8 Simple Steps: How To Not Be A Dick While Drinking Beer

I was shocked to read a comment left by an unsatisfied beer drinker on a favorite brewery's Facebook page. This guy first praised the brewery, then passive-aggressively attacked them and finally full-out eviscerated this year's version of a beer for failing to live up to his standards. He went so far as to call the beer "dishwater," which is really pretty harsh and unnecessary. I've had this beer and it's a good beer. While there are other beers from this brewery more attractive to hop heads, being disappointed with a release is not license to be a jerk. After all, liking one beer over another is simply a matter of opinion.

It's easy to forget that beer is a privilege, not a birthright. Just because you've tried hundreds or even thousands of brews, you're not craft beer royalty and you're not bigger than the brewers themselves. Whether you're at a bar or converting a friend to craft beer-ism, it's never okay to be disrespectful. Here are 8 ways to not be a dick when drinking beer.

  1. Constructive criticism is constructive if you are

Breweries want to hear from you, but don't sabotage their social media platforms with offensive messages. You bought the beer and maybe it's not your favorite, but don't drive away potential consumers because you got upset. If you email the company directly, they'll send you a replacement beer for free. Orange County's The Bruery recently did this with the release of their slightly-off Ebony & Oak stout, so it really does happen.

  • Yes, beer is expensive but it's generally worth it
  • If you're buying an expensive beer, there's a reason for it: making good beer can be expensive, especially the barrel-aged variations people (read: we) love. Part of splurging for a beer is the adventure, and like any adventure, if it's not what you expect, don't be a jerk. Wine drinkers pay $50 a bottle for young wine all the time and some of it suuuuucks, but it's part of the game. Rate it on a website specifying the batch number or vintage year, and move along.

  • Experiment freely but respect experimentation
  • Bottle-conditioned beer is alive and changes over time; it may never be quite the same each time. Do your beer nerd research and know what you're getting into before you buy. For instance, if you don't like saisons with wild yeast, don't be angry if you're expecting a clean-tasting brew and it turns out funkadelic.

  • When out drinking, respect your bartender
  • An obvious request, yes, but I've witnessed beer snobs be complete dicks to really awesome bartenders. You might get spit in your beer if you act like a jerk; on the other hand, you might wind up learning something or even get free beer if you're not! I say this from experience.

  • Educate your macro beer-drinking friends
  • ...first by not calling them "your macro beer-drinking friends." Just because people drink Coors Light doesn't mean they won't like craft beer. If you're passionate about craft beer, providing beer for your friends makes for an awesome experience (pairing it with food is even better) and you might just acquire a new craft drinking buddy in the process.

  • Real experts aren't douches
  • If someone else doesn't pick up on all the things in a beer that you might, it's no reason to judge their palate or get all pissy. If you're being too intense about beer, you're defeating the purpose. Try to point out some of the flavors to look out for in the nose, start and finish, and maybe what to expect from the aftertaste. A little help goes a long way, friend.

  • Respecting beer is respecting yourself
  • Craft beer drinkers love to chase high ABV barleywines, stouts and other strong ales. While you might want to show off your massive tolerance, the truth is you may only be able to handle two drinks at a time. That's okay! Chose wisely and savor it. Those around you will appreciate it and you'll undoubtedly feel better the next morning.

  • Have fun
  • In the end it's just beer. Enjoy it responsibly. If you're not enjoying it or are making it hard (or just annoying) for those around you to enjoy it, you're not doing it right.

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