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?


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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