Hey Patrick Smith, You’re Wrong – I Do Like Fancy Beer

Never before in my four-year history of writing for the KegWorks blog have I ever once called someone out in the title of a post. Until now.

Dogfish Head Craft Beer

I don’t know Patrick Smith. I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. All I know is that he wrote I Hate Fancy Beer, and So Do You and despite the title, all I really hate is his article.

For all I know Patrick Smith is a decent guy. He could spend his weekends volunteering at homeless shelters and feeding stray kittens but that doesn’t change the fact that his presumptuous attitude is all kinds of wrong. After reading his thoughts, I couldn’t not call him out.

I suggest you read the post for yourself because I believe in well-informed opinions – but I’ll give you a brief synopsis now, just in case you’re short on time. Smith reflects on a simpler time when fizzy yellow lagers were your only beer options and there was no societal pressure to buy a super expensive pint of some really obscure style that you don’t even enjoy, while all the while you’re secretly craving a Bud Light.

If that’s the way he feels, that’s fine but I’m not ok with his assumption that the majority of people drinking craft beer are faking interest and enjoyment. That being said, I have a few friendly suggestions for Patrick Smith:

1. You write for a site called “The Good Men Project” – before you start your next piece, you might want to think about what it is that makes a good man. I’m of the opinion that good men are smart, cultured, and confident enough to make their own decisions and back them up with good reason. A guy who drinks what he hates in an attempt to fit in and avoid ball busting is not my definition of a good man.

2. Please, please, please stop obsessing over what everyone else thinks and think for yourself. If you want to shoot pool with a couple of Pabst Blue Ribbons, do it up. That’s more cedar-spiced holiday ales for people like me, who actually appreciate it. Don’t order something because you think it’s what you’re supposed to like. Drink what you like to drink – because you enjoy it. I never thought I’d say this but I do believe I have more respect for the guy who orders and consumes the strawberry margarita he wants, than the guy that chokes down a smoked porter he detests. I couldn’t date the pink drink guy but that’s another story for a different post.

3. Don’t believe everything you see on television. Marketers tell you that drinking their beer will make you cool because they want you to buy their beer (I know this because I’m a marketer.) As unbelievable as it may sound, a lame guy with a Miller Highlife in hand is still a lame guy. The fact that you openly admit that your taste in beer was cultivated by way of mass marketed commercials makes me seriously question your autonomy – and your credibility. I’ve never seen a commercial for Löwenbräu but I’m confident that the only reason it aired lies in the fact that Anheuser-Busch Inbev owns that brewery. The brewers making the beers you hate are much too busy busting their asses and trying new things to secure the kind of funding needed to produce expensive TV commercials. A good beer speaks for itself.

4. Take your friends’ comments and jokes with a grain of salt, or find new friends. It sounds to me like they’re just trying to get you to expand your horizons and be a little more open-minded but regardless, real friends respect your choices, even when they don’t agree. There’s much to be said for trying new things but at the end of the day I hang out with my friends because I enjoy their company. If I were your friend, Patrick Smith, I would encourage you to get your carbon dioxide headaches any way you want. Drink 3 Belgian bombers or 25 Bud Lights, just please don’t puke on my couch.

5. Drink like you write, Patrick Smith. Your article was interesting, clever, and well executed. I didn’t agree with most of what you said but it was an enjoyable read all the same. Being a person who appreciates beer isn’t much different than becoming a writer.

Before you can write well, you have to read. A skilled writer reads everything they can get their hands on. Writers read newspapers, novels, Facebook statuses, billboards, plays, and the graffiti on the bathroom stall door and the whole time they’re looking for ideas, for subtle brilliance, for nuances that only writers would pick up on.

I have a sneaky suspicion you’re that kind of writer. You find yourself critiquing blog posts and CNN headlines based on the criteria that matters most to you. You’ve realized what you like, and what you don’t like, and you’ve developed a style that’s your own. I encourage you to do the same with beer. Continue trying new things, order flights, taste what sounds interesting, and then figure out what it is that you really enjoy. Then, drink it… even if “it” ends up being your old standby PBR.

I hope my post doesn’t upset you, Patrick Smith. I just needed to tell you that it’s ok if you don’t like fancy beer but I’m going to keep on drinking it. Unlike you, I don’t pretend to like “fancy beer” because everyone else says I should. I like fancy beer because there’s something downright enchanting about the way aromas, texture, flavor, and character combine to create a liquid art form that’s nothing short of inspirational. I like fancy beers because they make me a more cultured person. I also like to drink Labatt Blue Light when I’m tailgating at a Bills game. It feels right, so I do it.

I don’t like all “fancy beers”. I ordered the new Saranac White IPA the other night and I hated it. I couldn’t even finish the thing. I won’t buy it again but that doesn’t mean it’s a terrible beer. I also don’t like cooked carrots. Other people love them. Am I missing out by not eating them? I don’t think so because I don’t like them. It’s all about personal preference. Having more options isn’t a bad thing; it’s a beautiful thing. If you don’t explore what’s out there, think for yourself, and make educated decisions based on what you like, that’s where you’re missing out.

[techtags:Fancy Beer, Craft Beer, Patrick Smith, Good Men Project, Rant]


  • bobv March 13, 2012 @ 12:41pm

    I don’t know if I could date a woman who doesn’t like cooked carrots, but I would definitely date a woman who hates Saranac White IPA!

  • Patrick Smith March 13, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    I’m not at all bothered by your post, Liz. And I appreciate the kind words and the maturity. It’s probably more than I deserve.

    I wrote a mildly-but-deliberately provocative thing for the Good Men Project and it got picked up at AskMen.com and took on a life of its own. Turns out, folks are pretty passionate about beer.

    I exaggerated my opinion for humor’s sake and probably didn’t spend enough time sanding the rough edges on the piece – namely, my finger-in-the-eye tone. It seems to have made some people very angry. It certainly wasn’t meant in any personal way. As I wrote, my friends say pretty much what all the commenters say. Only they’re nicer about it.

    I’m not sorry for the piece; I prefer beer that connoisseurs find repugnant. And windbags who make beer sacred are worthy of good-natured teasing. If my teasing came off less than good-natured, the error is mine.

    Again, thanks for the thoughtful rebuttal. Psssht … cheers to you.

  • Clayton Wood March 13, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Patrick Smith sounds like my 21 year old son who came to me and said that he thought all beers were the same. After my jaw dropped, the schooling began and he has come around enough to appreciate a good beer/food pairing. I guess for him, the hinderence is that he can’t afford to keep a dedicated beer fridge stocked with 5-8 different types of beer as well as a smaller bar fridge and keg-orator for those lazy days lounging around the pool. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to limit oneself to just a single style or maker of beer. Personally I enjoy beers from all over the globe, something I learned while traveling port to port in my Navy days. Beer pairing with food is a wonderful thing that enhances not only the flavor of food, but also the beer much the way wine does. That said, to each their own. If Patrick Smith wants to drink a mass produced beer with everything and declare it his utopia, thats works for me too. More of the unique stuff for those of us who truly enjoy beer and the unique characteristics each one offers. I will admit that I am starting to regret teaching my oldest about beer because now he frequently raids my fridge. With three more boys behind him, I don’t want to even begin to think about how much beer they are going to go through (I envision locust descending upon my fridge and cleaning me out). Maybe there is something to this less expensive mass produced beer after all…

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