24 November 2013

Is Hoosier Beer Geek Unintentionally Killing Craft Beer Culture?

Jason writes...

Is Hoosier Beer Geek unintentionally killing craft beer culture?  If you find Jake’s statements regarding Untappd to be true, you could easily assert that Hoosier Beer Geek is guilty of the same.

Point 1: The time it takes to write down notes and the impact that it has on conversation.

Most people probably have not been to a gathering of the Knights of the Beer Roundtable.  In general, it involves sitting around with a beer or two or ten (more on that later).  We sniff the beer.  We swish the beer.  We say some snarky things.  And we write about the beer.  We write in our books or our iphones or on a scrap piece of paper.  Whatever venue, we take notes because if don’t, we will forget.  We are drinking, after all.  But in order to write something about the beer later, we have to write now.  And that takes time away from the conversation.

So does the TV in the bar showing the football game that you are interested.

Or the band playing in the corner.

Or the girl or guy across the room that you are thinking about buying a drink.

The reality is that every social situation is full of conversations.  It is what fills the lulls in conversation.  Odds are if somebody is spending a lot of time on their smartphone that you are honestly not that interesting.

Point 2: Roundtables often involve multiple beers and sharing of bottles.

Take a look at the collection of KOTBR reviews.  There are reviews that include one or two beers.  There are reviews that include 6 or 8 reviews.  And no, we do not drink 72 ounces of beer to review 6 beers.  We frequently buy a 22 ounce bottle and share it between 6 or 8 of us.  It is our own mini-beer festivals.  And then we rate them.  How fair is that?  Thankfully, our reviews are rarely serious so we are rarely taken serious.

Point 3: The made-up-word attitude that HBG encourages via its blog.

Roger Baylor often ribs us (in jest or otherwise) when Hoosier Beer Geek reviews beers that are not Hoosier beers.  But we often do.  We review beers from other states and countries that we can get in Indiana.  We review beers from other states and countries that we can’t get in Indiana.  Again, look at the collection of KOTBR reviews and see how many beers are available at your favorite local beer bar. 

Not only that, but there are beer traders amongst us.  There are those that travel to beer festivals with hard to get tickets or hard to get beers.  Dark Lord Day.  Darkness Day.  Great Taste of the Midwest.  The Great American Beer Festival.  But we’re humble.  We never write about our adventures to these far flung corners of the craft beer world.

Oh wait, that’s a search function on our blog, isn’t it? 

The reality is that Untappd, like Blogger, like WordPress, like Twitter, like Facebook, like Instagram, like Pinterest… they are all ways to connect with people you know and people you don’t know. 

Reality check: how many of you, including myself and my fellow Knights of the Beer Roundtable, would know 90% of the craft beer people you know without social media? 

I met Jim through his blog.  I met Mike through his blog.  I met Chris through his blog.  I met Rod through his blog.  I met Jake through Twitter.  I met Meg through Twitter.  I met Kristen through Twitter.  The only reason we knew to meet each other in person was by blogging or tweeting and saying “hey, I’m going to drink some awesome beer here.  Who wants to join me?”

It’s not disrespectful to beer.  It’s a part of the discussion.  It’s a way to reach out to others.

(Though I agree with Matt regarding badges and what those badges may promote)

In short, Jake and Matt, we are a part of the social media culture that surrounds beer.  Checking in to Untappd is no more douchey than taking notes to write about later or taking pictures to post later.  Untappd, if anything, is a more efficient way to track what you have had to drink and what you thought of it.  It allows you to get back to drinking with friends faster than any of our roundtables ever have.

That is what I think.  How about you? 


  1. You missed my point Jason. I like the social aspect of it, but add something of value and don't be a douche bag. Seems simple, but that isn't happening.

  2. Morale of the story; some people who blog about beer are douche bags because they themselves throw around the terms "douchey" and "douche bag" while trying to be pretentious about beer the way wine snobs are assholes about wine.

    Untappd is badass because it can used to both track and compare in a (mostly) non-biased manner. Thankfully, HGK is not a culture killer, mainly because craft beer drinkers like myself are more interested in drinking beer than trolling blogs, looking to grief the next comment they disagree with.

  3. If a website/group like HBG or an app like Untappd has any influence (negative or positive) in any great regard then they must really be doing their damnedest to be fantastically influential.

    I'm pretty confident that craft beer, and whatever the heck craft beer culture is, will continue without either.