Last May marked the fourth annual American Craft Beer Week. And an unscientific poll conducted by Charlie Papazian of the Brewers Association seeking the best American beer community ended with Portland, OR, and Asheville, NC, sharing the crown of Beer City USA. But let’s acknowledge that craft beer is global and that beer geeks reside the world over. That is part of the fun, and the challenge, of beer hunting.
Ungstrup, who is most fond of powerfully flavored beers from Flemish reds to double IPAs and imperial stouts, said, “My motto is that I can’t, with any weight, say that I don’t like a beer I haven’t had.”
It is the realization that there are so many beers out there, many of them fantastic, that sets us on the path to discover as many as possible. The moment one experiences his or her ale awakening is the genesis of the making of a beer geek.
Many beer lovers can recall their first beer. And unless you passed out drunk, everyone remembers his or her most recent one. But what about the ones in the middle? Some people committed to a favorite brand may have only tried a dozen or so beers―likely macro-produced lagers. Many among us sample everything we can get our greedy lips on and have hundreds of beers under―and over―our belts, without having any accurate account for how many that number may be.
There is no one way to define who is the geekiest, but we all have a rough estimate in our heads of the number of various brews we’ve partaken of along our paths. Then there are those who write beer reviews in their private notebooks or, increasingly, on beer review sites such as RateBeer and BeerAdvocate. And then there are the serious reviewers.