Various beer news outlets linked to an article about a list of ten difficult truths to dating a beer nerd. Writer Aaron Goldfarb, of firstwefest.com recently married his girlfriend (congrats Aaron!) and they had a discussion about the more “difficult” situations that arise when dating a beer nerd.
I loved the idea of labeling himself beer nerd as it certainly captures the essences of being singularly obsessed with drinking the deliciousness that is craft beer. Google defines nerd thusly:
- a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.
- a single-minded expert in a particular technical field.
The first definition is disparaging and harkens back to a time when movies like Revenge of the Nerds really solidified “nerds” as detestable people with no social good graces the definition has shifted more towards the second definition; someone with a single-minded expertise in a particular field.
It may be less popular to suggest that while there are of course sci-fi nerds, comic book nerds, and video games nerds I am of the opinion that they are also NASCAR nerds, football nerds, and music nerds. That having an expertise and borderline obsession with any field is enough to push you into nerdom. It is a label that should be embraced with pride and honor not derision.
Aaron’s list is a defense and celebration of the quirks of dating a beer nerd/geek/enthusiast. I wanted to echo his thoughts and add a few comments of my own to the list.
- You’ll Be Forced To Sit In A Dark Bar — Like This One — On Bright And Sunny Days
Guilty: I’m a huge fan of being outdoors on beautiful days but sometimes great places have great events with great beer and I’m torn between wanting to go run around the neighborhood, get lost biking, or disappear into the woods on a hike or spend an afternoon with fellow beer geeks enjoying an afternoon of delicious beer. Thankfully many craft beer bars are meeting halfway with outside seating so you can get the best of both worlds. [Personally I blame the lack of open container laws. If I could go enjoy a beer at the local park on a beautiful summer afternoon while playing softball I would. Regrettably such actions are illegal.]
- Whenever You Travel, You’ll Always Have To Go Way Off-Route To Find Some Obscure Store or Bar or Brewery.
Guilty: On my recent vacation to upstate New York I did manage to spend an entire day driving around the state of Vermont specifically to hit up Hill Farmstead and Prohibition Pig which worked out to essentially driving to Pittsburgh, then Erie, and back home to Lancaster in a single day. Though that trip was planned around rainy weather which excluded outdoor fun, offered an amazing view of the resplendent beauty of rural Vermont, and world-class beer. Why would you ever complain about such a thing?
- You’ll Spend Countless Hours Of Your Life In Warehouses And Industrial Parks If You Date A Beer Geek Because Those Are The Only Places Breweries Are Located.
Not Guilty: While I have visited a bunch of breweries in my time a beer geek I can only think of a few breweries that were really in warehouse districts. Hopping Frog comes to mind as one where the brewery was located next to nothing but warehouses but the brewery itself was nice, quaint, and enjoyable. Most breweries are realizing that location means something for beer tourism. Breweries like Yards that have river front property or Tröegs who built-in the world’s chocolate capital have leveraged their breweries being destinations themselves. Rather than being just concrete boxes with beer inside.
- He’ll Think Brewery T-Shirts Are Always Appropriate Attire No Matter The Occasion.
Guilty: While I have a few beer related t-shirts that have come into regular rotation I don’t think that a brewery t-shirt is always appropriate. I just think t-shirts are always appropriate attire. Though I will occasionally put on some spit and polish if I feel compelled.
- He’ll Think Other Geeks Are Impressed By His Obscure Beer Shirts
Guilty: I wouldn’t have thought so until last week when I was riding the train back from Philadelphia. I had a fellow passenger inquire about my Hill Farmstead t-shirt that I happened to be wearing. He explained that visiting the brewery was on his “bucket list” and he wanted to know if I had been there and if it was worth the trip to Vermont. While I certainly don’t think the t-shirt made me “cooler” in anyone’s eyes it was a nice ice-breaker. [Though I have also been called out for wearing a Victory t-shirt while buying Tröegs beer in their brewery store. Oops!]
- You’ll Find Yourself With Nothing To Do For The First Ten Minutes You Sit Down At A Bar As He Meticulously Studies The Beer Menu
Guilty: I do want to take a quick pass over the options available, especially at places that aren’t local that might have beer I can’t get anywhere else. I also am always the guy who asks about what the “seasonal” beers are that aren’t listed explicitly on the beer menu. Though I usually am pretty quick to decide and don’t have to be the first one to have the beer list.
- He’ll Never Want To Take Photos Of You — Only Of His Beers
Not Guilty: While I do photograph beer for check-ins when it isn’t too socially awkward to do so I’m also generally quite the shutterbug and am taking photographs of just about anything and everything. Including friends when good memories should be saved.
- You’ll Have To Find Ways To Occupy Your Time While He ‘Check-In’ His Beers
Massively Guilty: I have grown lax attempting to check-in every beer I have drunk this year for purposes of statistical analysis at the end of 2014 I have done a pretty reasonable job of getting new and/or great beers checked-in with regularity. I try rather hard to check-in beers while someone is in the bathroom or no one is paying attention to me to be less awkward about it but I know that sometimes I get caught in the middle of a check-in and feel bad about it. [At least it is only once per beer and isn’t simultaneously having a text message conversation while enjoying someone’s company live.]
- He’ll Never Let Anyone Else Pick Bars Or Restaurants
Not Guilty: I have an opinion when going out as to where I would like to spend an evening and I do go places for their beer selection. My personal preferences depend largely on the goal of why I’m going out. If it is to eat, then beer is a secondary concern. If it is to have fun then beer is a secondary concern. And if there is a group I’m entirely content to let democracy run its course. I have my favorite watering holes and frequent them enough that I don’t have to worry about maximizing rare beer potential every time I go out some place.
- You’ll Have No Room To Store Any Other Food In Your Home Because There Are Bottles And Cans And Growlers In Every Last Corner Space
Guilty: My refrigerator might have various degrees of crowdedness when it comes to being full of beer and there are always a few bomber bottles to share when people are over. I don’t always have the fridge full to the extreme but I do manage to keep it pretty well stocked with craft beer. And I don’t have an abundance of growlers. Though my growing pint glass collection is starting to get a little out of hand.
- You’ll Be Bored While He Discusses Beer With Fellow Beer Geeks.
- You’ll Wonder Why Half The Beer He Is Buying Isn’t Even For Him
- You’ll Be Bored As He Has To Talk To The Bar Owner For Twenty Minutes
- He’ll Be Busy Home Brewing For Half The Weekend
- You’ll Feel Ashamed That Drinkers Everywhere Know Him By Name And Preference
- You’ll Get Annoyed As He Stares At A Fridge Full Of Beer Whining That He Has Nothing To Drink
- He’ll Spend Way Too Much Money On Beer
- He’ll Force You To Try “Great” Beer You Won’t Like
I know that I’m a beer nerd as much as the next guy. I’m guilty of most of these flaws. I just hope that despite my enthusiasm for drinking a variety of great beer that I am also encouraging of other people to try something new and exciting when they go grab a beer themselves.
Variety is the spice of life and I just want to encourage people to try more beer.
Do you have anything to add to the list? Do you think I’m guilty of all the above and more? Do you think any of these are unfair? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.