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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