There’s a bar I used to frequent. It sat at the base of a ski hill and featured a healthy mixture of aprés skiers, ski bunnies dressed like they just came from Aspen, and locals looking to get after it. My goal was always to head there after work to listen to shitty local bands and have a few beers before retreating back to the comfort of my own home to escape from the 10° weather outside. But my reality was much different.
See, I’d end up settling in next to the fireplace and ordering a beer we called “Trainwreck.” It was a local craft beer from about forty-five minutes south, and that shit packed a punch. Before we knew it, we were drinking five of these things, dancing to a band cover “Gloria” by Van Morrison, all while mixing in shots of Fireball instead of waters. It was a slippery slope that none of us had any control over purely because we didn’t respect the alcohol by volume that these fuckers had.
Generally speaking, that is my experience with microbrews: I don’t respect them, they slap me across the face, and then the vicious cycle continues. But what do I do when I’m drinking one? I act like I do it all the fucking time. In a fake-it-til-you-make-it fashion, I acted like I knew the ins and outs of brewing heady fuckin’ beers.
If someone is talking about their beer, one-up them immediately.
“Oh, you’re drinking a Double IPA? I’m more into triples, bro, sorry. That beer has an IBU of 57? This one I’m brewing at home is going to hover around 86.”
I don’t know what it is about beer snobs, but they love one-upping each other when it comes to discussing how aggressive they like when imbibing their sludge water. If you can hold your beer in your hand and see through it, they’re just disgusted. They want their beers dark — darker than sewage, darker than molasses. I’m talking thick AF.
I’ll never understand why these guys love the idea of getting blackout drunk off a growler of a 14% ABV craft, but they get off on it.
Establish your favorite craft brewery and learn everything damn thing about them.
Me? I chose Ballast Point out of San Diego because I once spent an entire weekend taking down tall boys of their Sculpin IPAs while getting my ass torn up by Torrey Pines. After our round one day, we headed to the brewery and did a sampling of all their staples. It gave me material for days. Just the other night I dropped a, “Oh, I had this infused with wasabi when I was visiting San Dog last spring.” All of the sudden, there were audible gasps in the crowd and I heard one kid say to his mom, “Mommy, that’s the guy who knows a shit ton about microbrews.” A day in the life.
Send a beer back in disgust at least once a month.
Take a sip and scoff at the quality even if it tastes fine to you. Then call your waitress over and explain to her, “I think this is a bad batch. Either that or you need to ask your bar backs to take better care of the tubes connected to the taps.”
If you want to look like a pretentious fuck that knows his shit, it’s all about showing that the bar can’t slide anything past you (even when there’s nothing to be slid). It would take some brass balls for a waitress to question you after you power move the shit out of her by sending that Vanilla Porter back.
Inquire about beers with intricate names (even if you don’t know what the fuck they mean).
I’m talkin’ saisons, bocks, barley wines, and anything with the name “Bastard” in it because you know that shit will be dark AF and well-respected by the bartender who is ironically wearing suspenders to pair with his curled mustache. You get bonus points if it’s served in some tiny 8-ounce chalice rather than a normal pint glass or stein.
Just don’t order anything that comes with fruit or that you’ve seen in the grocery store unless you want to sound like a greenhorn who has his fridge stocked with Blue Moon and Sam Adams.
Have a favorite “cheap beer” and stick with it.
When you’ve established yourself as a full-blown craft beer elitist, people are going to have high expectations from you. So when they see you drinking a Stroh’s or PBR, you need an exit strategy STAT. You need to tell them that sometimes you just like going back to basics and that you’re drinking it because of the nostalgia you get from when you’d share one with your grandpa when he’d take you fishing.
Sure, in reality they’re on dollar special at the bar that night and payday isn’t until Friday, but these lumbersexuals don’t care as long as you back it up with some shit story that involves the olden days.
Sometimes you just gotta slug back some Dos Equis Chico Altos, you know?
When all else fails, shave your head and grow a beard.
You need to look like Mike fucking Napoli. Nothing screams “I know a fuckton about craft beers” quite like a dude who has a shaved head and a thick-ass beard. When he takes a sip of his stout and resumes conversation with a bunch of head on his beard, that dude is just emitting ethos. He’s probably wearing Carhartt construction pants and has a Pantera sticker on his pick-up, because that dude’s a total badass. .
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