The 19 Types of Beer Snobs, Ranked by Obnoxiousness
As craft beer has grown from a scrappy upstart confined to a few regions to a huge industry with a major presence in every state, beer snobbery has grown up along with it. However, not all forms of snobbery are created equal -- some are mildly amusing, others are downright infuriating. Because beer snobs (probably?) won't openly broadcast themselves as such, here's a field guide to dealing with them, ranked by how difficult it is to deal with them. Happy drinking!
19. The Evangelist
Always looking to win a few converts, The Evangelist brings a few choice selections and a hefty supply of tasting glasses to any social gathering. What, you weren’t planning on drinking a 15% ABV Russian imperial stout at your nephew’s christening? Just try a little. On the downside, The Evangelist can be a bit pushy. The upside? Free beer!
18. The Sampler
No matter the situation, Samplers always requests a preview taste at the bar, you know, in order to make an informed decision -- aka, find some minute defect with it and then ask for the beer they planned on ordering all along.
17. Life of the Release Party
Tickets? Check. Sleeping bag? Check. Respect of the other three people in line who decided to arrive at 2pm THE DAY BEFORE? Check. No one's really sure how Life of the Release Party affords to spend the bulk of his waking hours either waiting in line for beer or traveling to wait in line for beer. But everyone is sure that that's the most gloriously appointed pretzel necklace they've ever seen.
16. The Barrel Baron
If it didn't come out of a bourbon barrel or a brandy barrel or some other oak vessel that previously contained a fine spirit, it barely qualifies as beer. And don't you DARE come at The Barrel Baron with that weak "oak aged" wood-chip noise. It's garbage. But please stay and help finish that 19% bomber. The Barrel Baron cannot drink alone for safety reasons.
15. The Trader
Parlayed a Surly Darkness and a Dark Lord into a Chocolate Rain, which he combined with some Hill Farmstead stuff he traded for last summer to land an apple brandy barrel-aged Hunahpu's that’s damn near impossible to find. Has yet to try any of these beers. Ask about opening that Hunah and The Trader will look at you like you've just casually asked about acquiring one of his kidneys. The Trader needs BOTH kidneys. Well, probably. What do you have to trade?
14. The Sudden True Believer
The speed with which The Sudden True Believer transformed from "liking to spice up the usual rotation of domestics with a Sam Adams on occasion" to "dividing the day equally between keeping up on Untappd and pricing beer fridges on eBay" is kind of adorable, if occasionally alarming.
13. Captain Ahab
Almost scored a Vanilla Bean Assassin back in 2014, and has been hunting that white whale ever since. Probably doesn't have a peg leg, but might! Definitely talks about that beer more than friends and family are comfortable with.
12. The Glassware Obsessive
"Haha, that's a funny joke you're making, pretending like you're about to pour that double IPA into a pilsner gla--OH GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP PLEASE STOP TAKE THIS TULIP BEFORE SOMEONE SEES YOU!"
11. The Fresh-Head
"Haha, that's a funny joke you're making, pretending like you're going to drink an 11-day-old IPA that's been shipped across seven state--OH GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING PLEASE STOP AND DRINK FROM THIS CROWLER I ACQUIRED 20 MINUTES AGO BEFORE SOMEONE SEES YOU!"
10. The Brewery Fanboy
Here's a game: Count the total number of breweries represented on the Fanboy/Fangirl's person -- hats, shirts, patches, buttons, tattoos, etc. Then strike up a conversation and see how many brewery owners they name-drop within the first three minutes. Then excuse yourself to go get another beer before you get a headache.
9. The Self-Important Homebrewer
Will inevitably second-guess the beer he's consuming with talk of hop varieties and bottle conditioning. Has made one decidedly mediocre pale ale via a kit from last Christmas.
8. The Groupthinker
"Hey, this beer is pretty good, I like it. Or, I think I like it? Hmm, let me scan a representative sampling of BeerAdvocate reviews to make sure I like it. Wow, only an 82? Actually, the finish is a bit off for me. I'm not sure I like it."
7. The Trend Chaser
One summer it's all about gose, the next summer any IPA that isn't preceded by the words "New England" is met with audible disdain. Uses the phrasing "so hot right now" but, like, not in the fun ironic Mugatu from Zoolander way.
6. The Professor
Won’t even listen to you unless you’re AT LEAST taking Cicerone classes. But oh Lord, can The Professor ever deliver a lecture. There probably won't be slides. But don't rule it out.
5. The Music Man
You know how certain people will be really into bands, but then the bands get popular and more casual music fans start to like the band, and then those people get really pissy and say the band sold out and they never liked the band that much anyway? It's like that, but with breweries. God forbid anyone expand beyond their early nanobrewing days in an attempt to be able to afford a trip to the dentist or whatever.
4. The Master Debater
You: “I tried this beer, it was pretty good.”
TMD: “Get ready to spend the next five minutes finding a polite exit while I harangue you about your beer preferences, even though, in reality, I think that beer is good, too.”
3. The One-Upper
Oh, you’ve got a good beer? That’s great, but The One-Upper had one that is better. God, it’s so much better. It's tempting to tolerate The One-Upper because they'll decline to drink the swill you brought and instead request everyone drink theirs in order to assert superiority. But they're so damn smug about it, it somehow makes the beer taste worse. Even though it IS a good beer!
2. The Speculator
Definitely works in finance. Definitely got into beer a couple of years after the trend had peaked, but had enough money to buy an enviable cellar in just a few months. Definitely enjoys buying up mass quantities of special releases and selling them later at a profit way more than actually drinking beer. Definitely a terrible tipper.
1. The Condescender
"Wow, you're drinking THAT?" Indeed, The Condescender gleefully looks down on anyone drinking a light beer, a formerly craft beer that's recently sold out, or even a craft beer not up to The Condescender's exacting standards. When not directly shaming others when it comes to their beer choices, The Condescender can be seen engaging in political trolling on strangers' Facebook pages and correcting the grammar of casual acquaintances.
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Ben Robinson is Thrillist's chief creative officer who would NEVER want you to one-up him, and loves employing reverse psychology. Ask him what he's drinking: @BenjoRobinson.