Feb 16, 2012
What words tip you off, make you scream or want to throw that gorgeous beer in the face of an offending and sometimes uneducated or ignorant or snobbish mouth?
I’ve got a few that almost drive me to distraction.
While I usually focus on the positive and like to make people think, today I’m going to vent on words that I think should be sent into orbit concerning beer. Some are the entire word and some are contextual. Caveat: Words are like guns. It’s the people that wield them that need education and correction. Insist on proper words per your beloved beer.
In any event, I’d love your help purging these words from our current beer vocabulary.
1. Real. As in people saying they only drink or make “real beer.” What is real beer? Is it someone’s opinion? Is it based on some rule or law a few people with an agenda put forth a long time ago or very recently based on what they think beer should be? “Real” for beer is whatever you want it to be. There’s a snob component here that’s unattractive. It’s all about education and in the end liking what you yourself like to drink. [Suggestion: shift to 'beers I like']
2. Microbrew. AUUUUUUUGGGHHHH!!!! Okay….I’ll be alright…. This is an extremely misused and overused and misunderstood word. At one point it was proper and properly used. Today it’s flung about like saying microbrews or microbrewed beer is what delineates ‘real’ beer (see above). Per the Brewers Association a Microbrewery is: A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels (17,600 hectoliters) of beer per year with 75% or more of its beer sold off-site. Time to shift your words, folks! Not every beer that isn’t from a really large house or from a brewery that someone thinks is too big (for whatever their own goofy reasons) is NOT a microbrew. [Suggestion: learn the brewery size category descriptors - either use it right or don't use it at all]
3. Import. Who else has been to a bar or restaurant wherein the menu with beer includes an “Import” list…and at least one of the beers is from an incountry brewer?! Plain and simple – this is sloppy and unacceptable. Know where the beers you’re drinking are from before you share that info with others. Incorrect education is hard to reverse. Stupidity is totally inexcusable – plus look at the ‘truth in advertising’ idea. [Suggestion: find out where the beer is from and get the info right]
4. Heavy. Oof. Even the word sinks to the sidewalk like lead. Get rid of it. Use other fabulous more descriptive words like robust, full, lush, chewy. Take a nod from describing people: would you rather be called robust and full bodied or heavy? Not rocket science here, folks. [Suggestion: load your vocabulary with plenty of descriptors that you can use]
5. Domestic. It kills me when I hear people still use this word. To me this falls into the ‘who cares’ category. Beer is beer and it’s made everywhere, literally. And it also borders on beer racism, like import does. It’s a totally outdated term. [Suggestion: know the country of origin, if you wish, and simply enjoy the beers for what they are]
6. Light. This one must be contextualized before it can leave your lips. Light what – body? Color? Flavor? Mouthfeel? It’s a great word to describe that also needs a partner word to complete what you are trying to communicate. Using only the word ‘light’ is a disservice to the beer and indicates an incomplete and uneducated and outdated thought. While most of us have an idea of what the talker or writer might be discussing, it’s time to throw the blanket “light beer” idea to the curb. [Suggestion: only use 'light' when you will augment it with another word that will fill out the meaning of what you're trying to describe]
7. Dark. See Light, above. The most powerful – read: educated – beer folks have a whole litany of terminology at their tongue tip. Develop your beer vocab. There’s a whole rainbow of words to describe color and other beer characteristics. [Suggestion: get rid of any racist beer terms - again]
8. Good. This is a totally subjective word. Don’t use it. Good should be supplanted by ‘quality’ if anything, when applicable. And again, if you really want to know and love your beer, increase and improve your vernacular first. [Suggestion: don't use this word with beer - it indicates either a snobbery or an ignorance]
9. Bad. See Good, above. Bad should only be used if the beer has truly turned into something other than what the brewer intended. Too many people use Good and Bad to throw their weight and opinions around. Arrogance is never attractive nor helpful. [Suggestion: don't use this word with beer - it indicates either a snobbery or an ignorance]
I feel better already.