Chesney McDonald looks examines the modus operandi of a particular type of beer drinker
I don’t want to alarm you, but there is a secret society of people who have infiltrated our industry, mingling under our very noses. The Eliminati: those who express their interest (not passion) in craft beer by process of elimination.
These are people who seem to like craft beer for the sole purpose of having something elitist and exclusivist, something for which you need to be in the know to be able to talk about let alone enjoy. They are also found near other subjective mediums such as visual art, wine, music and cinema.
Eliminati are not to be confused with the common garden variety hipster. If you can’t see an Eliminati, you can hear them poo-poo, insult, and grimace their way through any and all beers to catch one out. Your cousin who’s a straight laced accountant but has to bang the gavel on that pilsner you like? Eliminati. The new temp at work who you think is cool until they nay-say every beer you mention, but “the only beer worth drinking is this Trappist Dubbel, only sold in a coffin in Bruges during the full moon”? Eliminati
Here’s how to spot them.
People who are into beer, truly and passionately, talk about just that. Ask a real beer geek what they’ve tried recently and watch their eyes twinkle as they rattle off the best beers they’ve had and work their way back from there. Eliminati do just the opposite. They’ll tell you precisely how many different beers they’ve tried recently, but you’d be hard pressed to get a positive comment out of them.
This is why I love brewers and the brewing industry in general: Go to a beer festival and ask any brewer about the best beers there and you’ll hear a genuine rundown of all the beers they love – even from their competitors. They might start with their own beers, but most brewers I know can’t wait to geek out about other people’s stuff. We as drinkers should follow suit.
If we truly like craft beer, our attitudes should reflect that. Anyone who is passionate about craft beer sooner or later has an uncle or a colleague who accuses craft beer drinkers of being pretentious and stuck up but most of us simply know what we like. It’s the Eliminati who have earned us this reputation.
You might even be an Eliminati without knowing, but don’t worry, you can quit. All you have to do is adjust your attitude. Focus on the positive. You love beer for a reason. I promise, if you blabber on about why you love that obscure gose to your Steiny drinking mates they won’t hold it against you. They just don’t want to be told what not to drink. Fair enough, too, that is craft beer’s whole schtick. So with that in mind, get out there and enjoy some beer. But do keep your eyes peeled. The Eliminati are everywhere.