While the craft beer push of the last few decades has brought us countless fantastic brews, it has also sprouted multiple subcultures worth of beer folk. And while most people assume that anyone interested in craft beer is your standard hipster, they're quite wrong. When you scan your neighborhood gastropub or brewery, you'll notice buzzed groups that fit into a variety of molds. Many of you are probably already part of this rapidly growing culture. Read on to see who else is out there.
The Home Brewer
These people are geeky, chatty, innovative and knowledgeable about all things beer. They will always have a growler of their latest brew handy so that you can try. They pour before you ask and stare at you out of the corner of their eye (or sometimes just stare at you) during every sip. They'll always ask for honest feedback so they can improve, but if you're not too jazzed about it, they'll tell you it was better when it was fresher or colder.
Then they'll go into detail about their beer gravity levels, the type of yeast they used and then round off the conversation with their plans for their next batch. Next time, they're going to try something "wild" like putting weed in a stout "just to see what happens."
Favorite beer: Their own
The Industry Brewer
These guys and gals are laid back and love a good beer–usually made by themselves or a friend. Your typical industry brewer (apart from the ladies in the industry) can be easily spotted at any bar or house party. Their uniform is simple: thick beard, a brewery t-shirt, and a pilsner. Contrary to what some may believe, the industry brewer is anything but a beer snob and often takes pleasure in a well-balanced pilsner over a barrel-aged stout. While brewing, the industry brewer will blast music throughout the brewhouse. That music is often metal.
Favorite beer: A nice, balanced pilsner
The Hop Fiend
Typically known as the "hophead," but the word "fiend" really captures the essence of this fanatic. These people travel all over to get their hop fix. They won't settle for just their local, usually very adequate IPAs–because let's face it, when you have every brewery in the state making the same style, chances are you're not struggling to find a good one. Oh no, these cats like to fly, drive, and stand in line for hours around the country in search for the hoppy beer of their dreams. A few of them might never find happiness until they've eaten hops straight off the vine like some strange bitter giraffe (Yes, we know they're actually called bines). They always ask what kind of hop is in their beer so that they can mention that citra would've been better.
Favorite beer: Pliny the Younger or Heady Topper. If unavailable, pure hop extract.
This drinker will usually imbibe in blondes, saisons, and stouts because these beers have one thing in common: they're not hoppy. The n00b hates hoppy beer and doesn't understand how anyone in the world could ever take pleasure in drinking an IPA. The n00b relies on their friends and bartenders to guide them at the bar. If they're feeling adventurous, they'll opt for a flight but will leave the IPAs untouched. However, once the n00b has finally tried the right pale ale on the right hot day, you'll hear them utter "I normally hate hoppy beer but this is super good," and it'll only be a short while before you see them posting Instagram photos of their ticket for Kern River Brewing's annual Citra IPA lottery.
Favorite beer: Blonde ale…until the thirst sets in
The Perpetually Unimpressed
The perpetually unimpressed beer drinker is exactly that: perpetually unimpressed. Their favorite activity is drinking beer and loudly proclaiming to anyone within earshot that they've had better beers than whatever they are drinking at that moment. Even if they're drinking a beer they "love," they will take a sip and say that it has changed in one way or another. The perpetually unimpressed doesn't buy into hype beers and will dislike any hype beer on principle. Not only will they never care to taste the hype beer, but they will also roll their eyes at the very mention of the beer's name.
Favorite beer: A beer they can never have again
These guys are the Pokémon masters of the craft beer world. But, instead of a mere $3 for a pack of trading cards, they're dropping $30 on a bottle of beer they're not going to drink for seven years (if they drink it at all–much better to trade, after all). They like to keep their collectables in pristine condition so don't even think about pulling that TAPS Remy's Pappy out of its dark cubby because the light will damage it. These fellas will always know more than you and will want to exhibit that as they verbally walk you through every beer they've ever tasted the moment the words "I've tried…" fall out of anyone's mouth.
Favorite beer: First batch of any beer or "whale" from the Midwest with a sub-500 bottle count
The Beer Blogger
These may be the easiest to point out at a brewery because they will be the weirdos spending ten minutes taking a picture of their beer during sunset. Then they'll spend another fifteen minutes editing the photo on their phone and posting it to all their social media accounts, but hey, they're working. Leave them alone.
They'll also whip out a notebook to jot down tasting notes and general facts about the beer and brewery pretty often. The beer blogger also scores fancy media passes at beer festivals so if you're friends with these people, you're probably flushed with brewery stickers and bottle opener keychains. They're also usually rocking a t-shirt with their blog's logo on it. The shirt will have a hashtag on it somewhere.