Are we beervangelists?

beervangelism.jpgLots of people who have an interest in beer, including us, aren’t just content to drink the good stuff themselves and let everyone else get on with it. They feel a powerful need to spread the word; to save those sinners who are wallowing in a world of nitro-keg Guinness and extra cold lagers. But what business is it of ours what other people drink? Why should we care what other people drink?

There are three possible reasons that spring to mind.

  1. Market economics. As CAMRA’s founding fathers worked out, a reduced demand for real ale (or any nice beer at all) means that pubs stop selling it. We want to increase demand for our favourite tipples to keep them on the market.
  2. Altruism. We know this stuff is good and we want to share our joy with others. Watching someone drink a bad beer when you know they could be drinking something delicious is hard.
  3. Know-it-all-ism. The difference between a nerd and a geek – the need to lecture and correct people.

Number three is a bad reason. People who drink bad beer aren’t “idiots”. They’re not doing anyone any harm. But if reason number two moves you to recommend a beer to a friend, is that such a bad thing?

Bailey

21 thoughts on “Are we beervangelists?”

  1. Well put, particularly on point 3. Having worked in a pub quite a bit recently, I’m afraid the most irritating customers are often real ale drinkers! 😉 Seriously, thought, you can’t slag someone off on the basis of what they drink. Unless it’s WKD Blue, that is. Although to be fair I don’t think I’ve been to a pub for a long time that serves alcopops – that’s what avoiding Wetherspoons has done for me.

  2. #2 can seem like #3 if you’re not too careful. But I haven’t met a person who would turn down a free beer, as long as it isn’t revolting to them.

  3. I like the concept of Beerevangelism.
    I do believe most of us beer bloggers practice it in one way or another. The beers I review in my blog are from smaller producers and the places are mostly those which stock those beers or brewpubs.
    I will never call idiot someone who, for example, drinks Stella or Corona while in Prague, but I might ask them why they drink it and will try to talk them into tasting some real lager.

  4. But you see, they aren’t. One of my best mates drinks lager a lot and … oh wait a minute. He also eats KFC and MacDonalds. Actually, he is an idiot. I picked a bad example.

  5. I’m very much a number 1 kinda guy: every glass of decent Irish beer I can convince someone to drink and every time I drag the unwitting through the doors of one of our oh-so-rare decent pubs, increases the likelihood of a regular supply of good beers for me.

    It’s only recently I’ve discovered that number 2 actually works: that lots of people will freely choose decent beer over heavily-marketed rubbish if it’s available. Sadly, it rarely is where I live.

    I’m a raving know-nothing-know-it-all, but I do believe in drink-and-let-drink. All I ask is that people give something else a try, and if they prefer Heineken then they’re welcome to it. It’s the willful ignorance that bugs me. “I won’t drink that because I’ve never heard of it”. Grr.

  6. “I won’t drink that because I’ve never heard of it”
    I hate that one too. I’ve got no problem if someone prefers Heineken to Svijany, as long as they’ve drunk both, that’s their thing.
    Another one that drives me a bit mad. Czech beer wisdom says that the quality of a pint depends 50% on the people who made it, and 50% on the person who’s tapping it. Something very true, but that many Czechs seem to ignore when it comes to lesser nown brands. I had this conversation several times.
    “Have you ever drunk Rohozec (or any other small brand?)”
    “Yes, it’s crap”
    “Really? Where did you have it?”
    “Went to a village football game in the middle of summer and some bloke was tapping it in plastic cups. That beer is crap”

  7. This is a discussion I’d love to see run and run, as I think it’s very telling.

    My earlier jokey comments aside, I’m finding that most of my friends *do* drink good beer – only one (Dryz) stands out as a swill drinker, and he’s a bit embarrassed about it and frequently tries to trade up (sometimes successfully). Perhaps it’s due to the “middle class cultural prejudice” that Boak/Bailey identified in a recent post?

  8. Very interesting topic. Have to go along with the “won’t drink that, haven’t heard etc” mentality being particularly aggravating. I was speaking to a (seemingly) intelligent, smartly suited, guy the other day and we were discussing why he drinks Stella. He told me he doesn’t need to try real ale to know he won’t like it, just as he doesn’t need to jump into the North Sea to know he won’t like it. Sorry, but without knowing anymore about him, I know he’s an idiot.

  9. I think the people who suffer most from the beervangelists are those that are just starting out on their journey. I remember reading a beer forum where someone explained they were getting into beer, and then waxed lyrical about Paulaner wheatbeer. Lots of forum members started criticising him/her, explaining there were better wheatbeers, that Paulaner was part of the evil Heineken corporation etc etc.

    That’s partly why I don’t go on forums – the standard attitude seems to be “whatever you know about beer, I know more, and I’ll tell you in the bluntest possible way”

  10. In fact, look at my patronising phrase “just starting out on their journey”. Typical bloody beervangelist!

  11. We should make a difference between beerevangelism and beerfundamentalism, which I think is the case with the reaction to the Paulaner lover.
    Im all for spreading the gospel of good beer, but in a reasonable way.
    There are some doomed souls that can’t be saved, as in the case told by Tyson. I’m sorry for them, they aren’t worth my time, I will keep on looking for those willing to be saved from the evil claws of the Eurolagers.

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  13. This is such a great topic.

    I was turned on to “real” beer by my friends who brewed the stuff. They didn’t talk about it– they just offered it to drink, and it was amazing.

    So I started to want to try as many different styles, etc. and explore real ale in all its manifestations. The problem is, while doing this exploration one must suffer countless #3’s– beer pedants! It’s tinged with a bit of male-answer-syndrome, and can really sour even a good pint for me if someone is talking my ear off about what I should or shouldn’t be drinking!

  14. Ally — thanks for popping in.

    I had to google male answer syndrome. Ha ha. This is a funny explanation.

    Viz magazine has summed up this kind of behaviour as “having a beer degree” — the belief while drunk that you are an expert on any given subject.

  15. Well, in a certain way, it´s a sincerest form of flattery.

    I liked the concept of Beervangelism, but in no moment i said that the post was mine. I wrote: “Li num fórum cervejeiro (me desculpem, mas não consigo me lembrar qual é o fórum), a idéia do Beerevangelism…”. In english: “I read in a forum about beer (sorry, but can´t remember which is the forum), the idea of the Beerevangelism…”

    Sorry mate, i didn´t want to copy your post.

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