandra at November 13, 2012 05:20 AM
Tom makes two excellent points:
Anything can be turned to snobbery; decrying snobbery itself is a popular a form of macho braggadocio these days
And that is a fact as well. Fetishizing simplicity is pretty much the same vanity turned on its head. Personally, I will drink coffee. Be it Turkish, diner, what's in the pot in the office, or (if someone else is buying) an expensive coffee from Starbucks or other coffee house. I will not, however, pay $5 for what is essentially hot water poured over ground and roasted beans. But that's not because I am a snob, I'm just cheap.
All that said, end of the day, if beer is called for, the only thing I won't drink is gin.
That's because you're a man of good taste, and gin is the devil's paint thinner.
Posted by: MikeD at November 13, 2012 08:37 AM
My taste buds are pretty useless, so much of what I like and dislike is based on texture - smooth and creamy is good, slimy is bad; hence ice cream is better than over-boiled brussels sprouts.
My first favorite "beer" was actually Brador malt liquor, made by Molson - I was in college close to the St. Laurence River. 7.4 or so alcohol was what I liked, actually. Moved to Houston - Coors Light had just been invented - it was light squared to me. I started drinking too much wine, then scotch, and finally 25 years ago, nothing.
Beer? Whatever. I want ice cream.
Posted by: tomg51 at November 14, 2012 01:03 PM
or chilled amaretto d'sorona (I think that's right - great texture)
Posted by: tomg51 at November 14, 2012 01:07 PM