“I’m worried about the beer supply. After this case and the other case we only have one case left!”- Barney Gumbel
Something struck me yesterday as I was browsing through my Hoppy Boston Twitter feed. Some people take beer way too seriously. I am not talking about brewers and other brewery employees, beer is their career and they should care about the craft. I an referring to the beer fanatics who get in heated arguments on message boards and social media and/or routinely put their lives on hold to track down super-rare beers. I understand and appreciate the passion, but there is a thin line between a fun hobby and an unhealthy obsession. It is crazy to me how pissed off some people get when they read a negative comment about a beer they enjoy. Is it really that important that someone who you will probably never meet in person shares an opinion of a beer different from your own? Does it effect your enjoyment of said beer knowing that your appraisal isn’t universally accepted?
Beer is supposed to be fun. That should be obvious, but in all the hubbub of hunting down whalz and unicorns and rating every beer you taste online I feel like the fun part of enjoying a beer can get lost. Beer is fun to drink, fun to share and can be fun to discuss. Social media and internet message boards can enhance the experience for some people, but the your main goal as a beer drinker shouldn’t be to brag on Twitter about the rare beer you tracked down this weekend. I have used social media as a way to share this blog and to receive many great recommendations, and I understand the value of these sites. Sometimes I think it’s a good idea to step back and take a break from the online beer world to enjoy the beer you are drinking and the people you are hanging out with. With that is mind I have a challenge this weekend for my readers (and for me, since I can be guilty of over analysis and getting fired up online too).
- Try a beer this weekend that you’ve never heard of. Don’t look it up online, don’t check the scores of Untappd, Rate Beer or other websites, don’t even check to see if Hoppy Boston already wrote a review. Just select a random beer and try it with no preconceptions about whether or not you’ll enjoy it. You don’t even need to commit to a full 6-pack, many good bottle shops (like Craft Beer Cellar) allow you to buy everything in singles.
- Share some beers with your friends. I don’t mean checking in on Untappd or posting pictures on Instagram, I mean physically getting together with friends, and sharing some delicious beers. Either meet up at a bar or get together at someone’s house and have everyone bring a few bottles. Chat about the beers, or about something that has nothing to do with beer, but put your phones away and resist the urge to check in online.
- Visit a brewery you’ve never been to. Instead of filling your growlers at your favorite place branch out and try somewhere new. Don’t do any online research beyond directions and hours of operation, just show up with an open mind, sample the wares and bring something home. Your new favorite beer might be sitting undiscovered at a local establishment and you’ve been so focused on your normal stops that you’ve never even tried it.
- If you are feeling really adventurous, brew some beer of your own. I’m planning on bewing a batch this weekend, have the recipe all planned out. If you don’t have the equipment you can coordinate with someone who does, or you can make an appointment at a brew-your-own facility like Hopster’s.
Regardless of what you do, take a weekend away from the online bubble of fellow beer fanatics and just hang out, enjoy the fall weather, watch some football and sample some delicious beers. Maybe you’ll realize that all of the online arguments aren’t enhancing your enjoyment of beer as much as you thought and it’s time to relax and spend a little more time offline. Let me know if you participate in my challenge, and tell me how it goes. Cheers!