How do you explain your craft beer habit to macro drinkers?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by bbtkd, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I just got wondering how you all explain your craft-beer addiction/habit/hobby to macro-drinkers. Not that we owe anyone an explanation, but I've found myself trying to explain that I'm planning an out-of-state beer run, planning to attend a craft beer-fest, or why I'm taking time off work to chase a limited release or try to sign up for a $100 KBBS that I have to drive six hours for if I happen to "win".

    Many macro-drinkers that I know say they are also into beer, but their idea of fun is picking up a twelve or cube of their favorite, and rarely stray from that. They don't need to have a cellar because every store, including the 24-hour gas-station down the street, sells their favorite beer. They balk at paying even $1 for a can of beer and they don't need to check dates, because their beer is always guaranteed fresh and doesn't sit on the shelf long.

    Almost any description of craft sounds to them like a fools errand. We must choose from tens-of-thousands of beers of over a hundred styles, must spend from $1.50 to $100 per beer, should check dates, often need to trade or travel out of state to find what we want, must wait for beers to be "in season", and have to cellar beers to be assured of having favorites when we want. We must worry about infection, think about new releases, and often take off work to engage our hobby. I actually find it entertaining to see their reactions to my madness

    What are your experiences and thoughts on trying to explain the madness that is craft-beer?
  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If the topic comes up my typical apprach is to say. That's the way my tastes seem to run, would you like to try a sip and see what it is like. Some are interested, some say thanks, but no thanks, I'm fine. Never had one ridicule me (but then I do most of my drinking at home or restaurants where most or all of the taps are devoted to the flavorful beers I like).

    If the guy or gal likes it after the try then I may engage in chatting, but never pushing stuff at her/him. My goal is to come off like the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage. That's both my basic nature and one that works best for me.
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  3. bluejacket74

    bluejacket74 Poo-Bah (4,795) Jul 4, 2005 Ohio

    I really don't bother explaining to anyone else. My friends who like craft beer know, and the people who aren't into it will probably never be fans of it. I agree with @drtth and I'll spend more time with the people who show an interest in craft brews. If they say no thanks then it's OK.
  4. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Yah, we're not missionaries, either of us.
  5. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Simple.... I don't. I offer them one; and if they offer me one of theirs, I accept and drink it.
  6. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I agree, craft-beer is like religion or politics; you will only offend if you try to convert, so all you can do is offer to share.
  7. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    My question was meant to be introspective - how weird our hobby must seem to mainstream beer drinkers, and what we'll put up with to pursue our hobby.
  8. islay

    islay Aspirant (278) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    This sounds largely like a South Dakota problem. At least in the Twin Cities in 2019, as well as I suspect most other major metro areas and quite a few minor ones, craft beer is a common and well-publicized enough hobby that it doesn't seem like a bizarre eccentricity that requires explaining even if it isn't shared by any given person. I see more apologies and defensiveness from macro pale lager drinkers than craft beer drinkers these days. Most of the former such folks harbor no illusions that they're consuming particularly marvelous product; they know they don't put a priority and a premium on beer and other people do. I used to get some quizzical glances and "What are you doing?" inquiries when I would rate beers in public (on a notepad for later entry at the other site before smartphones), but that no longer happens in the Untappd era.

    Many people, including the OP, fall into the wasteful hype trap (traveling long distances for heralded releases, standing in long lines, etc.). That's certainly not an aspect of the hobby I endorse, and I encourage some introspection about whether the thrill of the chase is worth all that trouble on a personal level. Even that stuff, however, easily can be shrugged off with something along the lines of, "It's what I'm into. Other people spend a bunch of money and time on sports, cars, video games, whatever. My hobby happens to be craft beer."
  9. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (960) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    By the time I was 25 friends traveling all parts of the globe would bring me beer, glasses' coasters. all kinds of things. I was never not a beer lover and have been an evangelist for decades, but in a good way...I never had to explain it to anyone.
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  10. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Sheesh, lighten up Francis. We have plenty of craft and craft-drinkers here, and electricity too.
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  11. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (1,688) Dec 11, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    I am not out to proselytize others. But, when asked, I say that one day, after decades of life, I realized I had probably tried no more than 30 beers and generally drank the same 2 or 3. I had to take stock of why. Variety, after all, is the Spice of Life. Would I watch the same handful of movies or reruns of the same few sporting events over and over again? Eat at the same restaurants all the time. Of course not. So why should I drink the same few beers? Most people get that intuitively.
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  12. Soneast

    Soneast Champion (811) May 9, 2008 Wisconsin

    I dunno. I'm in to craft but I dont do any of that stuff you mentioned, save check dates. :thinking_face:
  13. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,829) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Share beers with them. If they don't taste a difference or don't like what they taste, your explanation will be inadequate; no point to trying.
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  14. Chilmer

    Chilmer Disciple (356) May 22, 2018 Iowa

    Life is about experiences so I tell people it’s about experiences. Craft beer has so many options that I want to try as many as I can. It provides the opportunity for something new when I’m at home or out of town. I get flights at most places if they are offered, and rarely drink the same beer twice.

    I sign up for lotteries more for the thrill of trying to win, not necessarily the coveted beer itself. The beer is an added bonus though, having only won MD back in 2017. Since it was a 4 pack that year I got to try it, enjoy s bottle later, gift one and trade one. It got me into trading because a friend down south asked me if I would. Never even knew trading was a thing until then and he turned me into BA.
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  15. JA_26

    JA_26 Initiate (122) Feb 4, 2019 Pennsylvania

    I have one friend who gives me crap about how much I spend on beer vs. his occasional case of Miller High Life or Natty Light. I used to engage, and say stuff like "Life is too short for bad beer," but I dont do that any more. I just smile, raise my glass to him and say "To each his own." Plenty of room for beer lovers of any kind in my world.
  16. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (276) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    I don't (at most, an eyebrow raise when standing in line by someone with a case of Bud Light)
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  17. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    There are days (maybe one a year) when I miss my macro-drinking days, spending less, drinking more, finding beer when and where I want, etc. I know I could have it both ways or switch back, theoretically anyway. It would be tough though.
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  18. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (837) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Genuinely where I live (NYC), it’s really a non-issue. I think I have two macro-hardened friends. But they are in a massive minority.
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  19. Griphon

    Griphon Devotee (463) Dec 28, 2015 Florida

    I'll always remember the day I walked in this german restaurant/sports bar. There was a sign that says 'Life is to short to drink cheap beer'. It kinda blew my mind. It happened when i was just starting to try crafted beer. It was reassuring, because, what drove me to crafted beer was precisely the quality. I noticed that when having commercial, or macro beers I simply wanted to die the next day. But, when having the same amount, or more... much more of crafted beer, the next day i felt like.... nothing happened! Barely hangover, ready to keep my day going. Then l learned about the ingredients, how the Macros keep it cheap, the birth of the adjuncts... I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir. Then i can add the experience, different styles, flavors. That's what i share whith them.
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  20. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (114) Mar 15, 2014 California

    As an advocate and ambassador for all things beer, its not hard to explain to people drawing parallels with other things they might understand. Some people like Macro Lagers, others like Craft beer, it's not unlike those who are drawn to the simplicity and affordability of Hondas vs those who have the affinity and disposable income to appreciate a Porsche or Lamborghini. They are all cars but the high end ones are made with more sensitive, quality parts but no one (i think) who had driven one would argue whether it was worth the sum of it's parts. Quality made beers are no different though more than a few have lost their way. Having beers right now so forgive the rant if it didn't make sense.
  21. surfcaster

    surfcaster Champion (806) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Never explain- the beer does.

    I keep a Steigl, PU or local OMB Captain Jack for my “non craft” friends and they usually are quite impressed and when they are more adventuresome, a Westbrook One Claw. NEVER trying to convert, funny how many do.
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  22. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (276) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    I never had a "macro phase" :/

    At the back of my mind, there's "One day, I'm going to buy and try one of each major macro lager, just for the hell of it"

    But yeah - that's like an alternate universe. I can't think of many things I've had consistently for decades, minus water
    bbtkd likes this.
  23. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Anyone that is a macro-drinker and asking what craft they might like, I usually suggest Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. It's not very extreme, not too strong, and a familiar color for macro-drinkers. About the only craft my macro-drinking daughter drinks is Lindemans Framboise.
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  24. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    My strategy is a wee bit different.. My first question, "Well what favors do you like?" "Do you like grapefruit? Watched a woman's eyes light up when she first tried any beer with noticable hops (a local APA in the classic mode that was focused on mutiple flavors but had noticable grapefruit flavor in the mix). She had started by saying she didn't care for beer. Then came my question, she said yes, so I took a sample off the tasting table. "Then I think you might actually enjoy this." The rest is history.
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  25. Mindcrime1000

    Mindcrime1000 Crusader (767) Apr 30, 2016 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    If limited to one word--"flavor" (I'm actually thinking about the Sam '76 "I can taste my beer" commercial as I type this--side comment--the best moment is when the girl kisses her boyfriend and says she can taste his beer--classic).

    If granted one sentence--"because I drink with the hope of experiencing different flavors and of liking what I'm tasting, not just to booze it up."

    If it takes more than one sentence, it's taking time away from my beer.
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  26. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,809) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    I say as little as possible about myself and my habit, maybe make fun of myself over it, then turn the conversation into evangilism and try to convert the macro drinker who's asking. I'm not hardcore about it or preachy; mainly I just offer to buy them a beer I think they might like or offer up one of mine if it's a situation where I'm drinking out of a cooler I packed.

    No macro drinker has ever given me hard time about it, so it's never been an issue.
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  27. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,084) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands

    I'm one of those who still doesn't believe that drinking is a hobby. Sure, there's rituals and ephemera galore in the modern beer world, but a hobby? Do the serious wine or spirits nerds (who share many of actions; road trips to facilities, seeking out hard-to-get alcohol, storing some years or decades) consider it to be a hobby?
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  28. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Curious. What if someone asks your advice? e.g., "Anything on the list for someone new to flavorful beer?"
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  29. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    They might deny it but that shows many of the common characteristics of a hobby in many different areas of "collectables." So I'd say that signals a hobby regardless of whether they realize it or not. Collecters do those things all the time in ther spare time. "Hobby" is mostly defined by behavior and not much else. No single indivdual behavior is strong enough, but a subset all together in the same person is a clear signal.
  30. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    If they actually ask for advice, sure. But, I don't "evangelize". IMO, the idea that people need to be "converted" is silly. Craft beer is a product, not a cause. To me, anyway.
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  31. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Thought so but wanted to confirm. Let someone else make the first move. Many don’t want interruption in the first place and even may discard the idea it’s worth being politely sociable.
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  32. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,084) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands

    Yeah, I agree on that level, but.....

    What if we were to exchange the words beer/wine/spirits for the words cocaine/heroin/meth?
    I know folks whose "hobby" is stopping at the casino after work, and playing Blackjack, sure they set a dollar limit for the day, but, still, it's addictive behavior.

    Are we, the cognoscenti of beer, that different from the folks who actually have substance issues? Does cloaking ourselves in the term "hobby" elevate us?

    I dunno any of the answers, but it is a thing I've thought about.

  33. Mindcrime1000

    Mindcrime1000 Crusader (767) Apr 30, 2016 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I ask myself some variation of this question every time I polish off a 9-11% RIS.
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  34. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (693) Mar 12, 2013 California

    just for the record I would say there are people for whom occasional consumption of various harder substances and collection of the paraphenalia associated with it's use are hobbies. And there are addicts. There's probably a lot of overlap in the venn diagram, just like with any of the libations you mentioned. The very act of engaging any hobby is addictive, collecting sought after things, confirming status within a tight social construct, performing soothing rituals, and when you add in genuinely chemically addictive substances you are going to get blurry lines. But that doesn't mean the 'hobby' aspect doesn't exist.

    To put it more succinctly, the 'hobby' is the stuff beyond ingesting ethanol at the desired cost/pace with maximum efficiency.
  35. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (713) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I drink all beers. I started on AAL many moons ago. Found imports from overseas and then ran into Carol Stoudt and discovered what fresh beer was like. I still like “craft” but find myself more and more moving back to AAL. I have done the try every beer I can find and search out “rare” and high Rated beers. Almost every time they are not as good as I hear and hope for and cost much more than I want to spend. I get really bored with IPA at this point. I really don’t like NEIPA and a nice hoppy piney earthy IPA is not a thing I see often,it’s what I like. I like high life and Hamms a lot. I keep going back to them and grab a case or two 12 packs of “craft” to go along with. The “craft” might be owned by AB or Victory or another larger brewery.

    I have to explain why I am drinking high life to friends and not drinking what I used to drink. Tonight I had three high life and a can of shape of hops to come, a good local IPA that’s not $20+.

    For me beer is a social thing and a drink of the many. Never turned my nose up at those that drank beer I don’t like. Have accepted any beer given to me and share my beer with whoever is around.

    Never was in a position to explain my beer likes as the OP posted. My friends are my friends. We drink what we like. We don’t give each other shit for it.

    I still buy limited and “tough” to find things, enjoy trying anything new but I have no stress and a much larger wallet.

    Drink what you enjoy with those you enjoy hanging with. No need for explanations.

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  36. islay

    islay Aspirant (278) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    I'm quite familiar with South Dakota and its culture. There certainly are some craft beer aficionados, and there certainly are more people -- even in Sioux Falls -- that sneer at them or feign being flabbergasted by them than do so in more densely populated areas, in general. Same goes for outstate Minnesota. Why pretend otherwise? We often encounter regional differences in these forums, and I strongly suspect this is one of them, regardless of any perceived offense to your state pride.
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  37. Shanex

    Shanex Meyvn (1,339) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    IME people who enjoy macro will enjoy craft beer even more. They initially like beer even if its "only" Heineken, Bud or Leffe.

    Being a bit generous and sharing something craft to someone who may not know as much about craft (not pretention intended honestly) will please them. But if they don't because it's too expensive or anything we are indeed not missionary and I generally never really had to explain myself, for now being a craft aficionados hasn't gotten out of control.
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  38. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I think about the hobby vs. addiction angle a lot, since I have had alcoholics in the family, I came close to a problem early in life, and since my daughter is a licensed and degreed addiction counselor. Going drinking with her is very revealing since she is incredibly good at asking questions about and spotting motivations, addiction, etc. I throw myself into craft like other hobbies/interests; radios, electronics, computers, cars, martial arts, etc. I don't have to drink daily, and have gone several days without having a beer, so I believe my beer issue is the hobby/collecting/spending aspect and not addiction.

    I wonder if alcoholism - as a percentage of drinkers - is more prevalent in macro drinkers than craft drinkers, partly because it's easier to get and much cheaper per ounce, which encourage drinking more? Are craft beer drinkers motivated as much by taste as ABV kick? Or would that be fooling ourselves?
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  39. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (903) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I just tell them I think "craft" beer tastes better and it is worth the cost to me. Unlike the OP I don't spend time and money seeking out hard to get or expensive brews.
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  40. lastmango

    lastmango Champion (800) Dec 11, 2014 Pennsylvania

    The few that I have discussed my "hobby" with look at me as if I was from Mars and wondering why I would want to spend 2-4 times the price for beer. I recently informed one Iron City diehard that I paid $84 for a case of Aventinus Tap 6 and he almost fell out of his chair. It did not help that I then tried to explain that I read that it was great beer but never had it . . . that at the time, it was rare to find it . . . and that I just had to have it! Through this he just laughed and shook his head.

    But, from one of these discussions, I turned a guy who use to drink Milwaukee's Best or Yuengling and he now has discovered IPAs and knows he prefers these to stouts. I did this by explaining the different styles and tastes and letting him know that although it was more expensive, I deserve to treat myself from time to time because I am worth it. :wink:

    PS - I also informed him that if he wanted to delve into beer more, he must go to BA because of the wealth of info and great folks that share! :slight_smile:
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