The Ten Commandments of Craft Beer

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What makes a beer nerd truly good?

We’ve been giving this some thought lately and came up with the graphic you see above.  It’s the Ten Commandments of Craft beer, a set of guidelines that we think would lead to a better world if all beer fans followed.  Of course, just like the real Ten Commandments, you may disagree.

Is there anything here you don’t think belongs or something we’ve missed?  As always, chime in below!

Also, as this is the gospel according to Jim & Don, feel free to spread it around.

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Categories: Beer

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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50 Comments on “The Ten Commandments of Craft Beer”

  1. September 29, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    What happened to the other tablet?

    • September 29, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    • September 29, 2010 at 11:25 am #

      Ha! You beat me to it Bill. I was posting the exact same clip – a classic!

    • September 29, 2010 at 11:41 am #

      I’m in! So far everything in the Sam Adams Imperial Series has been pretty terrific.

  2. September 29, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    I think this is a very solid list of commandments.

    The only one I’d take exception to is the first one. I’ll agree that most of the stuff from the big guys is crap beer but I think this commandment is in direct contradiction to the second one.

    There are some beers from BMC that are very drinkable (i.e. Killian’s) and some brands that are owned by the big guys (Hoegaarden, Bass, etc) that shouldn’t be overlooked because they’re part of something bigger.

    I’d even argue that someone should feel free to drink Blue Moon because it could be their gateway to something better. It was my wife’s gateway beer and for that we are both grateful. I can’t see either of us ever “regressing” back to that beer but I wouldn’t apologize for doing it.

    Sorry for the long-windedness but I believe that #2 on your list is the cornerstone of beer, period. I love the rest of the ideas as well but if any of them cause you to conflict with #2 then all bets are off.

    Cheers guys.

    • September 29, 2010 at 11:44 am #

      I thought the first one was important because (in my opinion) so many folks get stuck at the gate with the macrobrewers. If they move past them quickly they can have much better beer experiences. I know there’s some good gateway stuff there (Blue Moon especially) but I say run through the gate and keep going!

      And I agree that #2 is the key to everything. It’s anti-snobbery and to me that’s what beer is all about.

  3. September 29, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    I think I can sum my thoughts on these commandments as well as the current direction of the craft beer movement as a whole…. Don’t take beer so seriously. Don’t treat it like a religion that needs to be spread across the world. Enjoy what you like and share when you can.

    • September 29, 2010 at 11:46 am #

      I’m with you Matt, but “The Ten Beer Rules” makes for a lousy graphic! :)

      You’re here, so you have probably seen that while we’re a bit obsessed, we really don’t take beer all that seriously. After all, it’s beer – how serious can you be?!

      Anyway, “enjoy what you like and share when you can” is a pretty solid beer motto.

  4. September 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    I like the list and I agree with most but I also agree that the first one is somewhat snobbish and could be seen as douche-y? If someone is interested in craft beer commandments, wouldn’t they already be past the point where they might be “stuck at the gate?”

    • September 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

      The key word on the first one is “garbage” which (looking at #2) is in the eye of the beholder.

      I guess it could come off as douche-y, but the point was to move past the true macros to the good stuff.

  5. September 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    If I could add #11, I think it would be:

    XI Support Your Local Brewers

    This means everybody from the successful breweries who are doing well to the new guys on the block who are trying to give it a go to the brew pubs who will sell you a kickass growler all the way down to your buddy down the block who makes his own beer.

    • September 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

      That’s a great one, Mikey. I wish I’d thought of it when making the list. Maybe it can be on the “Lost Tablet”

      • September 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

        Maybe on the Beer Bill of Rights ;-)

  6. September 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    That graphic would make for a good shirt! It looks like you guys put a lot of thought into this, and while there is enough to nit-pic I think its a good start.

    • September 29, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

      Thanks Scott. I think there’s room for improvement, too (there always is) but overall I’m happy with how it’s turned out. T-shirts would be cool, but I wouldn’t give one to my wife – I don’t want dudes reading her boobs!

    • Brandon
      September 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

      Yes, I agree. With that much photoshop work and thought that must have gone in to it, I’m going to guess you did it at work. :)

      • September 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

        Perhaps, but it took me less than an hour. :)

  7. September 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    For an hours work, that’s really good. Nice job.

    Regarding the shirts, if the boob thing is an issue, just put it on the back or have her wear it backwards. She’ll appreciate that!

    • September 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

      I’d rather read her boobs!

  8. September 29, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Amen brothers. X is my favorite.

    -Lost

    • September 29, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

      Mine too. It should have been #1, but I saved the best for last.

      Thanks for the inspiration on that.

  9. September 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    That is a classic clip. Speaking of beer and helping others experience the beers you love, I’m going to Indiana during Christmas and haven’t forgotten the promise of Three Floyds beer. We can talk about that. And, although I deserve a serious chide for it, I’m planning on getting Don that Stagg review.

    • September 30, 2010 at 5:35 am #

      Good to hear from you Mike. Don and I both had Dark Lord at GABF, so that’s a big dog checked off the “to drink” list.

      And Don keeps talking about the Stagg, so I’m sure he’ll be pumped that you are still on the case.

      • September 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

        I’m hoping to bring some to Idaho over Thanksgiving. We’ll see about the supply.

        • September 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

          I’m sure you’ll make Don very thankful!

  10. Andrew S.
    September 29, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

    Be Mirthful, Be Merry, Drink Heartily?

    • September 30, 2010 at 9:59 am #

      Good way to boil it all down, Andrew. As a fan of good food, I’d add “eat” in there someplace :)

  11. September 30, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    Yo Jimbo!

    Love the Commandments! You should get it airbrushed onto some framed mirrors. Bar swag!

    As far as Commandment VIII, when can we expect our care packages? ;)

    Peace yo!
    G-LO

    • September 30, 2010 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks G-LO. I think they’d look great on smoked mirrors – real calssy. I like how you think.

      And as for shipping goes, I’m in the process of digging up some goodies for folks who can’t find ‘em.

  12. Jeremy
    September 30, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    #3 says stop exploring the world of craft beer, fail.

    • September 30, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

      It actually says “DO NOT find a go-to beer and stop exploring,” so I’m not sure what you’re referencing Jeremy. Perhaps it could have been written better (like all of our stuff) but I think the meaning is pretty clear.

  13. The Professor
    September 30, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Interesting and fun to read.
    But there should be an eleventh commandment:
    Be OBJECTIVE! No one gets a ‘free pass’. One should always remember that just because a beer is a small brewery product isn’t by any means a guarantee that it’s going to be a better made one. Conversely, there are some fine and well made examples of traditional and historical “styles”coming from the bigger breweries, especially lately.
    Putting the increasing “craft” industry hype aside, the real thing to remember and appreciate is that good beer is good beer, regardless of where it comes from.

    • September 30, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

      I agree with being objective, which is baked into a couple of the commandments. As far as size versus quality, I still think it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid the macros – there’s usually a better craft alternative available and I try to steer craft beer noobs away from them.

      Maybe I’m a beer snob!

  14. October 1, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    Eh –

    I take issue with commandment one. I believe in co-option, and we are far better off gently coaxing beer drinkers over to our side rather than brow-beating them. It also runs counter to commandment two – the one where it is our opinions are paramount.

    We are trying to make too many rules. I prefer the new testament of beer drinking.

    ‘Love beer with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, ‘Respect your neighbor’s beer as your own beer.’

    • October 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

      I hear you Andy. You’re not the first person to take issue with #1. In spirit, it was meant to “guide” craft beer noobs past the macrobrewers, not “browbeat” them, but a few folks have read it that way.

      I agree that folks should drink what they like, and there’s a flaw in #1 as written, but not as intended. But then intentions only go so far. :)

      Anyway, welcome to the site and thanks for posting.

      • Don
        October 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

        I would say Number 1 is just perfect. Because you say “Garbage” you don’t say “Everything”. This leaves room for both interpretation and making better beer from the macros. If they start making better beer, then by definition it won’t be “garbage” right?

        • October 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

          Yeah, but I think “Garbage” is a little too pejorative for some folks. It calls their beers into judgment, which might (in some peoples’ eyes) violate the spirit of the other Commandments.

          I see where they’re coming from – it could have been written more precisely.

  15. Joe
    October 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    For #1: One shouldn’t waste time on garbage from *any* brewery. Just because a brewery is big doesn’t mean anything. Sierra Nevada and Boston Beer Company are far from small. Besides, the “big” breweries do what they do very well, and the brewers there are top notch and well educated. No disrespect to them.

    • Joe
      October 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

      Oops, I realized the wording of that made it sound like Sierra Nevada and Boston Beer Co. are garbage.

      • October 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

        I didn’t get that at all from your comment, Joe. You were just saying that they aren’t small, which is totally accurate. They are huge compared to many other craft brewers, but still tiny compared to the big guys.

        But yes, big craft beer operations like SN and BB can brew great beer.

    • October 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

      First off, I agree with you Joe – folks shouldn’t waste time on garbage from

        any

      brewery.

      But I disagree a bit about the big breweries. I used to do some work with Kraft Foods. The folks there were bright, competent and wanted to do their best, but they worked within a system that made overly processed foods. It wasn’t a good environment for foodies or folks who wanted to create truly authentic food. It was stifling to people like that.

      I think the macro brewers are the same way. They might employ good people and make a reliable product, but I imagine the “craftier” folks would find other places to make beer that better suited their tastes.

      At least that’s my take on it. I certainly don’t mean any disrespect to folks who make a living brewing beer for the big guys (especially in this economy), but in the same way I wouldn’t recommend buying DiGiorno Pizza over a pie from a NYC pizza place, I wouldn’t recommend MBC to someone who asked for my opinion.

      There are many better options, even for folks new to beer.

  16. Randy
    April 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I also disagree with number one, even more now that Goose Island is now considered a macro brewer. I do share this graphic with people often. Thanks for making it.
    But the rest are spot on. As a homebrewer I give the macro breweries respect for their uniform quality (?) – and yes I even have an MGD if it is a hot day and it is free. But that is a rare occasion!

    • April 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

      Thanks for sharing this with folks, Randy. While not perfect, it’s a good conversation starter and a way to figure out how you feel about craft beer. And a MGD on a hot day at the Wisconsin State Fair is great, although now that I discovered they pour Spotted Cow there as well, I’ve probably had my last!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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