News & views | Why are beer drinkers so grumpy?

News & views

Why are beer drinkers so grumpy?

Whenever I write about beer in my Guardian column - which is not that often and in a minute you’ll see why - there’s a stream of snide and sarcastic comments. Far more than I ever get for wine

Some admittedly is targeted at other contributors…

You don't know, what the fuck, you're talking about.

Completely and utterly clueless. Embarassing [sic] really.

But most involves scoffing that the idea that craft beer - and I accept that there’s a problem about the definition - could conceivably be of interest to other readers.

I love beer. I hate the craft beer idea. It's all beer. I just want a nice session bitter

Or that I think it’s of interest ...

Hell there was even a craft IPA available on the Stena ferry from Dublin to Holyhead we took last week. Can't imagine that would have been the case a few years ago

Or that anyone might not have heard of the beers I’ve written about ...

Anyone living in London who drinks craft beer, even with a passing interest, will have drank Pressure Drop/Five Points/Beavertown and indeed found them to be almost default options in most pubs/bars.

Others complain at the retailers I’ve picked out ...

Wow great news about Oddbins - they must love the free advert for them - what with only having 2 shops in England north of Watford.

And so on.

What I don’t get is why beer drinkers should be so grumpy when from a wine lover's point of view they have everything going for them

* Beer is more exciting and varied than it has ever been - and still cheaper, glass for glass, than wine

* Supermarkets in general are doing a much better job with beer than they are with wine - broadening their ranges instead of dumbing them down. There are also some terrific indies.

* Beerlovers have great places to drink their favourite drink - there are many more good pubs than wine bars

Brewers themselves seem nice affable blokes (they are still mainly male). The ones I’ve met are cheery sorts - the sort you’d be more than happy to spend an evening downing pints with.

So what’s eating the people who drink the stuff?

There seems to be a minority which doesn't want anyone else (especially, I suspect, women) to enjoy beer. Who want it to taste exactly as it did when they first started drinking it 20 or 30 years ago. But how bizarre is that? It’s as if claret and rioja drinkers all went into meltdown whenever malbec was mentioned or we all sneered at sourdough taking the place of Hovis. (Actually, the beer drinkers I'm talking about probably do.)

Hey guys! The world has moved on. Beer isn’t your exclusive province. There are new drinkers who you should be encouraging to get into beer to make sure your local brewery and pub stay viable. Why not let them without implying they’re total twats?

PS By the way M & S is currently offering 25% off its beer range in store and online which makes those beers I recommended the other day in the Guardian more affordable. Just in case you’re interested…

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Comments: 4 (Add)

Pedro Cotzier (The ElectroKemist on August 11 2016 at 11:44

I think you've hit upon a rich vein of form for many below the line commenters with articles on beer. The perception may be from many that because you're a wine expert, you cannot possibly know about beer too... can you?! We know that's bollocks. I think in general, there is no easy catch-all answer as to why people are 'grumpy' as there are many pockets of thought in beer enthusiast circles...

There are older drinkers who refuse to accept anything not served out of a cask (or grudgingly a bottle) can be real ale and still long for the days of naff-sexistly named ales on a row of shoddy pump clips.

Then there's a set of possibly younger drinkers who are getting a little complacent about the vigour currently experienced in the market place - exceptional numbers of brewers, excellent quality and range of beers and a buzz around a scene which has left some longing for new beers, even stuff that is superb is a beer to dismiss in favour of a new brand. I myself have been guilty of this - it's so easy to be disappointed walking into a pub and seeing a great beer, but because there's nothing new, feeling a bit let down. I think this in turn can make some people being a bit elitist about the way they talk about beer - 'Oh, you haven't tried XX by XX brewery? Well, you should... it makes XX you like look like Carling' and so forth. This in turn also relates to the championing of supermarkets, chains and not the independents - you're never going to please everyone here regardless of what you review. Some drinkers think of themselves as more conscientious in their buying of beer, wanting to provide more support to independent retailers and to the brewers whose wares they are purchasing.

I think things have moved on and improved and the scene surrounding beer is constantly morphing into something else and with numbers up on female brewing, ladies drinking beer and not feeling awkward ordering something beery when out with male counterparts. There is something for everyone and we can draw a lot of positivity from that.

After much waffling, returning to my original point... the perceived grumpiness is too complex a situation to address in one go. But I don't think tarring all beer drinkers with this brush is a way to go either.


David Buckwalter on October 14 2015 at 20:43

may be you have it wrong, it's more about beer drinkers being very, very one eyed about what they think is good.i went to beer tasting at a local liqueur store last Saturday, hardly a beer worth drinking, absolutely undrinkable say I in some cases. most of the time we drink beer for a drink without food, it's got to be what you like, there is no blend of food to balance out the flavour, your palat is totally focused.
I have drunk thousands of wines had very few I did not enjoy at least a bit, but some beer is just plane flavourless.
if you are into beer you can be very one eyed, but wine is drunk to suit the food or occasion.

GSOX on August 10 2015 at 11:58

Unbelievable that you are receiving comments like that. I think it is from a small minority as my experience from the craft beer and home brew scene is very positive and welcoming to everyone.

Keep up the good reviews of all types of drinks!

Real Ale Up North on August 5 2015 at 15:22

Well said that lady. Times have certainly moved on. :-)

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