My Wife is a Craft Beer Extremist. Are You?

My lovely wife surprised me last night with a growler full of beer from a well-loved regional brewery that’s near her work.  I don’t want to name names, but it was from Captain Lawrence’s new taproom at 444 Saw Mill River Rd  Elmsford, NY 10523.  Oops – guess I didn’t handle that very well!

The reason I didn’t want to name names is because we were both disappointed in the beer; me initially and her totally.  It was their espresso stout, a name which (in our house at least) conjures up thoughts of huge coffee flavors, towering tastes of chocolate, and big boozy finishes.  But we got none of those things.  Instead it was a well balanced, gentle stout that had a lovely mouthfeel and a nice hint of coffee and wood in the middle.  It was quite sessionable as well, and probably had an ABV of around 5%.

It took me a minute to adjust my expectations after that first sip, but once I did, I settled in and enjoyed it quite a bit.  Two years ago, I probably would’ve wandered off or simply poured it down the drain, but I’ve learned to enjoy the gentler pleasures of the craft beer kingdom.  My wife, however, has not.  Her glass was left untouched after a sip or two. 

She’s a craft beer extremist, at least as far as flavor goes.  Her favorite beer is Victory Storm King Stout, a brew that rips into your palate and assaults it with huge flavors.  She also prefers beers you cannot see through – the darker the better.  She has no interest in IPA’s, but she did enjoy the Schoolhouse Imperial IPA that I reviewed here earlier in the week, but that makes sense, as that beer simply crushes your senses with flavor.  I love big flavor as well, but I’ve tried to get into milder fare, simply so I have more new stuff to try.  She doesn’t care about that – if it doesn’t curl her toes, it’s not worthwhile.  Fair enough, dear.

The other side of the equation of being an “extremist” is the fact that she’ll only drink craft beer, nothing from the big boys.  But to be fair, this isn’t a philosophical point about support the little guy or denying the corporate giants a sale – it’s simply that the big boys don’t have the stones to brew a beer big enough to be worth her while.  She’d gladly enjoy a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout without giving a thought to whose name is on the ownership papers.  If there was such a thing as Coors Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Chocolate Coffee Stout she’s drink it up without a care in the world.

In my eyes, these two things are the crux of being a craft beer extremist; either demanding huge flavor and refusing to drink anything brewed by the big boys (whatever the reason).  My guess is that most folks who read this site (except the always-reasonable Massugu, of course) will fall into one or both of these categories.

Am I right?  Are YOU a craft beer extremist?  As always, let us know below!



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

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34 Comments on “My Wife is a Craft Beer Extremist. Are You?”

  1. March 2, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I’m a craft beer nerd, but not an extremist. Like your wife, I do drink and enjoy full-flavored, punch you in the mouth beers like Allagash Curieux and Lagunitas Cappuccino stout – SOMETIMES. But then there are times when I’m in the mood for something mild and sessionable like Fat Tire, Kelso Pilsner, or some English style ESB. It’s really all about mood. I’d call myself a craft beer equal opportunist.

    • March 2, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      When you go for a Fat Tire, she goes for seltzer (which is pretty much the same thing to her way of seeing things).

  2. Dave
    March 2, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I’d say I’m a semi-extremist. I think there is a time and place for drinking a Blue Moon or Shock Top, although those situations are fairly rare and would be a last resort. I however, will NOT drink any of the other crap that those companies would try to pass off as “beer”. I’d rather just drink water or an unsweeted tea.

    • March 2, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      I’m a guy who enjoys Leinenkeugel’s Summer Shandy on occasion, so I think we’re in the same boat.

      But I don’t think you can be semi-extreme – that’s like being a little pregnant.

      • Dave
        March 2, 2012 at 11:38 am #

        So I guess I’ll go with what Brett said. I’m a craft beer nerd.

        • March 2, 2012 at 11:49 am #

          An EXTREMELY interested craft beer nerd!

      • Manny
        March 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

        Love Summer Shandy. Are they really planning an Autumn Shandy?

  3. March 2, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    You said it bud. I’m for what tastes good to me–which most BB Products don’t. Fer instance I love Goose Island’s IPA (but hate their Urban Wheat), and I really like some of Leinie’s brews. Will I swear off the ones I like just because they’re owned by AB-Inbev or Miller-Coors, no. But you won’t find me sipping a Michelob or a Miller’s Lite anytime in this incarnation either.

    I will however draw a line in the sand–regardless of the quality of the product–if I find a producer socially or ethically reprehensible (for reasons other than being money-hungry, bottom-line touting, bean-counting uber-capitalists of course. 😉 ) And the criteria for what fits into this category is mine.

    • March 2, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      So no Apple products for you?

      • March 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

        Unfortunately, I didn’t know about some of the crap Jobs/Apple had pulled over the years until after my wife & kids talked me into buying an IMac (which is a damn good machine BTW) or I’d still be using LINUX on my old Apollo machine. I won’t be buying another Mac tho until/unless they clean up their act and I’m not buying any new software from them either. I don’t expect that that’ll make a single wit of difference to their bottom-line, nor will it be convenient, but its important to me, and I suspect, to others among your readers.

  4. March 2, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    My wife is an extremist also……Loves the Imperial Stouts and the new Odell Footprint…..always on the hunt for something new and different…..

    Wish we had Dogfish Head beers in Boise

    • March 2, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Right now, the only DFH product I see on my big beer store’s shelves is Namaste – all the other bombers are out of stock. So even though I technically get DFH in New Jersey, we’re almost in the same boat. Sam Calagione said “oh sh!t” when I told him this, and promised that they are ramping up production in July and then once or twice in 2013 to increase availability. Hopefully that reaches Boise.

  5. John King
    March 2, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Im a craft beer nerd, but if a wedding offers free beer…then I’ll drink it.

    • March 2, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      I have to disagree w/ you there John. If all they have available is the standard swill, I drink water, or depending on the venue, I bring my own–Dale’s is great for that, and I’ve actually made a few converts that way.

      • March 2, 2012 at 11:54 am #

        Maybe I’ll start keeping a sixer in my trunk for social emergencies…

    • March 2, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      If I’m at the Wisconsin State Fair, I’ll drink a Miller. That is until I found out they sold New Glarus Spotted Cow there, now I’m all “screw Miller!”

      But I agree – if you can’t be with the beer you, love the beer you’re with (especially if someone else is footing the tab).

  6. BeerBanker
    March 2, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Okay, guess I’ll take the extremist label for 1 out of 2…Stopped buying Terrapin after their deal with Tenth & Blake, but I like the full spectrum of craft beers. Hefeweisen is about as light as I’ll ever go, but I really love me some big boozy Russian Imperial Stouts and DIPA’s…

    • March 2, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      I think I’ll always support the little guy if I have the chance to. But if it’s Mama Little Yella Pils versus BCS, screw the little guy!!

      • BeerBanker
        March 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

        Yeah, I’ll admit i was weak at a beer fest a couple months back and had an oaked version of Terrapin’s Big Hoppy Monster…God I’m gonna miss their beers…

  7. March 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    I’ve always said that my favorite beer is the one in my hand….which if it’s my choice will be a local craft beer. I can’t look like a bitch at social events and snub someone who doesn’t understand craft beer when they offer me a beer from the bar. It’s common courtesy.

    • March 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      One can usually find a courteous way to refuse, or if push comes to shove, order whatever half-way decent whisky they might have to hand–I can nurse a cupla fingers of whisky all night long if necessary. Another trick is get a glass of ginger ale or ginger beer–they can look very much like the real thing. Most people seem to understand though if you opt for a bottle of water.

  8. March 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    My wife’s tastes are extreme in the sense that they span the spectrum between light and dark; she loves nothing better than a big stout or a light kolsch. She also agrees with me that all AB beers suck, including Shock Top. The only thing I can’t get her to drink is anything loaded with hops, pilsners are about as hoppy as she’ll go. She’s the malt-head to balance my hop-head taste.

    I’m generally in the range of the bigger the better when it comes to taste, but under some circumstances I’ll go for a lighter taste. Abita Amber is a perfect example.

    • March 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      A hophead and a malt mama; the universe in perfect harmony!

      • March 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

        The yin and yang of craft beer 😉

  9. Kyle
    March 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    If you don’t drink AB or M-C what do you drink when youre working out? Water?

    • March 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Usually Sam Adams seasonals or real craft beer if I’m lucky. More and more, I can find good beer out in the world…

  10. NicM
    March 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I’m more like you. I used to really dig on the extreme beers but that’s worn off a lot. I still like them sometimes but I also really like well balance beers now. I was always more of a malt head but man a good, well balanced English IPA is amazing.

    • March 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      I have to agree, sometimes a well brewed traditional English Ale like an IPA or ESB is just what the doctor ordered!

  11. splat8391
    March 3, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    The word I usually use is “enthusiast.” I don’t know everything there is to know about craft beer or brewing, but I know what I like, and I’m enthusiastic about it. I’m an omnivore – the full spectrum from stouts to Belgians to double bocks to DIPAs – but I can handle a Heineken or even a Miller Lite if it’s handed to me.

    I have a lot of memories of my first years out of college when I couldn’t afford anything really good (and wouldn’t have known what to buy if I could) so my buddies and I bought whatever was on special at the store. So … Coors Light 30-packs.

    I have a real problem with craft beer snobs who launch into endless lectures about the abominations of Big Beer; like massugu said above, until the quality deteriorates, what do I care that InBev now owns Bourbon County Stout? (I’ve heard, for instance, that Leffe Blonde, a beer I really used to enjoy, has really declined since InBev took it over.) I have lots of good friends who just like Miller Lite, and I still send them Christmas cards.

    So I guess my “enthusiast” label means I’m not an extremist, Jim. However … I saw some Tactical Nuclear Penguin in a shop last weekend and thought long and hard about buying it …

  12. beerfridaybycng
    March 3, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Based on your characterization, I might not be a craft beer extremist, but I certainly enjoy trying all that the wide world of craft brewing has to offer – regardless of punch. No big guys’ beers for me. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever really tried 2 of 3 big three because their flavor profile seems to exclude flavor.

    My first foray in the world of good beer came when I was 32 and tried, of all things, a Yuengling for the first time and liked it. After that, my education skyrocketed when I jumped to ever-consistent, incredibly flavorful DFH 90 minute. My life would never be the same as I was hooked! Four years later and a new craft brew every Friday, I certainly have an appreciation for flavor, depth, and character in what I drink.

  13. RealBeerGeek
    March 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Am I missing something here? You say that your wife would “gladly enjoy a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout without giving a thought to whose name is on the ownership papers. If there was such a thing as Coors Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Chocolate Coffee Stout she’s drink it up without a care in the world.”

    I guess you either didn’t know or left out the fact that GI was acquired by Anheuser-Busch last year. While I know your wife wouldn’t care, as I understand taste is the bottom line for some people, but it might help your blog to be somewhat credible by knowing such a simple fact; if you don’t know, then choose another craft brewery as an example that hasn’t been bought out yet.

    • Don
      March 9, 2012 at 12:26 am #

      Yes, you are missing something. Of course we know that GI was acquired. We posted all over the blog when it happened. He specifically used G I in his example to put a point on his argument. We didn’t feel the need to put it in there because it is so obvious that it had happened it is a little like saying ice is cold. Maybe look around a bit before you throw rocks. Sheez!

    • March 9, 2012 at 7:27 am #

      Wow, I’m gonna call you Larry Literal, dude. First over on Today and now here. Your sense of haughty self-righteousness might feel good as it oozes out your fingers onto the keyboard, but this is twice that you’ve shown that you really don’t get it. I’m thinking you need a reading comprehension class.

      Also, you’re exactly the kind of overbearing, joyless putz I fear being cornered by at a party.

    • John King
      March 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      I think the douche alarm just sounded…

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