I agree with your sentiment that there’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker in America. Certainly if you are interested in flavor and variety.
As for snobbishness, it is often the refuge of those whose knowledge only scratches the surface of a subject. This is certainly true in beer where many enthusiastic but relatively inexperienced consumers cling to the small territory that they think is cool and look down their noses at other spheres of beerdom. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Mr. I-only-drink-double-IPAs.
A love of variety in beer and specifically in beer flavors is what created this industry. It has been a defining element of the industry ever since. “Flavor and variety” was the mantra I used to define craft beer as an industry spokesperson before there was an official BA definition.
New Glarus Brewing Company is, in some respects, the country’s most enigmatic brewery—not because they conduct business behind some veil of secrecy or proprietary technique, but because their steadfast shunning of world domination is so out of whack with their potential to do just that. Their beers, masterminded by Diploma Master Brewer Dan Carey, are highly sought-after by collectors around the world, but are so plentiful in their native Wisconsin that you can find them on the shelf at the local supermarket. And that’s as true of Spotted Cow, the brewery’s flagship farmhouse/cream ale, as it is for their more boutique-level fruit beers like Serendipity and Strawberry Rhubarb…
7. Avoid the second cheapest bottle on a wine list as, in most restaurants, this is the one the restaurateur pays the least for. Safe in the knowledge that customers don’t want to appear tight, owners tend to put the cheapest wine at a price slightly higher than the house wine – thus making the most profit. In most cases, the house wine will be better and cheaper.
While somm boner yields no Google results (wow?), the Oxford American English Dictionary might describe it as a phrase that’s “thrown around” in the “back of the house” in restaurants or at “staff trainings,” as a “playful dig” at fellow oenophiles who go “loco over a new liquid discovery” and can’t seem to “shut up about it.” And since somms are drinkers first and wine obsessives second, the source of their excitment can stray far from the first-growth Bordeaux and premier cru Champagnes you’d expect—anything from funky Belgian sours to vintage Chartreuse has the potential to be a somm’s liquid Viagra.
There you have it: Winemakers today are acting like brewers.
I mean that in the best possible way. The small-craft-beer industry is amazing right now. Craft beer has evolved from the hop wars of the last decade into an explosion of styles and expressions, largely thanks to garagistes and virtual tinkerers like Mikkeller. You don’t need to devise a beer for the ages. Devise one for next month.
No surprise that wine executives are quietly nervous about craft beer. And wine types, take note of how Big Beer has elbowed its way into the craft world.