In my journey through the world of craft beer, I have met many fine people. In fact, I would say the percentage of warm and friendly is higher in the microbrewed world then it most other industries. It seems the only negatives I hear are from people with an outdated or strictly college view of beer.
I recently attended a community meeting in support of a new beer bar and restaurant and what I heard was the stereotypical rant that beer drinkers are rowdy drunks. They did not want that presence in their neighborhood. These accusations are not leveled by stupid people, just people who have not realized that there is a wide chasm between good beer and beer in brown paper bags. And they have obviously been avoiding all news outlets in Los Angeles because the information is out there and can easily found be in print or online.
I would normally say fine. They have missed the boat. But these same people can easily differentiate between someone who visits a wine bar and a person who enjoys fortified wines. They can easily differentiate between a person who enjoys an aged French goat cheese and the guy in line eating sliced American cheese. But for some reason, separating me from “Mr. Are the Mountains Blue Yet?” is inconceivable. To them a wine and cheese store is classy and a beer bar is a den of iniquity.
One of my favorite headlines from the satirical newspaper, The Onion is “Stereotypes are a real time saver.” It is so true. That being said, I don’t need these community minded people to become hardcore brew fanatics. I just want them to put down their trendy PBR or Stella and realize that every hobby, pursuit or love has gradations. Not all beer drinkers are drunken frat boys. What these people are doing is not only insulting me and my friends, they are also insulting frat boys too. They are perpetuating an image of beer from the time of generic cans with only the word “Beer” on them. Los Angeles is filled with beer drinkers of all stripes, from people chasing after Parabola to newbies just starting to enjoy better beer.
Now that I am finished ranting, I hereby challenge any NIMBY loving community advocate to visit a classy beer bar with me so that they can see that us beer folk are not that outdated picture of drunken excess. But that offer is only open to people with open minds.
One thing that these anti’s could also do is visit one of the many upcoming charity events that have beer as a major component. The Los Angeles Craft Beer Crawl is on September 25th with proceeds going to Heal the Bay. “The attendees will have well over 50 craft beers to sample across seven different bars and restaurants all within close proximity in Downtown Los Angeles. The event is a collaboration between Cedd Moses of 213 Ventures and Hallie Beaune and Christina Perozzi, aka “The Beer Chicks.”
And on October 2, BAM Fest 2010 takes place in Santa Monica with proceeds going to the 18th Street Art Center, featuring 20+ breweries, organic food, open artist studios and music. Before September 1, tickets are $30. The beer is from the fabulous Library Alehouse, a bastion of the community known for charitable giving.
Your beer of the week is a shandy. And some people just are not going to like it. Some will find it not beery enough and others will find it too sweet. But as part of a growing beer education it is something to try. Leinenkugel‘s Summer Shandy is a mix of lemonade and a pale wheat beer that clocks in at 4.2% alcohol.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.
September 7, 2010 at 1:26 PM
change will come slowly. Remember when wine drinkers were stigmatize as “winos?” And scotch drinkers just simply as alcoholics? Many of us drink responsibly and our destination is to enjoy the flavors of a well-crafted fermented beverage, not to get shit-faced. There’s a difference between people who drink to get drunk, whatever the beverage, and those who savor a good wine, whiskey or beer, but the general public takes a while to realize this. And the advertisers and marketers who assume that beer drinkers are idiotic frat boys whose only consuming interests are beer and getting laid, in that order, are not helping. As a group, I think we craft beer drinkers are iconoclasts and don’t much care what the general public thinks. Conventional wisdom after all is often just not true.
September 7, 2010 at 1:01 PM
I agree with your numbers and your reasoning but I believe we can get out from under that umbrella. Even if it means being rained on for awhile.
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September 2, 2010 at 5:03 PM
I share your sentiments, but I have to point out that even though the number of craft beer drinkers is on the rise, it’s still quite small–less than 5% of the total number of beer drinkers in the U.S. That means that more than 90% of beer drinkers, those who drink Bud, Miller, Coors and their imported equivalents like Corona and Heineken, really do fit the stereotypical boozy frat boy stereotype. They don’t drink Coors Light for the flavor, they drink it to get shit-faced, and unfortunately that stereotype is an umbrella for the rest of us who really do appreciate good beer and its many flavors.
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