Getting Our Terminology Straight: Beer Geek v. Beer Nerd

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!


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22 Comments on “Getting Our Terminology Straight: Beer Geek v. Beer Nerd”

  1. December 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    I think there needs to be a companion piece for female craft beer geeks/nerds/enthusiasts/etc. I don’t fall into either category and geek/nerd labels drive me nuts. 🙂 however, beer geek and the doucheyness are definitely on par. Keep up the great work!

    • Don
      December 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

      Thanks Tamre. Glad you agree about the geek and his tendency towards Beerdouchecus. He has to fight that urge. As for the female side of thing, I’m afraid Jim and I are at a distinct disadvantage here. We might need someone to do a guest post. or at least collaborate with us on putting together a female infographic! Have a Happy New Year! 🙂

      • December 28, 2010 at 11:34 am #

        Don’t flatter yourself, Don – we’re not that manly. You’re more feminine than 80% of the men in your state. Even with your facial hair.

      • Don
        December 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

        Speak for yourself. At least I don’t wear mandles, short shorts, and carry a man purse. If I did I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through the week.

      • January 6, 2011 at 11:36 am #

        I’d love to write a companion/collaboration piece with you. 🙂

        Also, I want an infographic for how drunk I have to be to watch Transformers, Terminator, the new Star Wars movies. It’s only fair.

        • January 6, 2011 at 11:45 am #

          A collaboration piece would be great Tamre! Maybe you and Don could do a “he said, she said” piece on beer topics that will make him look like the mouth breathing meathead he is. Just be sure to bring up jazz and gun regulation and it’ll be a masterpiece.

          As far as Transformers and the New Star Wars, I don’t think the chart goes that far (it doesn’t count as watching if you’re passed out!).

      • tamremullins
        January 6, 2011 at 11:56 am #

        I made through 15 minutes of Transformers and started yelling at the screen “That’s Tad Hamilton!!!”

        I’m also the girl who sneaks beer into movie theaters. Luckily Sun King Brewing Co. in Indianapolis cans their IPA and Scottish Ale. 🙂

        • January 6, 2011 at 11:58 am #

          Ooh, sneaking beer into the theater would be cool, but my “law and order” son would lose his mind. Sure, it’s okay to smuggle in Skittles, but not Dale’s Pale Ale? Little hypocrite!

        • Don
          January 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

          I’m pretty sure you could bribe him into silence.

    • December 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

      Female beer geeks or female beer nerds already have their own category. They’re called “Attractive”.

      • December 28, 2010 at 11:35 am #

        Yes, also “awesome” and “a keeper” are the tags that are typically applied to female beer lovers. Words like “nerd” and “geek” tend to slip off them.

      • Don
        December 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

        Those are the ones you marry!

  2. December 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    I agree with Tamre. I think this post is great. I’ve heard these words thrown around a lot so it’s nice to have this cheat sheet 🙂 Love your site, I just found it and am catching up. In the past year I’ve been learning so much about brewing and different brews so I am loving your site. I’ve often wondered where the ladies are though so it’s great to find Tamre’s site too. Thanks so much to both of you! Can’t wait to keep reading!

    • December 28, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      Welcome, Jacklyn. If you haven’t found them yet, also check out the Ladies of Craft Beer:

      It’s sort of like a female beer blogger supergroup, but without the matching costumes.

    • Don
      December 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

      Jacklyn, I had this whole nice reply written and it was really great and funny, then my iPad wouldn’t send it! Ugh technology. Anyway, welcome. I hope you find the site fun and informative and come back and contribute often. Feel free to post comments or questions on any old post, or whatever you might have questions about. Jim and I will answer them wrongly, but someone else will most likelycorrect us. Our readers typically know way more than we do. 😉

  3. December 27, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    I want to beat them both up at lunch and steal their beer money.

    • December 28, 2010 at 11:30 am #

      Yeah, but that applies to most everybody you meet, no?

    • Don
      December 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

      You do that Daniel. Then we can both go drink some of that good Carolina beer you are always raving about. It’s good to have tough friends. 🙂

  4. December 28, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    I see the need for an infographic here, Don…

    • Don
      December 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

      Let me know if you need my help!

  5. Brandon
    December 29, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    I prefer the term “Beer Douche” to describe myself. Let’s people know that I couldn’t possibly care about anything they’ve got to say while I’m drinking a good beer. It’s all just background noise. 🙂


  1. A Niche Unfulfilled « The pALEeocon - December 31, 2010

    […] pleasant, but I believe she learned more about the beer from me than I did from her.  Yes, I am a beer geek, and I am always eager to learn more about the beer which I consume.  Yes, this […]

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