Like any subculture, the craft beer world comes equipped with its own vocabulary, and oh what a gloriously outrageous vocabulary it is. We can thank beer bloggers and the good people of Reddit for this insane vernacular that oozes from the beer bros we love to hate -- the kind that pride themselves on trying as many specialty beers as possible and feel better than everyone because of it. If at any breweries, festivals or beer bars you hear these words, be sure to steer clear. You wouldn't really want to hang out with those people anyway.
1) "Whalez" Typically followed by the word "bro," the reference to a beer as a "whale" derives from Herman Melville's American literary classic Moby Dick. As many of you know, the book revolves around the Captain Ahab's painstaking search for "the white whale." Tack a "z" on that bad boy and it suddenly means a beer that's difficult to find due to limited release or production. Some may claim that they "only drink whalez, bro." Avoid these people. Leave them to revel in their tantalizing beer fantasies alone. They usually can't have a conversation with another human without bringing up all the crazy beers they've drunk anyway. You won't be missing out.
Used in a sentence: That bottle share was totally lame. It's a good thing I kept my whalez at home so I didn't have to waste them on those n00bs.
2) "Shelf Turds" It's simple a concept: anything that isn't a "whale," is a shelf turd. Some beer folk pride themselves on only drinking the finest and rarest and would never be caught dead with a shelf turd in hand. A shelf turd can often also be identified as beers that are easy to make or easy to find. Oh, it came out a month ago? Shelf turd. Is that IPA going to expire in a week? Shelf turd. You just want a brown ale? Shelf turd. Why waste time drinking shelf turds like a well-balanced, graceful blonde ale or a humble pilsner when you could be showering in whalez, bro?
Used in a sentence: Life's too short to waste it on drinking shelf turds. 3) "Ticks"
A "tick" refers to checking/"ticking" a certain hard-to-find beer off your grand beer list. Oh yeah, these guys are organized. They have lists. They know exactly what "whalez" they need to catch and they keep their harpoon at the ready. There is no such thing as a completed list as long as breweries continue to provide things like tequila/wine/bourbon barrel-aged ales or do something gimmick-y like use yeast that has orbited the earth.
Used in a sentence: I can't wait to finally tick the shit out of that beer.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
4) "I'm cellaring..." Not only will this brand of beer snob bore you with what super rare beers he has drunk in the past, but he will also go into detail about beers he hasn't even drunk yet. Hear the words "I'm cellaring..." and prepare yourself for a long thirty minutes of slow, uninterested head-nodding. He'll talk about what he's cellaring, how long he has been cellaring, where he's cellaring and when he's planning to open each beer he's cellaring. If you can last the entire conversation, he may even invite you to his bottle share he's planning to have in three years.
Used in a sentence: I've been cellaring that bourbon barrel-aged barleywine for 10 months to really smooth it out. Should be ready in another eight.
5) "Tonez" Maybe the word "note" was too pleasant of a word or maybe it just had an inherent lack of "z's" but whatever the verdict, "note" just didn't fit the beer bro's vernacular. Thus came the word "tonez." Craft beer enthusiasts use the art of language to capture the essence of a flavor in a particular beer. Those awful "whalez, bro" beer snobs, on the other hand, mention as many "tonez" as possible when going on about this year's batch of Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing Co. Anything can be a tone, but obviously those sick hop tonez are what you want.
Used in a sentence: Can you taste all those crazy Citra hop tonez?