Beer Break

Beer Break Vol. 3, No. 25
A beer lover by any other name ...

April 3, 2003

When we asked a couple of weeks ago for input on what term beer lovers (that's you) use to describe themselves, we thought maybe we'd take the few nominations and turn it into a quick poll.


We still plan to offer up a poll all visitors may vote in, but more than a hundred of you provided us with so many suggestions we've got to figure out a way to fairly narrow the field.

A bit surprisingly, the favored phrase or word is beer snob. Aren't beer drinkers supposed to be the antithesis of snobs? Perhaps, but many of you wrote that it is one thing to be a snob in general, another to be that picky about the beer your drink.

Greg Hecht put it about as well as any of the snobs:

"When my friends call me a 'beer nut' or a 'beer fan,' I always correct them. I'm a 'beer snob,' and that's really just the best way to describe it. Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade! :=)"

A reader named John, however, took a different view:

"I prefer to refer to myself as a beer aficionado. Some folks I hang with refer to themselves as beer snobs but I see too much merit in too many beers, even those often scoffed at as 'BMC trash' by home brewers, to refer to myself as a 'snob.'"

David A McKelvie echoed similar sentiments:

"I my humble opinion I too think simple is better and thus I feel that 'Beer Enthusiast' best describes those of us who not only just drink beer; but enjoy it in all of its diversity. There are as you indicated legions of beer drinkers; but those who appreciate the many types of beer, while still a significantly sized group, number far less than those who think any cold beer out of the frig is good. Beer enthusiasts understand the efforts of producing craft beers and the fine distinctions in taste, bouquet, color, clarity and, and for lack of a better word, heartiness of beers and the broad range of beers from Pilsners to Ales to Stouts. A beer enthusiast may well like what comes from the big beer companies; but craves more variety in types and resultant experiences that can only result from having a diversity of beers to chose from. So if I were to apply a proper name to people like me who have a strong appreciation for beer in all its forms it would have to be 'Beer Enthusiast.'"

We received messages that were really too long to repeat in this space, and very short ones. One of the more succinct came from Bob:

"Yo Ed,
I just call myself 'the beer guy.' I think that says it all. Females should use 'the beer gal.'

Almost as simple would be "beer fans." This note wasn't signed:

"That's what we are, Beer Fans, or Brew Fans. Simple, to the point, but lets everyone know where we stand. Not only do we drink beer, we "cheer" for it, especially when it's tasty. Haven't we all done it? You ask what kind of beer there is at a particular establishment, expecting the same weak fare. Then we are told that there is a delicious microbrew or other tasty beer on tap, the usual response is, 'Yes!!'"

In the spirit of Gregg Smith's essay favoring Cervisaphile, Tony Rockwell offered this:

"Devotee, specialist, follower. These are all terms that could be used to describe a beer lover. Authority, expert, aficionado, fan, addict - I've looked 'em all up and none seem to do justice in the description. The only word that comes close is connoisseur. As defined in the Oxford paperback dictionary:
"/kn"s:/ noun (often + of, in) person with good taste and judgment.

"That is simple enough, not too fancy - just tells it like it is. Beer Connoisseur, connoisseur of beer, or perhaps "beeroisseur"! We deserve our own new word. My definition:

/kn"s:/ noun (often + of, in) person with good taste and judgment regarding beer."

A particularly long message from Cameron, who calls himself the "Insane Brewer," reminded us what we already knew, that we aren't going to find a perfect term. He concluded:

"What the heck does this odd, rambling story have to do with anything? Well, I guess what I'm trying to say is that you really can't put a single label on all the people that really enjoy beer. You have those that are all over the map, and those that really like a particular style. So, I tell you what. You folks head on over here. I'll serve the first round, but after that, the taps are in the garage, and we'll call ourselves whatever sounds good at that particular moment."

And, of course, one of our favorites we told you about last week:

"Barley Literati." The educated class of barley.

We're not going to try to list all the alternatives, but we'll figure out a way to present the best of them and let users offer feedback. We'll have details next week.

Meanwhile, a few more synonyms for you (offered in the spirit that they were sent to us):

Beerologist, libationist, beer devotee, wert guru, beer maven, beer expert, hophead, pisspot, a tippler, a grog artist, a boozer, a beer buff, a slops surveyor, an ale addict, a hops handler, a quaffer, and the chairman of the brewed.

And then there was a note from Alan (who obviously reads us in England):

"In Sheffield beer lovers are generally called ale carts."

Tasting notes
From the Celebrator Beer News Blind Tasting Panel:

Brewed by AleSmith Brewing in California
Orange-amber color with an impressively big, thick head. Big floral hop aromas with hints of spice. Wonderfully creamy and smooth with big hop character and a magnificent mélange of flavors. Finishes clean and leaves you wanting more.

Brewed by Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) in England
Slightly sweet nose with hints of lemon, citrus and licorice. Tart and hoppy but unassertive with a slightly thin body and hints of nuttiness.