This is my 200th post on this blog, which means I owe a sincere thank you to everyone who has stopped by, continues to read and engage me in conversation about beer and its place in our lives. A special thanks to frequent commenters and Friends of the Program Scott at Beerbecue, Patrick from Crafty and the Beast, John from Home Brew Manual, Eric from Sheppy’s Blog (of beer and homebrew) and Bryan at The Wandering Gourmand.
… and what better way to look back than to discuss five of the more common myths I see stuck in the public eye? Maybe then we can all start to take a few steps forward and really enjoying craft beer and what it has to offer.
Myth 1. “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
This is a great pet peeve of mine, so let’s just get it out of the way. That quote is not from Ben Franklin. Technically, it’s not from anyone because nobody ever said it except when they were misquoting Ben Franklin.
Here’s the real quote, from that wine-swilling, French-loving Founding Father:
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
Myth 2. If you like “light” beers you won’t like “dark” beers. Or vice versa.
I’m glad that people have their favorite tastes – I certainly do – but what’s with the hate for one end of the color spectrum in lieu of the other? Just because you like pale ales or IPAs doesn’t mean you’ll hate a well-made porter or stout.
When people say to me “I don’t like [beer style]” I always reply “Well, you just haven’t had the right [beer style] for you yet.” I hated IPAs until a few years ago, now I can’t get enough of them.
This is truer now more than ever, thanks to the (mad) genius of so many brewers across the country. We have such a vast array of styles and there are plenty of brews that will never fit into one category. Maybe you like IPAs? I’m sure there’s a black IPA somewhere that you’ll enjoy and could act as a gateway to maltier brews. Maybe you hate IPAs because they’re too bitter? There are plenty of brews bursting with fruit flavor thanks to smart use of hops. Why not try something like Founders All Day IPA. I really liked Maine Brewing’s Peeper.
Never sell yourself short. Or your taste buds. There is such an incredible variety of beers available you’re sure to find something new. All you have to do is look.
3. Craft beer enthusiasts are really just drunkards in training.
Just because we appreciate a 12 percent ABV barleywine doesn’t mean we’re walking around the streets with the 750mL bottle in a paper bag and chugging the thing.
This issue recently came to a head in South Carolina, which is in the process of changing its laws pertaining to on-site samplings. If passed, beer lovers could drink up to 64 ounces of beer at a brewery instead of 16 ounces during a tour. Representatives are up in a tizzy, proclaiming that’s unsafe and could lead to problems with intoxication. Nick of Drink. Blog. Repeat., Friend of the Program and South Carolina beer blogger extraordinaire, has a good recap and is (obviously) very passionate about the impression legislators have of the South Carolina drinking public:
We – that being craft beer fans – go to breweries to get educated on how each one does things differently. We go to see what special techniques and methods each respective brewery uses in the brewing of its beer. We go to sample new and inventive local beers and to meet like-minded individuals. We don’t go to get smashed. If we wanted to, we could go to any bar in any city in any state and do that. We go to breweries to experience, share and enjoy, not get tanked.
Myth 4. Craft beer drinkers are really just snobs.
Enough with this already.
No, craft beer is not the same as wine. No, being enthusiastic about craft beer doesn’t make us snobs. Being enthusiastic about craft beer just makes us passionate and well informed.
Unfortunately, that train of thought seems to exist far and wide. Mostly because people make the (wrong) connection between the variety of beer to the variety of wine, making beer the “new” wine and meaning if you’re passionate about beer, you’re a snob. Just because I’m passionate and knowledgeable about football and baseball doesn’t make me a snob toward basketball and hockey.
The reason we (generally) don’t care for beers like Budweiser or Miller Lite is because we know the art that goes into making a truly great craft beer that also tastes amazing. You would find very little argument from beer lovers about the success of macro, BMC brands to produce consistent brew. It’s rather amazing how good Budweiser is at making Budweiser taste like Budweiser no matter where it’s made. But science doesn’t equate to craft beer, per se.
We drink craft beer because it offers a variety of tastes and experiences. Seeking this out doesn’t make us snobs, nor does it make us snobs to want to know about what we’re drinking and how it’s made. Interest in what we consume is important and popular. Just look how quickly farmers markets have grown. (That chart look similar to the growth of breweries? Just sayin’)
Myth 5. Fruit beers and ciders are for “girls.”
The idea that men are supposed to drink a certain drink is an entirely sociological issue and it’s a stupid one. I’d argue that it’s also uniquely American. Men are drinking a variety of alcoholic drinks and whatever they choose should be OK.
Besides, in case you haven’t noticed, women are on the craft beer bandwagon. For females ages 18 to 34, it’s now the preferred alcoholic drink.
What myths are you tired of hearing?
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac