25 April 2018

Be a Better Beer Friend : 3 Things you can do

 Welcome back my friends, it's been a while. Life happens like that and while the last few weeks have seen my usual Instagram and Youtube posts going out daily, I've been struggling on my longer form thoughts. A not unusual phenomenon when you combine those long ass days at work with stretches between days off reaching 11 or more in a row. It makes it difficult to find inspiration when your only goal is that comfy chair and a few pints.
   I find myself going to the LCBO more than usual as I don't have time to visit the craft brewers I would like to and it was while I was looking for a bottle of wine the other day that it hit me. I know almost nothing of wine, looking for local Ontario brands and grasping my limited spectrum of experience, I fall into descriptors on the tags and cool looking artwork. I know I like full bodied reds and the occasional fruity white but I have no idea what is good, bad or indifferent. I imagined people wanting to get into craft beer and being overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices that line the coolers and shelves at their local liquor store, most people new to it don't even realise how many breweries are close to them when they first start exploring the craft. For most of us who love talking beer, we get those questions from our friends all the time and try to help steer them into things they would like based on their preferences and maybe sharing some of the more adventurous stuff when we can. With the proliferation of pseudo craft and big beer buy outs that are inevitable, how can we help those who want to support local and honest to goodness craft beer. 
  Here's the 3 things you can do to make the world a better place for craft beer newbies
1) Take them to a Craft Brewery
  The first step is to help steer them to local breweries close to where they live. The amount of civic pride I've found as I travel all over the province is found at the taproom in small town Ontario and neighbourhoods in the big cities. People are only too happy to talk about why their particular local craft brewer is awesome, from the tiniest hole in the wall to the gleaming cathedrals and giants of the industry. The easiest way to help someone become a true believer is to show them that the taproom experience of craft beer is as important to the whole community as the beer is. Get them into that mind set and watch them become a big fan quickly.
2) Share the wealth

  Nothing better than being able to showcase your favourite beers and breweries by hosting a tasting or a bottle share. With a few pals who are into craft beer already or on your own with those new to it all, you can be a great ambassador of it all by simply sharing. Pick a theme, go wild with a whole bunch of styles or focus in on one in particular. Know your audience and try to deliver the journey in front of them with an eye to growing their palate, not scaring them off. Start with craft lagers, pilsners and cream ales before exploring the bigger and fruiter saisons or even the hoppy IPAs. Make it a fun evening by targeting the likes of those you are helping with some things to challenge their preconceived notions about craft beer.
3) Stop Beer Shaming
  Guilty of this one myself, I have come to see the light. There is a fine line between advocating for better beer and being an asshole about it. Talking down to or making fun of other people's beer choices does absolutely nothing but put up a wall that is tough to go around. Educate don't humiliate should be your mantra as people will defend their personal choices to the end. The very best thing you can do when it comes to showing people great craft beer is know what they like and give them an option that is similar. Someone who likes a light macro lager will most likely not like that Double Dry hopped Imperial IPA and all you will have done is turn another person off the path to a brighter future when it comes to beer. Be respectful of what someone else likes and at the end of the day, the most important thing isn't what's in your glasses, it's that you are spending time with the people you care about.
  A little simplistic but 3 things that could have a huge impact in the beer life of a friend who's ready to leave the macro brews behind. Lots of great beer loving folks, brewers included, still have PBR, MGD or any other acronym macro floating around their fridges and enjoy them for what they are. Be a better beer person and bring the love to everyone, it's a community that grows by being more open than we used to be to new things.


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