The Beer Geek
Real Men Taste Beer
The geek recently got triggered, and by the use of that millennial slang, the intention is to convey a certain degree of umbrage, brought on by a feeling of being unfairly treated and one’s nose being bent by an apparently innocent comment...made in all likelihood earnestly and in good faith...I mean this person really meant it when they posted it...but you get the picture, I got all bent out of shape about it.
It was a comment about how real men drink cheap beer, because a real man should acquire a taste for beer and if so, why not a cheap one. I believe that this was an homage to bare-knuckle fighting, opening bottles with your teeth, casual knife throwing, the ability to hogtie anything with feet, and not knowing what foreplay is…you know…the “manly” arts..but I digress. The point was that beer is yucky, but that real men drink it, and so boys should man up and tolerate the stuff and if man enough eventually “acquire a taste for it”.
Dude, this is some misguided gobbledygook!
This might have been misguided, and at the time, I might have been a little hot under the collar, but the enduring feeling that clouded my soul for the rest of the day was a deep sadness, a thick fog of melancholy...and I dug deep in an attempt to understand these feelings and my reaction. Of course, I had to share these findings with you, my Geek squad. Here’s what I came up with…
Beer starts with what is essentially boiled barley malt which is just sickly sweet but otherwise devoid of character.
Firstly, I admire beer. I don’t just have a healthy respect for it, I admire it. It is elevated in my estimation because of just how simple this thing is supposed to be and yet nature, with a dash of creative nurture, has created complexity and depth out of simplicity. How can one not admire the mystery of how this comes to be? I mean, this is Neal-Degrasse-Tyson-appreciation-for-the-cosmos-deep, ok??!! Let me step back from the ranting ledge here and explain. Beer starts with what is essentially boiled barley malt which is just sickly sweet but otherwise devoid of character. Yeast, with the passage of time, coaxes out of this simple cocoon the magnificent Rajah Brooke’s birdwing! By some estimates, this wondrous creature bears some 1,600 aromatics and flavor compounds mostly active in that amorphous and indefinable space between smell and taste. Why someone would have to tolerate this or “get used to this” is beyond my simple reptilian brain...MY brain just wants more of the good stuff. And if economic projections are to be believed, so do a growing number of consumers, manly or otherwise.
Secondly, why should anyone have to TOLERATE any leisure activity? I suppose the same can be said of Wagner, but here my argument starts to fall apart and I don’t have a death wish to alienate some very very dear friends. But you get the gist of what I’m trying poorly to say. If this leisure time activity of tasting, sometimes critically and sometimes out of pure intuitive enjoyment, is somehow distasteful, then perhaps IT IS NOT FOR YOU. There are some devious bastards out there brewing craft beer, and the stuff they get up to should keep any attentive palate well-occupied in rapt concentration for decades if not millennia...and we’re not even accounting for the fermentation products of new yeast strains, bacterial combos, and ever-evolving hop varietals!
Thirdly, “cheap beer” only has one endpoint, delivering a buzz at a reasonable price. If it’s the buzz you’re chasing, there are cheaper, more effective ways of getting to point B than forcefully chugging a bunch of volume. There really are! That discussion would be outside the scope of this rant and borderline illegal in the country of publication...but I digress yet again. Carrying that argument to its logical conclusion, why not chug rubbing alcohol or antifreeze...both can be tolerated to achieve inebriation and perceived manliness. This kinda flows into my last and final point, which is…
Beer should not be mass-produced cheaply.
Now, the Geek knows that this is contentious, and so am going to preface this point by saying it’s the Geek’s own humble opinion. Just going to lay it out there and you guys can debate the finer points. The Geek speaks loudly and often about how mass marketing leads to indifference and the loss of giving a tinker’s cuss about what we are putting into our bodies. The Geek isn’t talking about some health concept, but about paying attention, being in the present when eating and/or drinking, more about mindfulness, if anything. When we chaw through a golden arches hamburger we are shooting straight for the point B of feeling full. When we down a tower of commercial lager, we are making a beeline for the point B of getting a nice happy hour buzz. When we hurry through a breezy sunlit park to the mall we are gunning for the point B of a generic experience over that of living life for the small epiphanies. The Geek is not making any value judgments but perhaps humbly suggesting that life is too short and too precious to not savor each moment and suck all the marrow one can out of this limited hectic existence. The Geek’s just saying...