I recently wrote about how my uneasiness with Renaissance Faire play-actors has kept me from trying mead, a form of honey wine that’s been around for thousands of years. Every time I see it on the shelf, my thoughts immediate go to men and women dressed up in medieval garb, putting on thick accents and having fantasy playtime right there for everyone to see. It embarrasses to even think about it and the association has kept me away from mead. The last time I pretended to be anybody it was Han Solo and I was nine.
This got me to thinking of stereotypes about beer that keep people from exploring the wonders of the world’s greatest beverage. While not as cringe-inducing as theater majors and World of Warcraft nerds prancing about saying “m’lord” and “m’lady,” they can certainly be considered barriers to entry into the world of craft beer:
Frat Fuel – Some people never think past college when it comes to beer. Mention the stuff, and images of funnels, keg stands and Edward Fortyhands fills their minds. While they might look back on these times fondly, it’s probably not an association that’s going to make them want to stop at their bottle shop and explore the refined offerings from Belgium. After all, it’s wasteful to pay so much just to fill your beer pong cups!
Fizzy Yellow Stuff – Lets face it, over 90% of the beer sold today are industrial lagers; Bud, Miller, Coors, Keystone and all their watery cousins. When you say “beer” to most folks, this is what they think you’re talking about. When you try to explain that there’s a whole world of “real” craft beer out there, they probably equate what you’re saying to waxing poetic about Chicken Selects at McDonald’s – you don’t understand, they’re waaay better than McNuggets because they’re made with REAL chicken!
PBR Hipsters – Many people find hipsters repellent, this has been proven by Science. Traps have even been set for them in hipster-infested neighborhoods as part of a catch-and-relocate program. The fact that Pabst Blue Ribbon is (or was – to be honest, I try not to keep up with their trends) their beverage of choice is an association that does little to benefit beer’s image. These boys and girls are deeply into irony, picking things that have a little retro charm and an undertone of trashiness to them (think tight-fitting, distressed vintage flannel purchased at a second-hand store). Ironic garbage isn’t what I want people thinking about when someone mentions beer. I wish these too-cool-for-the-room types would go all the way and drink Zima instead – how ironic is that stuff? Get on it, hipsters!
NASCAR Nation – I have to walk a bit of a tightrope here, as I don’t want to come off like a beer snob (too much, at least), but when you talk about beer, some people think of a guy with a Bud Light box for a hat, screaming for Jimmy Johnson while dancing shirtless in the Talladega sun. You can see I have proof of this. It’s this guy and other beer guzzling, brush cut meatheads like him that make some people believe beer should only be served at Hooters, and not at fine dining establishments.
For the Boys – This one really bugs me, the idea that beer isn’t for women. There are a couple of parts to this – the idea that a “real lady” drinks wine, not beer (which is too uncouth for the fairer sex), and all the “beer babe” B.S. that has been used to sell fizzy yellow crap for decades. Beer, boobs and ‘splosions – f’yeah!! The misogynist marketing of beer has made it rightfully repellent to some ladies, and that’s too bad, as I know many women who are dedicated beer geeks. I just think there might be more if it weren’t for Budweiser swimsuit models and those hot chicks from Miller wrestling in wet concrete. Ooh…those hot chicks from Miller…
All told, I’m all for people drinking whatever kinds of beverages they like, and doing so in the manner they see fit. It’s a free country and we’re all adults here.
But as someone who loves craft beer and wants the whole world to discover its wonders and delights, I see stuff like this standing in the way. If every time you think of beer, you think of something repellent associated with it, chances are you’re going to switch the subject in your brain to something that doesn’t have the mental baggage.
What do you think – Am I on to something here, or am I just stuck up about beer? Of course it could be both…
Are there other associations about beer that you’d like to see disappear?
As always, let us know below!