Beer! It is, and has been for millennia, truly one of the foundations of civilization. Along with foole, beer allowed the Pyramids and other great public works of ancient Egypt and it allowed the rise of the great cities in Europe despite the dangerously contaminated water supplies they endured.
In the words of the American poet John Ciardi, “Fermentation and civilization are inseparable.”
Yes, beer has always been the Everyman’s drink; the preferred quaff of Joe Six-Pack – and Jane Six-Pack of course – after a long day toiling as the often forgotten and sometimes lambasted backbone of society. It’s long been a convivial beverage that had escaped the ceremonies, snobbery, and elitism that is so entrenched in wine.
Sadly, times are changing in America and the glorious rebirth of the American craft brewing industry has also birthed the misbegotten by-blows known as beer snobs.
There’s beer geeks and there’s beer snobs, and I’m a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool member of the beer geek community. How I differentiate between a beer geek and a beer snob is this: they could have an equal amount of knowledge about beer; they could have equally awesome palates; [they] can articulate everything about the qualities of beer; [and they can] tell you the history of brewing styles. Their knowledge might be the same. But a beer geek loves beer because he or she loves beer, and they want to learn more always, try new beers, and share that with the people they love. Whereas beer snobs try to know as much as they can about beer as a power point and to lord it over people, or to stick out as an expert in a field of neophytes.
Beer lovers must not repeat the mistakes of the wine enthusiasts and devolve into snobbishness, elitism, and exclusion.
We lovers of beers certainly do not want to go down the road which led to 86% of all the wine drank in America being drunk by only 12% of the American population. This is especially true since 97% of the breweries in America are described as craft or microbreweries yet they account for 5% of the total market share.
Staying True To Joe Six-Pack is paramount irrespective of what each of our preferred six-packs might be.