29 January 2009

The Complete Rules of Becoming a Beer Geek Part 1: Equipment

Although we at Hoosier Beer Geek are well into our second year of bringing the public the best in beer writing, we realize that not everyone has been with us the whole way. We know that the whole craft beer thing may be entirely new to some of you reading right now. Worry not! We are pleased to present our newest venture:

Hoosier Beer Geek's
Complete Rules of Becoming a Beer Geek

Part 1: Equipment

Beer Geekdom is a hobby like any other, and that means that before you can start, you'll need equipment. Luckily you may already own many of the items listed below.

1) An ID that verifies that you're 21 years old: It's getting harder and harder to make a fake ID these days. And we're not suggesting you get a fake ID if you are under 21. Beek Geekery requires a pool of experience and a depth of knowledge one only acquires at the magic moment when you reach the age of 21.

At least that's what the lawyers are saying.

Let's face it - if you are obtaining beer with a fake ID, you're probably just getting drunk in your dad's garage or fraternity house or dorm room or something - the point is you're just drinking to get drunk. Being a Beer Geek means you drink for the taste of the beer, and the whole getting drunk thing happens entirely by accident.

What this really means is that you won't like getting drunk anymore - because then you can't taste the beer very well. And the hangover might (almost) convince you that drinking beer isn't worth it.

We're making a lot of assumptions, but you're underage and we're old and annoying.

2) A form of transportation: We're using the word transportation loosely - a car, bike, wheelchair, skateboard, or even just your legs will work. Even a stolen car will work!

Why do you need transportation? Because, unfortunately, beer doesn't magically appear at your house. You may be saying "I know a guy that swears to his wife that he's never bought beer!" Don't tell his wife, but he's definitely lying.

3) Beer: Many might argue that having just any old beer doesn't make you a beer geek, but we digress; As long as you can critique a beer, you're well on your way. Just make sure you have 10 to 12 varieties at all times.

4) Cold Storage: Believe it or not, some beer is actually meant to be drank a little warm. But that doesn't cover much of the beer spectrum, and you're trying to be a beer geek, right? You can get by with a refrigerator, but we all know that's just a stopgap measure. Your beer inventory is about to get unmanageable. We suggest building a beer cellar onto your house or apartment.

5) Glassware: You've got beer, but do you have something to pour it in? Your mouth doesn't count - beer deserves more consideration than just throwing it down your throat. You've got to see the way it pours, the smells coming out of a well-poured glass, the color, and the way the bubbles playfully interact within the body.

At Hoosier Beer Geek we've never actually paid much attention to any of that stuff, but it sounds good when we're showing off for the uninitiated.

It would be good to have a glass to drink your beer out of. Luckily, there are only six or so styles of beer glasses to drink out of:

A) Pint Glass
B) Pilsner Glass
C) Tulip or Goblet Glass
D) Flute Glass
E) Weizen Glass
F) Mug

You're probably thinking "I don't have space for that many glasses!" Well neither do we, and it keeps us up at night.

To start, a pint glass will do. Just be sure to hide in a dark corner if you're not sure if your beer matches your glass.

6) Hands (or a way to get the beer into your mouth): This may seem like a gimme - but we wouldn't want to leave you unprepared. Maybe you don't have hands - it happens! In that case you'll want to get yourself one of those cool hooks. Or maybe some robot hands. In fact, even if you have hands, you might want to get a hook and a robot hand. Those things are pretty awesome.

By the way, a straw is not a way to get beer into your mouth. A straw is for commies and people who think Tom Brady is dreamy.

7) A Stomach: To be honest, we hemmed and hawed on this one - maybe you don't drink beer, you just like buying beer and have a massive collection. Surely you're still a beer geek, right?

The answer is no. You're an idiot.

So here we are - you've got an ID, a way to get the beer, the beer, something to pour it in, hands/a hook/robot hands to get it poured and into your mouth, and a stomach to fill. That's a good place to start, but there's more equipment you'll need if you really want to dive into this.

8) A wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/someone to drive: Originally I had the word "patient" acting as a qualifier for this requirement, but it may be the case that the reason you've taken up beer geekdom is because your significant other/DD isn't patient at all. It happens.

9) A notebook/pen/camera/messenger bag: You're going to want to take beer notes, of course, so you'll need somewhere to write them. And you'll need a pen to do the writing. And a camera to take pictures of the beer so you can share your beer pictures with the rest of the world via the internet. And a messenger bag to carry your notebook, pen, and camera.

On second thought, taking notes, pictures, and that whole sharing with the internet idea is totally stupid. Forget you ever read it. The messenger bag, on the other hand, is awesome, and anyone who refuses to carry one is insecure and most likely a moron.

10) Food on a necklace: Nothing says "Hey I'm really into this" more than a necklace of something edible. Many folks will tell you that they're wearing their bread/pretzel necklace as a way to cleanse their palate while drinking. The truth of the matter is that they're really wearing their bread/pretzel necklace because they're hoping to use the bread/pretzels as bait to catch squirrels. What I'm saying is that those people are freaking weirdos, and you should stay as far away as possible.

If you really want to be a beer geek, I'd suggest a necklace of meats and cheeses. Many beers need the accompaniment of a meat or cheese to bring out their subtle flavors, and you can also do a "paring-as-you-go" if you've got a sausage or side of bacon close at hand (or neck).

11) An oversized belly: Our last bit of equipment may take a while to acquire. On a rare occasion you'll come across a beer geek who is without an oversized belly. You may be familiar with the trick often played on dogs where a person pretends to throw a stick and then hides it behind their back? That's the same look you'll get out of the skinny beer geek. It's a look that says "I'm missing something and I'm too dumb know why".

The truth is that a truest and most devoted of beer geeks don't let anything get in the way of their pursuit of beer - and diet certainly can get in the way of this pursuit. Our advice is to just go ahead and start eating and drinking whatever you want, whenever you want. You've just committed to a life of consumption - don't half-ass it.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series: The Complete Rules of Becoming a Beer Geek Part 2: Buying Beer


  1. Fantastic! Going by the guidelines, I believe I qualify for all of them. Perhaps I'm a little short on some of the glassware.

  2. Mug specifics? i.e. glass, ceramic, plastic?

  3. Any type of mug will do, but at Hoosier Beer Geek we only use the finest of mugs, crafted pure crystal and diamonds.

  4. And that reminds me - where I was many years younger we had a mixed drink called the "mug of fire" that was a little bit of every kind of liquor in the cabinet in a plastic mug with the lid duck-taped on.