I hadn’t logged into Reddit in ages and decided to see what was going on in that neck of the woods of the internet. Turns out, a comment I made several months ago recommending Blue Moon as an alternative to Oberon sparked a single comment essentially telling me I’ve invited wrath from all the beer nerds. Dude wasn’t mean, but this rubbed me the wrong way and sparked a week long, yet surprisingly civil, “Fuck you” competition back and forth. He doesn’t support big beer, and I accept their place in the market.
We live in a corporate world. Yes big business is bullshit, but given their reach in the markets they represent, you might as well accept their place and look for positives. They have power, and we have power as well but they are firmly rooted and nothing we can do will ever fully remove them or prevent them from using whatever tactics you find unsavory.
There are brands that are owned by one of the big three. There’s no avoiding the fact they want to put their hat in the “craft” ring. That doesn’t automatically lump their beer in the shit pile. In fact, some of their beers could be used as gateways to many styles that are better exemplified by craft brewers. Remember that your palate wasn’t fully developed when you started drinking. I know it’s hard to step outside your bubble of awesome beer geniusness, but take a long, hard and honest look at where you started drinking beer. It was most likely something cheap and awful by your own standards.
Big brewing is not the enemy anymore. It’s a starting point. A conversation pivot for beer styles, and, whether or not you want to hear it, a standard of excellence for brewing. I’m sick of the attitude many people take up when “educating” (read: telling) people about beers. Many take the tone like their audience is walking into an orphanage with a fucking bomb. Everyone has preferences and all the self proclaimed beer nerds, snobs, ninjas, gurus, evangelists or any cheeky adjective who think it’s all “craft” or nothing need to lighten the fuck up.
The craft beer movement isn’t hurting. It’s made consistent market share gains the past 10 years while big brewing continues to decline. Several craft breweries not named Boston Beer Co. are expanding across the country and even into Europe. You’re fighting the good fight, but now craft beer deson’t need fighters. What it needs is people to guide and nurture the conversations of newbies, and despite what you keep telling yourself, you’re not harboring healthy conversation.
You don’t need to demonstrate your dominance and beer superiority. Be their Sherpa. Answer questions. Teach them about styles. Help them them find their own fucking way instead of trying to press your palate/beliefs on them. Beer is slowly becoming the new political/religious conversation where people can’t comprehend how their views might not be universal and just start pushing everything they think is right onto others. It’s not your place to tell someone what they like. As a beer fan it would be cool if you, you know, made it a welcoming environment that people WANT to join.
Think how market share of craft could sky rocket if you made it a friendly, inclusive, enjoyable, dick-free zone. Seriously. Take a 3 minute time out and think that over.
You don’t start learning about physics at the quantum level, so stop trying to fucking show off by talking down to beer newbies with your “years” of beer know-it-all-ness. Start with some history. Start with some process. That’s “education,” not fire hosing all the things that are wrong with big beer. Beer won’t advance that way. Sometimes, advancement may include beers like Blue Moon that happen to be well made by large ass breweries. Yes, I said it. Blue Moon is a good beer, and can make an excellent jumping off point.
“Oh, you enjoy Bue Moon? Then you should try Such-and-Such beer from So-and-So Brewing. It’s a similar styled wheat beer and magnificent!”
“Really? What designates a wheat beer? Are they all like this?”
“Well, as it happens.. (insert something intelligent, true and knowledgable here)”
Is that such a preposterous thought?
That’s all I have to say. This trend has worn out its fucking welcome and isn’t helping the industry. The only real enemy of craft beer might now be ourselves.