Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
I have this beer buddy I need to get rid of. He’s a bit of a jerk. I met him years ago early in my homebrewing pursuits while we were both participating in a tasting. Comes out of nowhere and says softly, right in my ear, “this beer smells like baby diapers…” As odd as his delivery was, he was just as astute about that specific descriptor. He was absolutely right. The beer we were tasting smelled like diapers and tasted like toejam. I couldn’t take another sip without thinking I was in a public restroom with a fresh Koala Kare disaster.
At first, this guy’s off comments were alright at first. I learned a lot about the differences between DMS & diacetyl, estery & phenolic, oxidized & infected. But, over time, he has gotten a little annoying. He goes on his little rants about beer service. Always mentioning how this beer had not lived up to its potential because it wasn’t served in properly rinsed glassware. On and on about the virtues of the nonic, tulip, snifter, goblet, and how the teku and newest IPA glass will most likely change over time. Coupled with the discourse on the one perfect temperature to serve each separate beer style, he has become the insufferable beer snob. I always tried to argue that the good ol’ shaker glass is stackable, holds temperature rather well, and will less likely break after banging it against his head. He has stopped talking about glassware since.
Sometimes I try to egg him on, perhaps trying to expose his hyper-sensitive thinking by telling him things like that 45 degrees can’t be the perfect angle to hold the glass while pouring- that each beer must have its own perfect angle. Or that they really should take barometric readings before calibrating the beer line length and serving pressure. He usually doesn’t take notice and often blindly agrees, and continues to rant about something or other- like how German beer styles suffer on the voyage across the Atlantic, or how manufacturers should be legally required to print bottling dates, or how NEIPAs were surreptitiously designed by big beer conglomerates as gateway beer for children. Well, not really that last point, but you get the idea.
What I have tangentially learned from him over the years, is that sometimes it is okay just to try your very best to enjoy a beer for what it is, where you are at the time, and who you are with. I learned that it is okay to be served a weissbier in a shaker glass, it is okay to use an non-rinsed glass as long at is is clean, and that its probably more important to shut your mouth rather than risk a loogie (or worse) floating in your pale ale.
Regardless of what he has taught me, our friendship may be seriously at a crossroads. I am especially frightened of the fact that he intends on getting BJCP and Cicerone certified. This is going to be hell. He has seriously affected my ability to enjoy beer. Bringing up beer with him is going to be like kicking a hornets nest.
But, nah, I just can’t do it, because, after everything he has put me through, the dumped beers, the scowls from servers, the frowns from homebrewing folks with poopy beer, at the end of the day, he is absolutely 100% right.