How To Be A Craft Beer Jerk In 5 Easy Steps

"If you haven't tasted them side by side, your opinion is invalid."

So: you’ve been drinking craft beer for a while now, frequenting craft beer bars, getting to know other craft beer drinkers, and you’re ready for the next stage in your journey. You’re ready to try your hand at being a Craft Beer Jerk (CBJ).

But how can you take that next step? After all, so many of the CBJs that you come across have been drinking craft beer for longer than you, and know more about flavour profiles and hop varieties and Belgian monasteries than you do, and have more contacts within the industry than you do. How could you ever hope to join their ranks, and achieve the title of CBJ?

Rest assured! Becoming a CBJ is not out of your reach. It doesn’t require a certain standard of craft beer heritage, knowledge, or networks. What most people don’t realise is that being a Craft Beer Jerk is much like being a Regular Jerk. It is simply a subset of the wider Jerk community, and many of the techniques used to be a Regular Jerk can be commandeered to be a Craft Beer Jerk.

However, reader beware: being a CBJ is an occupation that requires constant maintenance. It is not something you can simply ‘become’ and then forget about, moving onto other endeavours and expecting the jerkiness to be self-sustaining.

In fact, I am of the firm belief that no one ‘is’ a Jerk. That is, jerkiness is not about who you are, but about what you do. This means that while it’s quite easy to be a Jerk—whether you’re aware of it or not—it’s also quite easy to accidentally stop being a Jerk, simply by failing to keep up jerky behaviours. If you’re serious about being recognised as a CBJ in an ongoing way, you must constantly check that you’re continuing to act in a jerky manner.

With all of that in mind, here are 5 simple steps you can take to be a Craft Beer Jerk.

"We're not laughing, Mark. You're just ruining the photo."
“We’re not laughing, Mark. You’re just ruining the photo.”

1. Remember that beer is more important than people.

Most of the other techniques for being a CBJ rely on this as a foundational step. By raising the value of an inanimate liquid above the value of your fellow human beings, you’ll find that being a Jerk comes quite naturally.

For example, if someone disagrees with you on the taste of a particular beer, try insulting them instead of critiquing the beer. If someone’s views on a brewery don’t align with yours, try talking about them behind their back in an attempt to turn people against them. If someone drinks a beer you don’t like, or anything from a brewery you don’t respect, be sure to judge the person, instead of being caught up enjoying your own drink.

"If you drink that IPA anywhere other than the brewery itself, you're a Philistine."
“If you drink that IPA anywhere other than the brewery itself, you’re a Philistine.”

If you keep in mind that people have feelings (which thankfully, beer does not), you can generally hurt them by simply deprioritising and dehumanising them. Luckily, this can come quite naturally to most of us. All you need to do is remember: you should never have to keep an opinion to yourself.

Who knew your journey to Craft Beer Jerkiness could begin so simply!

The consequences if you fail at this:

  • You might be polite and respectful to others.
  • You may find yourself becoming more likeable.
  • You could accidentally make friends.
"It's not a cartoon. It's label art. I'd explain the difference to you, but you probably still wouldn't understand."
“It’s not a cartoon. It’s label art. I’d explain the difference to you, but you probably still wouldn’t understand.”

2. Wherever possible, take things seriously.

Levity is the enemy of jerkiness. If you take potentially stressful situations in good humour, you’ll find that any jerkiness you have achieved will disappear down the drain like a skunked lager. However, if you always respond seriously, you’ll be ready to begin an argument at a moment’s notice.

If someone says something you disagree with, make sure you let them know. If someone says something that could possibly be construed as a joke, just assume it isn’t, and flare up at them. Never give people the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, you could be seen as encouraging further humour, and everyone knows that you should never mix fun and beer. In extreme circumstances, laughter can even cause beer to be spilled or to shoot out of one’s nose onto the other people at the table. Unfortunately, this is not as jerky as it sounds. It’s safest to avoid laughter at all costs.

The consequences if you fail at this:

  • You may find yourself being fair and charitable to people.
  • The resulting laughter will trigger the release of dopamine and endorphins, which may lead to you and others having an ‘enjoyable time’. Do not let this happen!
"Really? You think an imperial IPA is the best match for Raiders of the Lost Ark? Well, that's one way to butcher it."
“Really? You think an imperial IPA is the best match for Raiders of the Lost Ark? Well, that’s one way to butcher it.”

3. Take any opportunity to one-up people’s stories and experiences.

A true Jerk will be self-focused at all times, which includes constantly showing off and attempting to place themselves at the top of the pecking order. When it comes to the realm of craft beer, there are ample opportunities to one-up other people. These include: telling about the most expensive beer you’ve bought, the best beers you’ve drank, the rarest beers you’ve had, the most obscure bars you’ve been to, or the overseas beer destinations you’ve been to. You can even combine several of these together for maximum effect.

"It scored 100 on RateBeer. How have you not tried it? I've had it at least 4 times now."
“It scored 100 on RateBeer. How have you not tried it? I’ve had it at least 4 times now.”

However, you are not limited to these topics. Even stories about the cheapest beer you’ve had, worst bar you’ve been to, etc, can be wrangled to draw attention away from others and towards yourself.

Unfortunately, there are many ways to tell stories and share your experiences without being a CBJ. What’s important is not the stories you tell, but how you tell them, and how often. The key to avoid being non-jerky is to mix in a good dose of self-centredness and arrogance.

If you find that a topic arises in which you don’t have the best stories, be sure to change the topic as quickly as possible to one where you can gain the upper hand. Do not allow others to have the last word or enjoy their memories, and do not value or validate them and their stories. If it is too difficult to change the topic, simply don’t listen—allow yourself to be distracted, take on a glazed-over look, and then when the chance comes, interrupt them mid-sentence to tell them why that triple IPA you had was better than that triple IPA they had.

The consequences if you fail at this:

  • You may have flowing, interesting conversation where everyone feels heard and appreciated.
  • You could unwittingly appear humble or caring.
"I bet they've never even had a double hopped caramel infused sour brown IPA."
“I bet they’ve never even had a double hopped caramel infused sour brown IPA.”

4. Exclude people based on beer-related criteria (lack of knowledge, different tastes, etc).

Some people’s parents raised them to believe that people should be valued, treated well, and even included, based solely on the fact that they are humans, irrelevant of any ways they may be different to you. However, most parents are not Craft Beer Jerks, and so they are wrong. The well-developed Jerk can seize any differences between themselves and others, and use them as opportunities to exclude people who don’t match their strict requirements for positive human interaction.

Some valid reasons for a CBJ or to look down on people and/or exclude them from conversation include: they drink beers you think aren’t worthy of appreciation (e.g. styles you don’t like, big brand beers, etc); they haven’t been drinking craft beer for as long as you have; or they don’t know much about beer (note that this may sometimes be revealed by the person expressing genuine interest or asking questions).

If any or all of these factors are true, it’s your responsibility as a CBJ to let these people know they’re not worthy of your time and attention. In fact, it’s not necessary to have factual evidence of any of these factors—you can exclude someone even if you suspect they know less about beer than you do (for example, if they dress in a certain way, or if they’re female, or if you’ve ever seen them drinking something that isn’t a craft beer even once).

Of course, the person who doesn’t doesn’t like beer, or doesn’t drink it for any reason, is the lowest life form. Do not speak to them. Do not offer them a smile, or even eye contact, unless it is patronising. Keep the conversation strictly on beer, and don’t allow the topic to stray to one in which they may be more interested or included. (If you are a bartender, you have a special opportunity to make them feel like they don’t belong in the venue at all. Use it well.)

The consequences if you fail at this:

  • You could accidentally make friends with someone who adds variety and richness to your life.
  • You may broaden your horizons.
  • A guy who changed the topic for someone else’s sake died once. Don’t risk it.

There are countless more ways to advance on your path towards being a CBJ—too many for this article. However, for the final one here, I thought I’d share a little known secret—a shortcut, if you will, to go from zero to Jerk in five seconds flat, with complete deniability.

"And he said I was using the wrong kind of wine glass for my saison. He's such a jerk."
“And he said I was using the wrong kind of wine glass for my saison. He’s such a jerk.”

5. As a general rule, when you say someone else is being a Craft Beer Jerk… you’re being a Jerk.

It’s deceptively easy. It even works if you just write an article about it.

If you have any further tips on how to be a CBJ, please share them with us in the comments. (An opportunity to test out step number 5!)

4 Comments on “How To Be A Craft Beer Jerk In 5 Easy Steps

  1. Craft beer has really taken off in Australia the last 4 or so years, it’s everywhere, so many local brews, just craft beer everywhere!

    PS: You been to Netherworld yet?

    • It really has! And Brisbane is becoming an impressive city for beer.

      I have indeed been to Netherworld. Love it! There’s a pinball machine there called Revenge From Mars that I was particularly obsessed with…

      • I’m mostly terminating Terminators and drinking with my absolute best friend from Uni. I’m thinking of going to this D&D thing, next week I think, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *