I’ve given this a little bit of thought over the holiday, and realize that we don’t have a clear definition of the differences between a Beer Nerd and a Beer Geek. Not that this is that important in the course of world events, but it keeps us busy, so what the heck…
A few weeks back my brother Jim put together a great little infographic that I will be referencing here. The evolution of the beer geek has been talked about widely in beer circles and really is appropriate for this comparison…
In the photo’s above I have selected what I thought were quintessential examples of each. On top is the Beer Geek. This particular gentleman lives in Philly and is probably shoveling out his mother’s driveway as I write this. One of his favorite activities is giving people tours of his beer cellar. So to my way of thinking the Beer Geek is someone who is an over the top enthusiast with a touch of Beerdouchecus as he likes to lord his superior beer collection/knowledge/lifestyle over the rest of us. This particular gentleman was one of philly’s top three beer geeks, and in addition to giving people tours he likes to challenge them to find at least 10 beers in his collection they have never seen or heard of. He also likes to take beer vacations. So I would say the Beer Geek is stuck somewhere on the evolutionary ladder between Beerdouchecus and Geeko Sapien, perhaps Geekus Erectus.
On the other hand the Beer Nerd is a lovable character that is perhaps a little shy and reserved, perhaps he started drinking beer as an aid in social settings, but he quickly discovered that while he liked the effects of the beverage he liked the beverage more. He went all nerdy about it, and what once helped him in social situations has become all he talks about ever. This harmless creature is more annoying than douchey and has a lovable side that keeps people somehow inexplicably drawn to him. He shares his beer and wants your validation. He loves beer and he wants you to love it too. This stange creature is somewhere on the evolutionary ladder between Craftus erectus and Beerdouchecus and would never have the self confidence to move into Geeko Sapien until he got old enough to gain some confidence.
So really, in my mind I think of both of these terms differently. They aren’t interchangeable as many people think, and they both have a distinct place on the evolutionary ladder. The Geek is a little ahead of the Nerd in his progression, but can be afflicted by the Beerdouchecus at times. Where the Nerd is a fun loving drinker of beer that wants others to love beer as much as he does.
Do you agree with my assessment? Are there nuances or subtleties that I have missed? As usual I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts? Do these differences exist, or are the two terms completely interchangeable? I hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have a great New Year!