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How much of a beer snob have you become?

  • ozbuc Dec 4, 2008 03:25 PM
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So were on our way for the regular friday night restaurant visit, the wife suggest a few places and I say no because all they have is Guinness or Sam Adams. With the large selection of great micros and brewpubs some of my old favorites are now kind of boring. Am I in danger of becoming a beer elitist ? Will some of my other old favorites like Anchor Steam be next on the boring list? Should I drink a few cases of mega lagers to reset my beer compass?
This beer brain needs to know.

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  1. When I go out, I try to avoid places that don't have something other than Macros. That doesn't make me a beer snob, it makes me someone that prefers not to spend money on something I don't like. If I criticize you for drinking Bud, then I'm a beer snob.
    I can live with Sam Adams. They make some fine brews. I could even drink Michelob's Amber Bock in a pinch. But when told Bud, Bud Light, and Miller Light, I'm probably going somewhere else.

    35 Replies
    1. re: Bobfrmia

      "If I criticize you for drinking Bud, then I'm a beer snob." - Why ? If I think that Bud is one the worst beers and I would critize somebody for drinking it it only means that I want to have a certain level of quality. That doesn't make you a beer snob. It only shows that you don't drink any crap.

      1. re: honkman

        If you refer to a beer as crap, then I believe you've taken a few steps down the road to snob status.

        On a purely practical level, the late Michael Jackson used to say (more or less) that you're not going to convince a Bud drinker to try other beers by calling him an idiot.

        1. re: Jim Dorsch

          Aren't there any beers (or any kind of drink or food) you wouldn't call crap ? Wouldn't you call for example Taco Hell crap if there are many good Mexican restaurants/taco shops close by ? Same with beer - It is so easier today to get easily excellent beer from all over the world, why settle down for a low quality product as Bud and why is everybody afraid to be not PC by naming something as crap if it is crap ? And I wouldn't call somebody an idiot because he is drinking Bud but I would make him aware that he is wasting calories on some awful beer and that there many bettre options. Life is too short to waste it with bad food.

          1. re: honkman

            I guess my point is that people have different tastes, and perhaps more important, not everyone cares about what we care about. A lot of people automatically drink Bud, and that's what they drink. Who am I to tell them they should change?

            In my mind, yes, there is crap. But I don't feel compelled to announce that to the person drinking it.

            Regarding the taco situation, every place has its merits. E.g., the taco chain is fast (hopefully), cheap and predictable (and I rather like it).

            1. re: Jim Dorsch

              I understand that people have different tastes but at the same time there shouldn't be any problem if I just voice my opinion to somebody that they waste calories on something which is pretty much on the same taste level as water (and actually water tastes better than Bud). But I guess it is more a difference between Europe and the US that here everybody is most afraid to be always PC and not to discuss anything whereas in Europe it is part of your daily life and culture that you have interesting (often heated) discussions about a lot of things (including food, drinks (order a Bud in Germany decent pub and it wouldn't take more than 10 minutes before would make comments to you about your chioce) and politics) but at the same time even after the most heated discussions/arguments you would never take it personally and would have a great drink/meal afterwards.

              1. re: honkman

                can you reconcile this statement: "I understand that people have different tastes..." and this :"actually water tastes better than Bud" - because while i happen to agree with you about Bud, i cannot reconcile them. does bud "actually" taste better than water? not to someone who likes Bud.

            2. re: honkman

              Crap is in the eye of the be(er)holder. Who is anyone to tell someone else that their tastes are wrong and that a beer they enjoy, they should not be enjoying?

              I like to keep an open mind about industrial lager - it has its place and time, if you keep your head in the sand, you will never have a positive experience with mass produced lagers. Keep an open mind, and someday, it just may surprise you that a positive experience can be had drinking a lightly flavored beer.

              1. re: LStaff

                On those rare occasions when I have an industrial lager my experience is typically the same as when I eat Kentucky Fried Chicken. On fist sip/bite I think - this isn't so bad - and by the end I'm thinking - this is terrible.

                1. re: tofuburrito

                  I haven't had KFC in a long time, but recall liking it. A few months ago I drank a bottle of Bud, and I liked that, too, although I confess I was drinking it to make a point, and perhaps this influenced my attitude.

                2. re: LStaff

                  I'm going to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there. Try Bud warm and tell me you have a positive experience with it.

                  To me, keeping an open mind about industrial light lager is like keeping an open mind about Kraft Singles or Wonder Bread. They are all products made for people who don't like the taste of real beer, cheese, and bread.

                  If we look at how beer, cheese, and bread were produced historically, and from what ingredients, then how can we conclude otherwise? Beer made with rice and/or corn making of a large percentage of the grain bill, in place of barley malt, is made that way so it has less flavor - this is the role of adjuncts in brewing: to add fermentable sugar without adding flavor.

                  I agree with you that it's not our place to tell people their tastes are wrong, but I do know that craft beer bar owners are often successful in weaning their clientele off of BMC and getting them into more flavorful craft beers.

                  Obviously Bud is a well-made beer, with a very precise flavor. Clearly it's not trying to be something that it's not. But as beer fans, we can help people experience some of the broader range of flavors out there.

                  1. re: Josh

                    "Beer made with a large rice/corn element is made that way so it has less flavor - this is the role of adjuncts in brewing."

                    No, that's not a universal truth. It CAN be made that way but using corn/rice is not always with the expressed purpose of reducing flavor. The purpose of corn and rice is to add fermentables. Besides, some really fine beers on both sides of the Atlantic use and have used (for 100+ years) corn or rice adjunct. What sets the _crappy_ adjunct beers apart is the _amount_ of adjunct used...as much as 50% or more in some American beers. In that case, yes there will be a reduction in flavor and body. I believe that Fuller's uses both corn adjunct and sugars in their beers, and they are certainly not lacking in flavor or body.
                    Basically, the micro industry mantra that good beers aren't or can't be made with corn or rice is just more marketing hype. And just so this isn't perceived as a bias of any sort, I reiterate that I am a big fan of the micro movement and have supported it from the start. But they are sometimes as guilty of B.S. as the bigger breweries.

                    1. re: The Professor

                      I amended my original comments. I knew when I wrote that someone would correct me. ;-)

                      Belgian beers use candi sugar for the same purpose. Using adjuncts isn't bad per se, as for some styles it's the only way to reach higher levels of alcohol. It's using them in place of flavorful ingredients that's the issue.

                      1. re: Josh

                        No argument with you there.
                        I don't know what the percentage of rice is in Budweiser (I'd be interested to find out), but I have gotten it firsthand that the corn adjunct in some other American light lagers is half (and in a few cases, more than half) of the grist. The beers made in that manner certainly _are_ lacking, but continue to cater to what is still the biggest majority of the beer buying public. BUT...That's sure to change since many beer drinkers today have never had to experience a lack of quality choices, and I suspect that these days it is more common for many first time beer drinkers' first taste to be something of higher quality than what was the 'norm' in the US for 60 years. It is an interesting time for the beer industry now that the status quo has been challenged by the new brewers with their now firm foothold.

                  2. re: LStaff

                    Count me as a person who likes both country and western. I have absolutely no problem drinking a BMC, and I also very much appreciate Good Beer. This past weekend, one night I was drinking tremens, some dry hopped saison via cask, aventinus, and a bevy of brews from local NYC breweries. The next night I had about 12 bud lights. I was perfectly happy both nights.

                    1. re: jgg13

                      Were you perfectly happy when you started on the bud lights, or only after 12?

                      1. re: Bobfrmia

                        Heh.

                        I really dont mind the macrolagers, I don't see why people say they're so offensive tasting, given that the whole point is that they don't taste like much at all.

                        I also have no problem eating Big Macs, even though I much prefer a $18 burger at a local high end resto. I'm fine slumming it or riching it up

                        1. re: jgg13

                          I would agree that they aren't really offensive. If i'm really thirsty, I can down a Bud Light and find it refreshing. I just don't consider one when I'm in the mood to drink beer. Everything has its place.

                          1. re: Bobfrmia

                            I was originally going to make a joke along the "what I have when I'm having more than one" lines, but the reality is that quantity doesn't really affect my decisions :) It has a lot more to do with where I am and what I'm doing ... not going to get my nose out of joint if I'm at a ballgame, some wild party, a dive bar, etc ... and OTOH I'm not going to try ordering a Colt 45 at a beer bar :)

                            I suppose more telling would be "what do I have at home". When it's just us, we drink The Good Stuff (and/or our homebrew which typically unfortunately isn't generally The Good Stuff, but ....). Now tonight, we're having some folks over to watch the ballgame ... well, it could be either way and probably will end up a little of both - basically everyone coming over is of a similar mind to me so it just depends on everyone's whims on what they pick up on the way over.

                            1. re: jgg13

                              You don't actually understand beer until you've learned to enjoy a Schlitz while watching a football game. It's that simple.

                              Then you can go back to your lambics and doppels and trippels and hefe-weissens knowing they're a choice, not a psychological escape.

                              (not directed at anyone in particular)

                              1. re: blair_houghton

                                And here I thought that experience and knowledge mattered.

                                1. re: blair_houghton

                                  so one (meaning me) cannot understand beer until we share your tastes in both beer and sports?

                                  1. re: thew

                                    Reminds me of the jocks I knew in college who would derisively sneer at Guinness while demanding "real beer", e.g. Bud/Miller/Coors.

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      Those damn Alpha Betas

                                    2. re: thew

                                      or rather you cannot understand my post until you read it as a suggestion to try something once, not to fall in love with it

                                      1. re: blair_houghton

                                        I hate football. Is there another sporting event that would serve as an appropriate substitute?

                                        1. re: Josh

                                          Sorry, Josh, looks like you're doomed to never "understand beer".

                                          I know how you feel, I once saw a football game (NY Titans vs. Buffalo in the last game ever played at the Polo Grounds) but that was a dozen or so years before my last Schlitz (mid-1970's, stopped into some bar in central Massachusetts where a group called The Deadly Nightshade were playing to a hippie-ish crowd drinking longneck bottles of Schlitz. Who were we to not conform?)

                                          But I doubt if that counts...

                                          1. re: JessKidden

                                            I kind of think I know where he’s coming from with the “football and beer” comment (although I don’t think he meant it in the literal sense). I made a post about wine a few weeks ago that was sort of related. To me there’s an “Anglo” approach to wine and a “Continental” approach; the former having leanings toward connoisseurship and the latter being an appreciation at a simpler level. Both can be valid and fulfilling experiences I think.

                                            Thanks

                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                              Well, it was a ridiculous statement. When one follows a statement with, "It's that simple" it then shouldn't need qualifications, explanations and cautions not to take it literally . So, one reaps what they sow - snarky comments result in snarky comebacks (especially on the 'net).

                                              IF the point was not to "understand beer" but "understand the dominant view of beer in America" ("American beer culture" as it were), well, so what? I think most folks on the various beer sites (who are overwhelmingly buyers of that tiny 4% of US beer that's craft beer + the small percentage of "good beer" than makes up imports to the US) understand quite well both "beer" and "US (majority) beer culture". We also happen to reject the latter viewpoint. Some militantly (that tends to fade as one ages- especially if the availability of craft beer increases at the same time), other with a sort of bemused "benign neglect" (to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan- a Ballantine XXX Ale drinker, IIRC).

                                              1. re: JessKidden

                                                it is that simple. but i have been around long enough to know that no matter how simple you make it, you will have to explain it to everyone who thinks they know better, and gets caught at it.

                                          2. re: Josh

                                            curling or hurling.

                                      2. re: blair_houghton

                                        Most of the dedicated Schlitz drinkers I knew used the beer more for a "pyschological escape" then you will ever find with micro beer drinkers who most often actually drink beer for taste rather than the effect...

                                        As for there being something about sitting in your socks on a Sunday and cracking a bad beer open and watching some pig skin Im all about that. Although Im happy to mix up the beer choices some (just as likely to be enjoying a growler of Gordon Biersch as a Miller High Life or something). Although I just cant see myself sipping on a lambic while watching a game.

                                        1. re: Insidious Rex

                                          We all might be surprised at the true motivations of beer drinkers. (Of course, none of us really knows.) I have to believe there are more than a few BMC drinkers that enjoy what they're drinking, and not just for the buzz. And I also expect there's a sizable contingent of micro drinkers that, to varying degrees, justify their overindulgence by saying they're drinking all that beer for the flavor.

                                          And I agree with you about lambic and football games.

                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                            I have a friend who honestly likes Bud more than just about anything he's had (he's softening a bit). Despite what that Craft Wars movie (or whatever it was called) demonstrated w/ their blind taste test, he would know immediately if you didn't hand him a Bud. He rarely (unlike myself) drinks to get drunk.

                                          2. re: Insidious Rex

                                            Last season I was drinking a Dogfish Head Raison D'extra when the first game started. Half a series in and Tom Brady goes down for the season. I'm going back to the High Life this opening day.

                        2. re: honkman

                          Snob is defined as a person regarded as arrogant and annoying. If you tell me what I should or shouldn't like, you're probably arrogant,and you are damn sure annoying.
                          If you ask my opinion of what your drinking, I'll glady give it you.
                          There's a big difference.

                      2. I try to tell myself I don't want to become like those wine snobs, but I've notice inadvertantly I'm slowly becoming more snobbish. Like when my friends suggest bars to go to for happy hour or for a friday or saturday night, I'm always selfishly pushing for the spots that have good beers on tap (not the typical Anchor, Fat Tire, etc., but some Lagunitas or better). I guess I need to try to remember that I'm hanging out with folks that generally aren't beer geeks, and they probably care about other factors besides the tap list when choosing a venue.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: shellshock24

                          It's not snobbish to seek a place that has something interesting. Most of those places also have something more mainstream for your friends.

                          1. re: shellshock24

                            It's probably an East Coast/West Coast thing but I would be happy as a clam if I was able to order Anchor or Fat Tire at any random bar; the same goes for Sierra Nevada.
                            It would be like me being upset when I can only get something from the Brooklyn Brewery or from Blue Point Brewery
                            As the long as the place has something other than bud/miller/coors, I'll be ok.

                          2. I am at a point in my life where I really can't drink more than one or two in an evening without feeling absolutely horrible the next day. So, like you, I make them count. I rediscovered Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout last week - hadn't had it in years. Yum.

                            1. I like to think that I've moved past beer snob a while ago and have matured into a beer geek. Snobs are often times the poseurs who are only drinking craft beer to be trendy, or criticize others for drinking what they themselves would have chosen to drink the previous month. Mostly a semantic difference that I use now that is definitely not cut and dry.

                              I don't really care what beers the average restaurant or bar offers. But I usually don't drink beer with dinner so a glass of wine or water is fine. I enjoy liquor as well, so a simple mixed drink, something neat or a (hopefully) well made cocktail are an option for me when at a bar. But I still can enjoy something as common as an Anchor Steam or Sam Adams as it's probably been quite some time since I've had one. I also try to separate my geek time from when I'm with people who I know aren't going to use tap and bottle lists as criteria for deciding where to go. I've found it awkward when I'm getting excited about multiple vintages of Cantillon or what's available on cask and the rest of the group is lost because they don't recognize any of the beer available.

                              1. Snob is a tricky adjective but I find myself more than willing to pay the extra dollar or two for something interesting or a micro I haven't had. I also find myself bringing high quality beers to a friends house that I know will only have Miller/Mich Ultra/ etc. I also try to buy cases of micro's at the distributor because I know they are good and I will enjoy them, I don't care to much about guests that may run from a Two Hearted Ale or Troegenator. Bottom line is, I try my hardest to not drink Miller, Bud, Sam Adams, or even Yuengling because its boring and/or bad.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Mr Siegal

                                  I don't think you're being a snob unless you vocalize your disdain for those other beers, particularly if your audience doesn't care about beer.

                                  For the record: 1. I drank a bottle of Bud not long ago, just to say I did it. While I wouldn't seek it out, I liked it more than I'd anticipated. 2. I seldom drink Sam Adams Lager, but when I do, I always enjoy it. It's a sold, well-made beer. 3. Yuengling isn't exciting, but it is a great value.

                                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                    I definitely don't knock people for drinking Miller or whatever, I'm a huge fan of people doing and drinking anything they want to. I also am not that guy who constantly makes disparaging remarks either but when it comes to my tastes and wallet, I'm going for the good stuff.

                                    I'd also much rather drink a Bud bottle than any Sam Adams or Yuengling Lager (but not Yuengling Porter, because it is gooood.) So what does that say about me?

                                    1. re: Mr Siegal

                                      It says you're an understanding person who appreciates good beer.

                                      1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                        Thanks to all for your replies. Though my question was somewhat tongue in cheek I did wan to stir up some serious discussion here. As with most of you here I too do not knock others for their choice of beverage. I am happy with just enough knowledge to enjoy the better brews that life has to offer. I am on my way to the strong ale festival at Pizza Port in Carlsbad.

                                  2. re: Mr Siegal

                                    There's nothing snobbish about enjoying what you like. For my part, I won't touch a Bud/Miller/Coors product. (The sole exception: I'm at a gathering at a friend's house, and that's all they have. In that case, I'll have one to be polite, and nurse it for a looooong time!) I don't criticize others if they do, though I'll recommend alternatives if the subject comes up in conversation. I have a longtime friendly dispute with a colleague who drinks nothing but Bud, who's convinced that I don't know what I'm missing!

                                    I don't drink Sam often anymore, because there are so many more interesting beers out there, but it's a perfectly decent "fallback" beer. I can (just barely) tolerate Yuengling Lager; anything less than that, and I'm ordering soda or water. (I'm reminded of a waitress at my favorite place. Stopping into a shot-n-beer kind of place, she looked at the beer offerings, and said -- to her companion, not the server -- "OK, I'll have a Yuengling, but make it as cold as possible, so I don't have to taste it!")

                                  3. Last summer I went with a large group of friends to one of those crab houses on the water that are so common here in MD. I asked our waiter what beers they had, and he said "oh, we've got everything! Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Miller Light,,," I ended up drinking Natty Boh, which isn't a great beer but goes well with crabs, and is a Baltimore instution.

                                    I don't think I'm a snob. I don't look down on those who choose to drink typical domestic lagers, but I do try to interest them in something better. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: JonParker

                                      Do you think it's appropriate that a crab house have just light American lagers? I wonder how many would order a craft beer, for example. I remember the original Wild Goose, when it was in Cambridge, had a crab on the label. I don't know if they still do that.

                                      1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                        It's absolutely appropriate. I wasn't expecting to find a micro list there, just checking to see what was available. This was a real blue collar crab house with a gravel parking lot and a waiter who had apparently lost a few teeth in bar brawls. Not a ritzy place at all, but they were some fine crabs, and the Natty Boh went down smooth.

                                    2. Not at all. I absolutely don't mind drinking even the swilliest of the macrobrewed american light lagers, yet OTOH I would generally prefer something much nicer (depending of course on how much money I'm looking to spend in a session vs. how much I'd like to drink).

                                      I understand and appreciate styles, etc. I've enjoyed such fine brews as Westvleteren 12, etc. I consider myself to be a knowledgeable beer drinker but certainly not elitist.

                                      Speaking of, I was noting to someone recently that I felt that as the craft beer world is expanding that an increasing number of true elitist/snob types were coming in (measured per capita I guess you could say). I figure that these people are the types of folks who are just elitist/snobby by nature and found their way to beer.

                                      Edit: My day yesterday is a perfect example. I started with a bottle of Delerium Tremens, and then had some Leffes. When that was out, I switched to Miller Lite without being sad/upset/turning my nose up/etc.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        I look at it this way: For years all I drank was the usual BMC, an occasional Heineken or Corona and that's about it.

                                        Then I decided to branch out a bit and see what else was out there in beer land. I discovered hundreds of other beers both from here in the US, and also while on vacation in Belgium, Germany, Holland etc, with much better attributes than the ones I'd been drinking all those years.

                                        So now when I go to a good beer store, I still see the usual Macros but also there are countless better tasting brews next to them on the shelf. Not only that, but many of them are priced close to what one pays for those watered down Macros. So why would I not purchase the good stuff? Sure, if I'm out somewhere and somebody offers me one of the Macros I'm not going to turn it down. But when I'm laying out my own money, then I'm buying something I'll enjoy.

                                        1. re: Whisper

                                          I think that's the key difference between simply enjoying the better stuff more/being educated vs. being elitist/snobby, the part where you say "I'm not going to turn it down". There *are* people who will scoff, whine, bitch and moan - phrases such as "horse piss" come into play, etc.

                                          I'm similar, if I'm sitting in my apt I own't be reaching for a High Life, I'll go to my mini-fridge which always has something interesting in there (right now it's got a variety of Allagash 750s, 3 Westvleterens, some DFH stuff & some homebrew (which admittedly isn't very good, but it's mine!).

                                          If I'm at a bar, well, it depends on the bar and my mood. Am I at some dive that focuses on BMC (or worse)? Well hey, what do I care. Am I at a fancy beer bar wiht an awesome list, even better. Maybe I'm looking to maximize my alcohol to money ratio, maybe I'm looking to maximize my enjoyment to money ratio, who knows. It all depends.

                                          1. re: jgg13

                                            I think as long as you get what you want and let others get what they want, you're fine. The day I start caring about what you drink is the day I will have officially crossed over. I usually get the best beer I can where ever I am but if the best that they have is Sam Adams, great. Maybe we should all drink a couple bud light every once in a while to remind us that Sam or Anchor is pretty good... I live in Canada where we have great micros but everything goes through our Liquor Control Board so the chance of finding some good micros is tougher and there are days that I would love to get some Anchor Steam. Drink the best you can find and afford, if someone asks you about it, tell them why you like it and offer to buy them one but once you start telling people what they should be drinking - especially if they didn't ask - then you're in trouble. Otherwise, enjoy!

                                      2. I think Bud/Coors has its place, like when I'm eating wings, I want cheap beer to wash it down, not something flavorful and complex. That said, I graduated from college 2.5 years ago and while in college, I drank cheap beers. I mean the really cheap ones...if someone had Bud at a party, it was considered stepping it up a level. Since leaving college, I've been able to explore the beer world much more, and now I like to try new beers wherever I go and whenever I get the chance. I do kind of try to convince people to try new beers, but if they only want to drink Bud, then it's fine with me.

                                        1. i just dont like pilsners and lagers in general, and that covers most of the beers one might consider crap.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: thew

                                            To be clear I think what you are refering to that might be considered "crap" are Euro lager (e.g. Stella Artois, Heineken, etc) and American Light lager. The family of lager beer in addition to pale lager includes many dark and/or richer beers such as bock, doppelbock, schwarzbier, oktober and others. Representative versions of these styles I've never heard refered to as "crap". To the contrary these happen to be favorites among many beer lovers.

                                            Thanks

                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                              I think thew's attitude there is the beer equivalent of the reason Americans produce 16% alcohol pinot noir wines. A nice, fresh, light, drinkable half litre of Helles? Yes please! A bitter, herby Pils with 6 cm of thick, creamy foam on top? Heck yeah! A clear, tangy, sour Berliner Weiße (with or without liqueur)? I'm dreaming already of misspent summer afternoons on the Spree. Heck, someone who can't enjoy non-dark lagers sounds about as much fun as someone who can't enjoy Berlin, now that I think of it.

                                          2. i think if you veto a restaurant because of their beer selection, even though others in your party like the food there (this was not said, so I'm not sure if this was the exact situation), then yes you are a beer snob.

                                            1. I'd just add that it's important to understand the difference between understanding when you've outgrown something versus eschewing a beer because you're looking for the "next big thrill". I can sincerely state that I really enjoyed Pete's Wicked and Killians as a twenty something but I've outgrown them. On the other hand I liked Taddy Caster Porter when I was twenty something as well and can appreciate it even more today.

                                              Thanks

                                              1. Wow, if Guinness is not good enough for you then I don't know what to say. There is nothing better than a smooth, creamy guinness.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: showthyme

                                                  Perhaps to your palate, and that is fine if that is what you like.

                                                  But I agree with the OP - there are a lot of stouts I would choose over a Guiness.

                                                  1. re: brentk

                                                    And that's not even accounting for the fact that many bars don't serve Guinness properly.

                                                    And, that some of us "just aren't that into" stouts at all! (Me, I need to be in the right mood, and in the right kind of bar, for a Guinness, which only happens once or twice a year.)(And, no, never on March 17th!)

                                                  2. re: showthyme

                                                    I'll have to agree, There are indeed a lot of other stouts besides Guinness, however Guinness is indeed the benchmark. I've tried dozens of others...most of the American ones are really overdone, harsh, and far too carbonated. Guinness is simple, and refreshing. There are other stouts I enjoy, but when all is said and done the original is still the best one, especially when served properly.

                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                      There are a number of different styles of stouts - dry stouts, milk stouts, Belgian stouts, Russian Imperial Stouts, to name a few. The methods of carbonation differ as well.

                                                      Guinness may indeed be the benchmark for a nitrogenated dry stout, but I find that style to be less interesting than some of the other styles that I prefer. I am particularly fond of coffee stouts and Bourbon barrel stouts. I'll drink Guinness in a pinch, but what you find simple and refreshing, I find rather boring.

                                                      To each his (or her) own, I guess, but I would certainly debate your claim that Guinness is the best. That is to your palate, not to mine. Neither of us is right or wrong, it is just a matter of personal preference. To claim that any beer is the "best" begs the question: Compared to what?

                                                      1. re: brentk

                                                        Exactly. I don't much care for dry stouts, thus I don't much care for Guiness. For a very long time, I thought that me not liking Guiness (and other related products) meant that I don't like stouts. This is not true at all, as there are some varieties of stout that I do enjoy quite a bit.

                                                        BTW, a bit of pedantry (not that I actually care, just find it amusing): "begs the question" doesn't mean "raises the question" :)

                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                          I appreciate that bit of pedantry, actually. I beg your pardon.

                                                          1. re: brentk

                                                            Pardon granted! :) I just thought it fit well in a thread about snobbery :)

                                                    2. re: showthyme

                                                      "There is nothing better than a smooth, creamy guinness."

                                                      Can you send me one? Because Guinness doesn't travel well. 99% of the Guinni I've tried were allowed to go bitter on someone's dock. The good ones were like drinking a perfect glass of cold milk. And I've heard they're even better in Dublin.

                                                      So I can imagine that many people start out thinking "who could like this?" given that it's so hard to pair that smooth-creamy subset with that first-taste target market.

                                                      1. re: blair_houghton

                                                        Guinness can't "go bitter" from sitting somewhere. Bitterness in beer is achieved primarily via hops. Bitterness can also be perceived from the use of darker malts. Guinness incorporates both hops and darker malts, which gives its flavor profile a definite element of bitterness.

                                                        Additionally, smooth and creamy are mouthfeel descriptors, not flavor descriptors. A beer can have bitter flavors but still feel smooth and creamy.

                                                        If you're drinking Guinness carbonated with nitrogen, then the bitter flavors will be suppressed. If you're drinking Guinness carbonated with CO2, the bitter flavors will be emphasized. CO2 emphasized hop bitterness in beer, and has larger bubbles, which is why beer carbonated with nitrogen is perceived as smoother.

                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                          Maybe that's the reason my memory of Guinness is so different from what it tastes like to me now. I don't think my palate has changed that much. Thanks for the explanation.

                                                    3. When I started this thread I never thought that it would provoke the amount of discussion that it has. I have read every entry and would like to thank all responders for your input.

                                                      1. I think I walk that fine line between beer snob, beer nerd, and beer lover. There are several occassions when I go to an establishment based simply on their beer selection and often make road trips simply for beer destinations: great beer bars (Ginger Man), tasting rooms (Troegs, Capt Lawrence), larger brewpubs (Dogfish, Victory), small brewpub shops (Harvest Moon, Triumph) and I have an incredible passion for it.

                                                        Love Beer Advocate, brewing my own, trying new beers, trading beers, learning about beer- I think a lot has carried over into food and chowhound for me.

                                                        I do try to control a condescending attitude for people who drink 'lesser' beers but I do try to make a convert out of as many as possible- which may be a bit of snobbery.

                                                        17 Replies
                                                        1. re: yankeefan

                                                          I don't think it's snobbish to gently nudge a person to try other beers.

                                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                            I'm actually currently listening to the 12/18 podcast of Basic Brewing Radio, and they were talking about just this sort of issue a few mins ago. The guy made the point that the right way to do it is to affirm that the person you're talking to has a valid opinion and then tell them that, "If you like this, you'll probably also like these if you want to give them a try" instead of saying, "Oh, you should totally try this instead, it's waaaay better"

                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                              I agree, and I would also think it good to ascertain whether the person is receptive, and if not, back off, at least for a time.

                                                              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                Finding decent chow out is hard enough, so I'm not going to penalize a joint for serving only macrobrews; I just won't order something I don't really, really like or furiously crave. Sometimes, though, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find a place you'd never expect offering one or two gems. For example, the Ruby Tuesday's near me serves Dogfish Head 90 (or maybe the 60) Minute I.P.A. It's right there on the booze menu, what a fluke!

                                                                What I'm finding a little agravating is bars not expanding their beer menus, but I guess it's a little hard if they aren't a dedicated wine/beer specialty-type bar.

                                                                1. re: BeerWeezil

                                                                  I wouldn't avoid a place because their beer selection is poor but I would order water rather than something I don't want to waste the calories on. I'm not shy about letting someone in the restaurant know that they have a poor beer selection, especially when they have 300 wines to choose from.
                                                                  I'm content with Sam Adams or SNPA but if it's just Bud/Miller/Coors/Heineken/Corona I'll have water. Guinness is borderline. it would be about my last choice in stouts .
                                                                  Would a wine drinker be a snob for turning down Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill?

                                                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                    "Would a wine drinker be a snob for turning down Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill?"

                                                                    You nailed it perfectly!

                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                      "Would a wine drinker be a snob for turning down Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill?"

                                                                      That depends. Are they making a fuss about it to an employee, or just ordering something else and keeping it to themselves?

                                                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                        And why should you have to order water? If you know and love sushi and people want to go to the local Chinese restaurant burb sushi place, shouldn't you take the lead and say no? Or could you get by with the greasy pupu platter? If you know and love Italian, should you be forced to go to Olive Garden? Maybe get by with a mediocre salad? Suppose you're going out for fried clams and people want to go to a place that serves frozen clam strips fried in 6-week old oil? Eat the bread... If you know that a place has a bad selection of beer, why would you go?

                                                                        If the social situation or demand is such that you absolutely have no choice but to make these decisions, then by all means, you have to do what you have to do. But if you have any say in the matter, why would beer be any different from wine, or any other food? This is Chowhound, isn't it? If we're so concerned about being snobs that we let these situations override our own food and taste ethos, then what kind of Hound are we?

                                                                        I hated beer growing up here in the states. ASL - I didn't know what it was or why it was what it was, but I couldn't stand beer. The whole idea of "a cold one" was disgusting to me - why would I want to drink something that tasteless and awful? Then I got stationed in Germany in the 70's. I didn't take to the beer immediately, but I grew into it over time. It tasted like something - it had complexity and dimensions. It provided a reason to keep trying it, to grow into it. It wasn't something to pop into your mouth when you were hot and thirsty from work or play - it was something to sit and enjoy. Like the locals, I ended up having the local hofbrau delivered to the apartment weekly. I came back with a taste for real beer that nothing here could match. I suffered for years until the craft-breweries began to turn out some really delicious and marvelous stuff.

                                                                        So why, in the heck, would I tolerate something I hate? Why wouldn't I demand that we go to a place that had something I can drink? Why would I care if anybody thought that was snobbery?

                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                          I don’t think the Boones Farm analogy works. I think an analogy for Bud, a well made but unexciting mass produced beer with limited taste would be like a Gallo merlot or something. Whereas Boones Farm would be the equivalent of some awful 40 ounce malt liquor designed strictly to get the drinker drunk, irrelevant of taste.

                                                                          And frankly this becomes a relative thing to me. I know some people who will turn their noses up at anything less than a barley wine or a well done imperial stout or a high end Belgian. Whereas Ill be fine with a Sam, a Guinness or even (gasp!) a Blue Moon if that’s all they have. Ill even accept a macro if someone is nice enough to buy one for me. I just cant choke down a light beer… (Ive been known to nonchalantly pour them into plants when given one). So where do you draw the line between “snob” and tasteful beer consumer? I think its all in the attitude. Not in where your standard is. If you stubbornly refuse to enter any establishment because they don’t have a good beer selection that to me is snobbery. Obviously if you are alone whats the point in going to some place where you don’t think much of the beer but if you are in a social setting then its so much more than JUST the beer. And frankly going out for me isn’t ALWAYS about finding the best beer just as going out to eat isn’t ALWAYS about going to a five star restaurant. Sometimes Im in a real “dive bar” mood and a lot of dive bars just don’t have the selection most of us would enjoy. Does that mean I have bad taste in beer though? If I eat at Burger King one night does that mean I have bad taste in food? If I go around in sweat pants one day does that mean I have bad taste in clothing? Should I always wear a suit?

                                                                          Ahh beer philosophy…

                                                                          1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                            very well put, Insiduous.

                                                                            1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                              I guess that what I object to is the very concern that one is a snob. Coming to this site indicates that one has an interest in eating and drinking better. So how does the concern that others may perceive this to be snobbery play into the pursuit of fine food and drink? For me, it simply doesn't. We all have our lines as to what we'll eat and drink in social situations, but for anyone to arbitrarily say that x is snobbery while y isn't, is simply not germain to the pursuit of fine beer, or sushi, or anything else.

                                                                              1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                This brings to mind what one might call reverse beer snobbery, probably more accurately described as defensiveness in the face of the unknown, i.e., people who pointedly drink only 'regular' beer.

                                                                                1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                  The point being that many restaurants pay a lot of attention to the quality of their food and to their wine list. In most cases this same attention to detail is not paid to their beer list.
                                                                                  Unfortunately for the beer drinker and particularly people who enjoy pairing different styles of beer with food, the options are few and far between.
                                                                                  With the boom in breweries over the past decade there is no reason why almost in any restaurant in the country can't have a locally brewed stout, IPA, pale ale and lager on tap. In my opinion that should be a minimum standard.
                                                                                  As far as "making a fuss to an employee," I don't think it's rude or out of line to politely point out that you would be more inclined to return to a restaurant if they improved their beer list. I think managers appreciate that type of feedback.

                                                                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                    At this stage of the game it’s pretty clear to me that beer has been accepted for pairing at more casual to semi-casual restaurants (i.e. bistrot, tapas, small plates, etc). But I still notice some resistance at semi-formal and formal places. One in-road I think would be to start small. I think that no chef or foodie alive can deny how well beer can work with cheese. Nor does it really seem that strange (and it gets beer on the table). Therefore, I’d have the sommelier suggest a beer during the cheese course if no place else. Once beer and cheese course pairing becomes “normal” in the foodie community more success might be had for pairing apps, mains and dessert at semi-formal and formal.

                                                                                    Thanks

                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                      Gramercy Tavern in NYC has an amazing bottle list. Hopefully this will become a trend for other fine dining establishments.

                                                                                      1. re: Josh

                                                                                        I agree, but they have had a great beer list for some time now and few others have followed.

                                                                    2. re: yankeefan

                                                                      Ginger man?? I don't know why, I've never really been able to get into that place. Have you tried Rattle and Hum in NYC...great beer list. Also a fan of Hope Devil and Blind Tiger.

                                                                    3. One thing that this and the other similar thread make me realize- the greatness encompassed in a terrific BYOB. There really is nothing better than a good Mexican, Indian, or other byo.

                                                                      1. I don't know if it's snobbish, but I've had enough near-death experiences to know life's too short to drink bad beer or wine or liquor, even to finish one that started out good and lost its appeal in the middle. I'll gladly settle for a water and lemon rather than force myself to pick from a list that has only the local distributor's profit margin at heart.

                                                                        I've also learned that different people have different tastes. So if you recommend something to your tastes, expect your recommendation to work only in the context of another person with your tastes.

                                                                        That said, I tried Bud American Ale, and didn't dislike it. I could drink it if it was the least-objectionable beer on the menu. Which gives A-B a leg up on Sam Adams, who still can't make a beer I'll suffer.

                                                                        I'll drink almost anything Sam Smith's makes, on the other hand, even the IPAs, unless they've been mishandled. But the best are the Winter Welcome Ale, the Old Brewery Pale Ale, and the Nut Brown Ale. I'd take any of those over any other beer I know the taste of.

                                                                        I've been drinking a lot of Smithwick's with pizza, because that's the draft I like at the pizza place with the impressive row of nutty/hoppy/weiss taps. I had a Kronenbourg 1664 a while ago, and I'd have had more but it was on tap at a wine-oriented joint with an amazing by-the-glass wine list and I could never justify a beer there again; and then it closed down due to landlord insanity and that was that.

                                                                        Micros, I've pretty much lost faith in. There are thousands, now, most of them just an excuse for a place to glue a jacked-up label and a price tag. You can smell the poor care of the equipment and taste the indifference or self-indulgence of the "brewmaster" in them.

                                                                        XX Amber is nice as well. No lime, dammit! I save that for the XX Lager on the beach. No lime in my Pacifico, either.

                                                                        That's it. That's the list. I don't give myself much reason to stray from it (except to try new-and-interesting-if-experimental, like the BA) and there's always the "none for me, thanks" option.

                                                                        Speaking of experimental, don't be afraid to ask for a taste of a tap beer, or send back a bottle you just don't like. It's a business, and business development is their responsibility, not yours. Don't leave yourself stuck with a guess that makes you unhappy.

                                                                        Thinking about the "snob" thing, I expect that implies you're using others' impressions to color your opinions, or attributes of a product other than your personal interaction with its content, to make you a snob rather than someone who knows what's being good to you. Life's way too short to give a bat's fart about what someone thinks of the beer you're enjoying.

                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                        1. re: blair_houghton

                                                                          "Micros, I've pretty much lost faith in. There are thousands, now, most of them just an excuse for a place to glue a jacked-up label and a price tag"

                                                                          I suggest you rethink this attitude. In my opinion the best beers on earth (outside of Belgian monasteries) are being brewed by small craft brewers in the U.S.
                                                                          Lost Abby, Russian River, Bear Republic, Deschuttes, Great Divide, Goose Island, DFH, and Ommegang are just a small sampling of "micros" that are among the world elite.
                                                                          Also; Sam Adams has a big family of beers, I'm sure you could find a couple you could "suffer" through. The winter variety pack is a nice sampler.

                                                                          1. re: blair_houghton

                                                                            There's no accounting for taste, certainly, but I find it funny that you'll disparage Sam Adams and the numerous gold-medal winning microbreweries in the US while extolling the virtues of Dos Equis.

                                                                            FWIW, Sam Smith's used to employ Garrett Oliver as a brewer, and he now brews beer for one of the best microbreweries in the US, Brooklyn Brewing company.

                                                                            I'm not sure where you're coming up with your view of modern American craft brewing, it sounds to me like the last time you drank any was in the '90s, when the explosion of microbreweries did certainly result in some poorly crafted and cared-for beer hitting the shelves.

                                                                            However, in recent years the gold-medal winning beers at GABF and the World Beer Cup are overwhelmingly produced by domestic craft brewers who put a great deal of care and attention into the beers they make.

                                                                            As tofuburrito points out, places like Deschutes, Lost Abbey, Russian River, Bear Republic, Ommegang are fantastic breweries making great beer. I'd add to that list AleSmith, Bell's, New Glarus, Jolly Pumpkin, Stone and Rogue.

                                                                            The people making these beers have years of experience brewing beer, and to disparage them with the scare-quotes around the word brewmaster is frankly offensive.

                                                                            1. re: Josh

                                                                              Thanks Josh, was going to say the same exact things and you saved me some typing. Some of those comments were ridiculous.

                                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                                Are you sure that Garrett worked at Sam Smith's?

                                                                                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                  I interviewed Garrett Oliver for an article back in December of '04. I don't have my recording of that any longer, but I recall him saying that he apprenticed under one of Samuel Smith's head brewers. I don't know if that was after the guy left Sam Smith's, however. My memory isn't that perfect, alas.

                                                                                  Meh, I can't edit that any longer, either. I don't know why they have that time limit on editing. If I could, I would revise my original comment to clarify that statement.

                                                                                  In any case, the point is the same. Craft brewers in the US are serious practitioners of brewing who plainly know what they're doing. Garrett didn't beat Hoegaarden for a gold in witbier by being "self-indulgent".

                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                    I think you're on track here. http://www.nypost.com/seven/12102007/...

                                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                                      I had a very, VERY bad experience with Brooklyn Brewing years ago, which almost resulted in me being banned from ever setting foot in my friends' college house. I think we got a bad batch of skunked Brooklyn Lager or something but my buddy's fury was frightening.

                                                                                      That being said, I really NEED to give Brooklyn Brewing another shot based on all the things I've been hearing. Although I sincerely hope that their broad selection of brews doesn't greet me like Sam Adams's line does, that being not really enthusiastically.

                                                                                      1. re: BeerWeezil

                                                                                        Try the Local 1.

                                                                                  2. re: Josh

                                                                                    Don't give the poster too hard of a time as he drinks what he likes, and that's OK.. Some folks just like the taste of mass produced lagers. Its not my thing, but they sure sell a lot of it.

                                                                                    Also, I think he lives in the Phoenix area. I was there a couple of years ago, and it is the type of city where it is really hard to get the kind of beers that you and others on this thread are extolling.

                                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                                      add Troeg's to that list of micro's. Nugget Nectar is truly one of the best beers available (for the short time that it is) Terrapin is definitely coming along as well, and more widely available by the day it seems.

                                                                                    2. re: blair_houghton

                                                                                      Blair: Im thinking that your perception that all micros are either poor quality or “self indulgent” pretty much eliminates you from the prospect of being considered a beer snob so no worries…

                                                                                      You do risk however bordering on the neighborhood of beer uninformed with that opinion of micros. And Im trying to understand how someone can describe themselves as “experimental” and in the very same breath write off most “micro” beer – a category that includes many of the very best beers in the world – as poor quality or self indulgent. I mean that’s thousands of beers! So I guess I would just have to reiterate whats already been said about those comments already and concur with the lists provided and emphasize that I could easily add several dozen more breweries to those lists, none of which could ever be described as poor quality.

                                                                                      As to “self indulgent”, Im not altogether sure what that means in terms of brewing a beer. Nor if its relevant at all to the taste or the enjoyability of drinking the beer.

                                                                                      And perhaps we have different ideas of what “experimental” means as well which may go some way to explaining the seeming paradox of trying a Bud Ale and calling that experimental but slamming the door on all micros. If so please disregard!

                                                                                      1. re: blair_houghton

                                                                                        Regarding your suggestion to send back a bottle you just don't like: You should certainly feel free to not drink a beer that you don't like, but I hope you're not suggesting that there is a right to not pay for a beer one just doesn't like.

                                                                                      2. I started drinking beers again in my late 20's (in HS, it was Heinekin). Primarily microbrews. To make a roadtrip better, we decided on venturing to as many breweries and brewpubs as possible (it's almost impossible to have a bad burger at a brewpub). Thankfully, the route was Chicago->Vermont via Canada, then back stateside.

                                                                                        And now I enjoy beer.

                                                                                        (I probably started liking them better at Vetter's in Heidelburg, but it's difficult to find bad beer in Germany, or Czechoslovakia [yes, it was one country when I was there so many years ago--1992--but even the cheap stuff is better than what you'd find elsewhere])

                                                                                        I'll try beers out, and find a few I like. Nothing bad has ever come from Dogfishhead in Rehoboth. I fell in love with Imperial Stouts at Goose Island.

                                                                                        When I need a decent light beer, it's Micheloeb Ultra Amber, which is so much better than Amstel. My preference, however, is for Skullcrusher and similar, although Long Trail made a nice Blackberry Wheat, and double Weisse.

                                                                                        Dos XX Amber on tap--so good. In the bottle, not so much.

                                                                                        I don't consider myself a snob, or a connesseiur, but like a good brew, and will tend towards smaller batch when possible.

                                                                                        (but I do carry a growler in neoprene with electrical tape in my trunk)

                                                                                        1. You're all wrong and I'm right, and if you can't see that, than it's because your pallet is inferior.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: mrgrotto

                                                                                            Are you using a wooden pallet or one of those plastic jobs? ;-)

                                                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallet

                                                                                            1. re: Whisper

                                                                                              Heh... Ooops. Snob cred goes right out the window. I did that on purpose?

                                                                                          2. I act more snobbish toward poorly made (and unfresh) microbrew/craft beers than I do industrial made lagers.

                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: LStaff

                                                                                              I'm kinda in the same boat as LStaff.

                                                                                              I am also a person who has no problem drinking a Bud Light although I've been fortunate enough to have enjoy many a world class beer.

                                                                                              If I'm at a non beer geek bar and the best they have to offer is gateway beer ( Fat Tire, Sierra, Stella) I actually prefer to ignore them and drink a Bud.

                                                                                              If I'm jonesing that much for a superb micro I can just go into my cellar and pull something out.

                                                                                              1. re: burntwater

                                                                                                What do you have against SNPA?

                                                                                                1. re: DougOLis

                                                                                                  I wondered the same thing. Turning down an SNPA for a Bud seems crazy to me but to each his own.

                                                                                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                    SNPA, Fat tire, I use to drink all the time. It's just that I'm not into them anymore. If I'm at a party and someone were to hand me a SNPA I'd say thank you and drink up.

                                                                                                    If I'm with a group of friends that are not into beer I could care less where we go or what they have on tap.

                                                                                                    If I'm hanging with my friends who are into beer then it's on. I'll drive a few hours to hit a special release.

                                                                                                    1. re: burntwater

                                                                                                      Versatility is a good thing in my book.

                                                                                                2. re: burntwater

                                                                                                  I'd also argue that Stella is a macro lager, albeit an imported one, not a gateway micro. And I think in your justification that you're not a beer snob, you actually proved your own snobiness.

                                                                                                  1. re: DougOLis

                                                                                                    Hi Doug, I wasn't trying to prove or disprove anything.
                                                                                                    It's just my personal choice.
                                                                                                    In the end it's beer I don't live to any kind of beer code.

                                                                                                    It actually doesn't even matter if the beer or beers in question are macro or micros.
                                                                                                    The latest handle I to see showing up next to the Fat Tire at non beer geek bars is Stone IPA.
                                                                                                    It's good beer, well made but if my friends bought a round of Bud no biggie.

                                                                                                    You can label my choice to drink or not drink however you want.
                                                                                                    A label only fits if you choose to wear it.

                                                                                                    I for one would never look down upon anyone else or think less of them for their choice in a beverage.

                                                                                                3. re: LStaff

                                                                                                  I never feel that compelled to drink beer. If the choices are bad micros and macro lager, I'll opt for another kind of beverage.

                                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                                    +1 on josh. I'm old enough to prefer quality over quantity.

                                                                                                4. Been ages since I had a domestic generic but I imagine a PBR and a shot of Beam still hits the spot if one's dog just died. Tell you what, generally speaking the beer police need to learn from the wine snobs of the past who have more or less taken it all down a notch or two to the benefit of all. Those big reds from Cali have more than a little in common with some of the over hopped micros...

                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Flaco

                                                                                                    Leaving aside the fact that not all domestic craft brews are hoppy, there are also the beers produced by the vastly older brewing cultures of England, France, Belgium, and Germany - all four of whom produce delicious, easy-drinking everyday beers that show up American industrial macro lager for what it is: bland and boring.

                                                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                                                      I agree with your points about world beer and that's why my "snobbery" predates micro beer culture. It really goes back to the import versus domestic wars of the 70's.

                                                                                                      As for micro beers I enjoy many so I shouldn't complain. I'll also take hoppyness over some of the cutesy stuff that a brewer like Magic Hat offers. I still think the big bad ass hoppy micro brew is a reaction somewhat against Industrial American lager but that's only natural right?

                                                                                                      Here's some snobbery, keep your tap lines clean and the bottles fresh!

                                                                                                      1. re: Flaco

                                                                                                        I've long had the same thought about the super-hoppy beers. Perhaps they're also a symptom of the American tendency to make everything bigger than life. We seem to be better at big and huge than subtle.

                                                                                                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                                          I've started to get feel that the real cutting edge is moving back towards traditional sessionable beers as a reaction to the hop bombs, the massively big beers, etc. Perhaps that's just wishful thinking on my part.

                                                                                                          After the last Beer Advocate Extreme Beer Fest, a friend & I were talking about how it is getting dull (it used to be my favorite, now I don't even care if I go or not) as it all seems to be coalescing on the same motifs (oh look, I cranked the ABV dial to 11 and aged it in oak barrels! .... oh look, this has 9 million IBU!).

                                                                                                          I was at a brewer's dinner last night (pretty things beer in cambridge,ma) and while I otherwise enjoyed it, I kept getting a bit annoyed at how the one thing they'd always make a point of saying about each beer was the ABV, and how it was high for the style. I don't mind that it was high for style at all (trust me, I like mah booze), just that this was a remarkable feature that warranted high praise, calling out, etc.

                                                                                                          But yah, unfortunately no examples pop right out at me but I've seen an increasing number of british milds floating around as an example. Of course, I'm sure some dufus will market their 7.2% ABV 50 IBU "mild", but ....

                                                                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                            I think you are right about the pendulum swinging back lately in regards to the sentementality that big beers are the ultimate and all you need is hops and lots of alcohol. I certainly hear much more of a buzz now from those beer folks who are NOT necessarily automatically impressed by beer extremeness (especially extreme hops). It seems like that point of view was nearly silent when the DIPA craze first started really emerging and has really changed in the past year or two.

                                                                                                            But Im still not sure how much this change in sentementality has been reflected in the actual brewing of beer. There are regions that are well known for their lagers or "smaller" beers but I dont know that this change has been reflected across the board among all brewers. If i go to my favorite brewpubs/breweries I see very little effect of this kind of thinking. Its still very much about pushing the envelope. At best you now see more collaberation Frankensteins like "extreme" lagers or browns or such which kind of defeats the point really.

                                                                                                            1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                              Don't you think, though, that most craft beer is not extreme in the least? We notice the huge stuff, but most people quietly buy relatively normal beer.

                                                                                                              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                                                Probably but the bragging and therefore a lot of the talk (from the brewers, from the press, or just the buzz among attendees at just about ANY beer festival in the US) is all about the extreme stuff it seems.

                                                                                                                I would be curious what percentage of the beer market/beer purchases are for anything with say above 40 IBU's today compared to 2 years ago or 5 years ago or 10 years ago. My guess is that its a steeper curve then the under 40 IBU purchases even if its still dwarfed by the <40 IBU purchases. And this is even if you completely discount the macro end of the market entirely.

                                                                                                                1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                  Agree that all the buzz is about this stuff. And I expect it's growing fast, but on a very small base.

                                                                                                                  I really enjoy a strong, hoppy beer; my all-time fave has to be Bigfoot. But I am not keen on the big, boozy ones (120, for example) because I like to drink a few beers, and that's difficult when it's four times the strength of a typical beer.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                                                    Had a 2005 Bigfoot on draft at Ebenezer's in Maine last month and it was stunningly good. The 120 I find cloyingly sweet but Ill still sip one every now and again. I find its best served with a healthy amount of french vanilla ice cream in it. :D If Im gonna have a way-too-big DFH brew its going to be the World Wide Stout.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                      Bell's Expedition Stout, although it's merely huge, not gargantuan.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                    It's the nature of the beast at these festivals. A lot of people pay their 40 or so dollars to try a beer they can't find everyday and then talk about it. Extreme beers is still a new idea for a lot of people and the line is never going to stop because every year there is a new crop of 21 year olds.

                                                                                                                    I understand your concern if you feel that these brewers are too caught up in making big beers that they are neglecting to make interesting beers that are not extreme.

                                                                                                                    In a way you are also searching for something new but unfortunately for you because you've been around the block your now waiting for everyone else to catch up.

                                                                                                    2. I went through a phase where I was all micro this and micro that - but have recently calmed down a bit in that department. Mostly because I started brewing my own, and it's damn hard to make something consistently - and to make something decent on a scale like that, I respect. Plus, every beer has it's place, and sometimes a Bud Light is exactly what I want (though very, very rarely).