Generalisations about beer culture

I, Bitter Drinker

British people are often culturally programmed to choose a certain type of tipple, even before they touch a drop.

Consider the socially-conditioned bitter drinker, a type we know personally and well. These are blokes who don’t really have strong feelings about beer but know what they’re not: lager louts, party animals, pretentious, ‘continental’, fizzy. A pint of bitter (John Smith’s Extra Smooth, London Pride, whatever’s at hand) just fits their identity, and that’s that.

Perhaps it’s that a pint of bitter, though some might call it boring, seems to them vaguely counter-cultural — representative of a kind of quiet contrariness, like indie music and rambling. It signals their place in a minority, where they feel at home, without being at all ostentatious.

None of the blokes we’ve got in mind are CAMRA members. Bitter is bitter is bitter. For them, it’s not something to campaign for or think too much about.

What would ever make the confirmed bitter drinker order something different at the bar? It’s hard to imagine. Our suspicion is that the more you market at him, the more stubborn he’ll get: “Pint of bitter, please.”

3 replies on “I, Bitter Drinker”

Could it be that some people just prefer a bit of crystal malt & fuggles to massively hopped IPA’s?

I started off as a bitter drinker. The resident northerner at Uni who drank Tetley’s when everyone else drank Carlsberg. Then I realised that it was better on cask then keg, then started more different beers on cask…..and then ended up joining CAMRA!

Bitter is the one beer style more then any other that turned me into a beer geek. I like lots of other beer styles but I’m not about to turn my back on bitter just because it’s not trendy.

Don’t think you’ve got what we’re trying to say here. (Or, to put that another way, we haven’t expressed it clearly enough.)

We’re thinking of people who have no interest in beer; who drink beer to get tipsy and as part of socialising; and have decided, nonetheless, that if they have to drink something, it’s going to be bitter. Not asking them to change or criticising them! And don’t think this describes you anyway.

Plus bitter is trendy, you slave to fashion, you.

I was one of those people in my late teens / early twenties myself, drinking bitter when nobody else my my social circle drank anything other then lager or alcopops. It tasted better then those drinks and was better value as well.

You could point out tht a lot has changed since Chelmsford in 1998-2002 but that’s where I was beer wise back then.

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