The fine line between beer enthusiast and beer extremist
A beer enthusiast is just that, someone who get excited about the topic and the drink. They are people who love every aspect of it. They seek out new beers, perhaps even brew their own. They could be knowledgeable but they don’t have to be and they are, in general, comfortable about what they know. They are happy to share that knowledge with anyone who might be interested and can be great company.
The extremist is a different beast. They could very well be looking at the beer you have in your hand and making all sorts of assumptions about it (and you). They might be telling their extremist faction all about how you served beer, that you paid for, in the wrong glass. They might even be tweeting it. #wrongglasstwat They could even tell you that your choice in beer is simply wrong. I’m sure that they keep a list of all the beers that you supposed to drink or the breweries that are acceptable. Anything that sits outside this remit is wrong.
Both enthusiasts and extremists might know about the alpha acid levels in certain types of hops, or even be able to tell you the level of beta acids. They could even break it down further and tell you each of the members of the alpha acid class of compound and how they affect the taste of your beer. The difference between the two is that the extremist will want to lord this knowledge over you and will perhaps even scoff if you don’t know what humolone is. The enthusiast will gladly tell you.
The evolution of the beer extremist
I’m not entirely sure where the evolution of the two begins. Perhaps it’s something to do with insecurity? Perhaps, when you have tried the best beers in the right glasses you expect everyone to want to try the same. Perhaps there were just not enough hugs growing up. There also the idea that the more someone learns, the more closed minded they can be. This is apparently because they are fixed on confirming what they believe to be absolute. I’m not sure about this and am keeping an open mind. Mind you sometimes perhaps sometimes, some people, can just be obnoxious.
In the beer world I have experienced mostly beer enthusiasts and a small handful of extremists. The very nature of the topic means that you can just have a beer and forget what you were disagreeing about.
It is easy to become an extremist, but next time you look over and see someone drinking out of a can at a party, or pouring a pilsner into an nonic glass don’t pity them or mock them. Instead rejoice as they too are enjoying beer, the stuff you like. Unless of course you want to start and extremist faction?