What’s Brewing: Beer Geekery

(Totally Awesome) Illustration by Anne Vickman

I was surprised when I read that Merriam Webster’s primary definition for geek is “a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake.” Hmm, really? Second definition: “a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked.” This doesn’t bode well. Unlike MW, I happen to associate the word with an air of loving appreciation for the word — there’s something endearing about people so enraptured by a topic that they can’t help but seek it out constantly in order to learn more about it. And as long as that person isn’t an asshole, I’d say the latter definition perhaps needs updating: Any decent geek should also be able to make fun of him or herself.

My particular vein of geekery involves beer (also: bugs, circus arts, music, Frisbee, and Comedy Central’s new show, Workaholics). The constant exploration of what seems like an infinite combination of water, hops, yeast, and grain is made easy with the overwhelming availability of craft beer out there in the world. The ability to compare and contrast flavors within the context of different styles is a new skill that has brought said geekdom to a whole new level. And even though sometimes I listen to my own conversations with other beer drinkers and realize how ridiculous they sound — “It tastes like petroleum fruit poop!”— I love that it continues to be a source of conversation as well as colorful and accurate adjectives to describe different flavors (something we word nerds just can’t get enough of). And don’t think I’m not aware of how annoying this can be to other people. And so, in the spirit of making fun of myself, I highly encourage you to watch the video below. And then maybe leave me some comments about what kind of delicious beer you’ve been drinking lately.