Friday, April 23, 2010

Just Writing This Post Made My Head Hurt

The trouble with getting pretty knowledgeable on a subject is that you get much more susceptible to getting really annoyed by those not in the know. For instance, if you know how to read and write English, and properly use a comma, this blog probably makes your head explode with frustration. Sorry! This frustration with others' ignorance grows exponentially when what you know a lot about is something that everyday lay people think they know a lot about. For instance, my wife is a teacher. She went to school for it, got a grad degree in education, all the stuff you'd do if you want to actually know something about teaching kids. The problem is, every ol' a-hole in the world (myself included) thinks they know what's the best way to teach kids. So when she hears non-educator types talk about what is and isn't good for children in the classroom, she gets justifiably upset.

Well, I don't know about education (though this doesn't stop me from telling Liz I know better than her on the subject), but I do know about beer. I mean I don't know as much as lot of people, but I'd say I know more than most. So when people talk about beer in an idiotic way, as I am wont to do with education, it gets under my skin. However, I'd like to think I'm not a snob about this stuff. I mean beer is the ultimate egalitarian beverage. I'm sure I said some idiotic things about beer before I knew what was what. I'm sure I say a lot of idiotic things about beer now. That said, not all beer misspeak is created equal. Some is way more frustrating than others. I'll explain my levels of frustration, using actual examples of dumb things I have heard people say about beer.

Three Levels of Frustration.
Level One: Talking Out of Complete Inexperience but with No Pretense Whatsoever

Friend of Mine Drinking A Brooklyn Blast, Brooklyn's Double IPA: Wow, this tastes like Guinness.

This type of beer misspeak I have no problem with. She wasn't trying to impress anyone. Her basis of comparison was just very limited. I'm guessing the only beers she had prior to this beer were Macros and Guinness. If the only two colors you had ever seen in your life were green and blue and someone showed you something orange, you might say "this looks like blue." You'd be wrong, but only because of your limited prior experiences with color. Not your fault.

Level Two: Wrong on the Facts When You Should Know Better

Customer: What beer would you recommend?
Bartender: What kind of beers do you like?
Customer: I'm typically an ale drinker.
Bartender: What beer do you typically get?
Customer: Yuengling

C'mon man! Let's look at the bottle:

Hmmmm. Hmmmmmm. Notice anything in big block letters on the bottle? But, you may say, that's not fair! What if he only ever ordered it on draft. Ok. Let's see how that would look:

"LAGER"!!!! You typically drink ales and when the bartender asks for a beer you typically drink, you name a lager. You should know better. And you told a bartender you drink ales, why? Just to say something? How about if you don't know, just say, I don't know, I normally get Yuenglings. C'mon!

Level Three: I Am Going To Punch You In Your Face

Guy At A Harpoon Beer Tasting Talking Really Loudly and Annoyingly Through Everything the Harpoon Rep Was Saying, Trying Hard to Impress His Friends With His Supposed Beer Snobbery: Ohhhhh. This beer (Harpoon's Belgian White Ale) is really hoppy.

Seriously dood, I'm going to murder you. Harpoon's Belgian White Ale is the exact opposite of hoppy. I get that you're trying to impress all of your friends by showing off how much you know about beer (Hoppy is a word used to describe beer, so clearly it applies here!) but you're talking loudly over the guy who is trying to tell you what the beer actually tastes like! And you literally could not be more wrong! I'm not going to go to a wine tasting and start shouting, in the hopes of everyone around me hearing me and being super impressed, "Oh, this wine is really tanniny!" That would be super douchey and idiotic! Just like this guy! I think I just set a record for sentences ending in an exclamation point in a row!

Look, the moral of the story is that if you don't know, you don't know. No harm in that. Ask questions. Learn. Don't start talking like an a-hole. My friend Paul has a giant pet peeve of people saying they saw movies they never saw. What's the point in lying in a situation like that? Similarly, what's the point in lying about your beer knowledge? It's not a super snobby community. It's not a super judgmental (of people, that is) community. If you don't know about beer, 10 times out of 10 you'll be greeted with an enthusiastic explanation and not a judgmental scoff. C'mon. Don't be that guy.

(Last night I had four Brooklyn Pilsners at City Tavern celebrating Dave's birthday and a McSorley's Brooklyn Black Lager at home)

Total Beers: 328
Where I Should Be: 306.849

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