What Beer Snobs Have Taught Me About Writing

Hey everyone, Flobo here!

If you are like me, you probably would have no problem enjoying a nice pint of your favorite brew. Even if you don’t consume alcohol, your favorite beverage at the perfect time of day can either make you unwind or start you up, given the drink in question. So even though this post is centered around beer, you can substitute that for whatever beverage that tickles your fancy (coffee, wine, sparking water etc.).

I like beer. Done. End of story. What kind of beer? Though I have my preferences, I don’t really have a hardline as to which beers are acceptable for my consumption.

I don’t always fall for clever marketing campaigns. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis (Amber)

I consider myself a beer connoisseur, being able to take elements of what I like from each beer I slam down my gullet. Now, there is another school of thought when it comes to beer, and that is The Beer Snob. The Snob, (which could be used pejoratively as well as a term of endearment) usually has a hard rubric as to what is considered “a good” beer . To me, the difference between a connoisseur and a snob comes down to one thing: How dogmatic the person is. Allow me to give you two scenarios:

1) I’m over at a friend’s house watching a big pro wrestling event (don’t judge me) on pay-per-view. At this point, it’s just me and about nine of “the boys”. Of course, seeing I didn’t chip in for the pay per view feed, I decide to bring a case of brewskis. I brought some of the mid-grade stuff, and when I showed up with that twelve-pack of Coronas the boys cheered. Six of us grabbed a bottle and three of us declined, leaving one guy to say:

Eww, Coronas taste like pee!

Embarrassing me via my gift of free beer aside, I asked myself what compelled this person to share his unsolicited choice of beer? It wasn’t like I called ahead and asked: “Hey Bro, I’m bringing the Mexican Pee, how do you feel?”. Of course this guy was the snob of the bunch, and needless to say, he didn’t take a bottle.

2) This is kind of the opposite of the first story. I was going to meet a friend of mine for dinner in Los Angeles one time and I ended up at a brew pub (essentially a grub spot that makes their own beer). Seeing that every beer on the menu was homegrown, I couldn’t ask for the stuff I was accustomed to. I could’ve thrown a tantrum and asked why the 50 cent special at the 7-Eleven wasn’t available but without so much as a protest I picked their house porter.

“Ew, this is like homemade pee!” Just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

No, this article isn’t about defending store bought beer and trashing craft beer and snobs. Why? Well for one, most people are snobs about SOMETHING. Secondly, after living in the Southern California area for this long, I realize people are persnickety  just for the sake of identity.

Truth be told there’s  some beers even I will not touch…

Well, what does that have to do with your writing, whether it be novel, short stories or poetry? You see, just like how people are snobs about certain kind of beer, other folks are certainly snobs about reading some genres. Take me for example. I consider myself a fiction connoisseur, meaning I could  find something to enjoy in pretty much everything I read. Now, if I’m reading a mystery or police procedural (or watching it on television), I  instantly turn into a SNOB, and I judge the work against my lofty standards of what a good mystery should be. Because of this, there are very few crime shows that get my seal of approval (even though I watch a lot of them). Much like that guy at the pro wrestling party, there’s probably a few beers that meets his lofty standard and his seal of approval.

This can manifest itself to reviews and critiques of your work. Like me, I live or die on positive reviews of my books on sites like amazon.com. People out there are taking a chance on an indie author to begin with, they sure as rain are not going to risk it on a book with two or three  stars. That said, there are going to be reviewers that are going to read your book as simply a completed work, and others (due to targeted searching) are going to read your novels as a “snob” in their field of interest.

My dad is this way with animal documentaries. My mom was this way with romance novels. My brother is this way with stand-up comedians. It happens.

Sure, a snob’s review tends to be harsher if they pan your work, but if you win them over, they will sing your praises and are more likely to share with their friends. Why? Well, there is a counter-culture “underground” element to snobbery. It’s like that one friend who keeps getting you to listen to that indie rock band but as soon as the band makes it to radio your friend says they have become “mainstream”. Snobs are in fact experts in training. They want to feel that they are on the cutting edge and know about a certain thing that you do not.

That guy at the party was asked what his favorite beers and he rambled on about certain brews you could only get at a small brewer some hundreds of miles away. I bet you ten bucks that if he said that Corona was bad and that Tecate Light was the real king of Mexico, most guys at the party wouldn’t have put any stock in his opinion. You know, ad  hominem and all that.

Until next time, keep writing!

–Flobo

Bonus: Flobo’s Favorite Beers (in no order)

Dos Equis Amber
Presidente
Delirium
Shock Top
FREE Beer!
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One thought on “What Beer Snobs Have Taught Me About Writing

  1. Pingback: BRANDING….and Coffee! | F. Flobo Boyce

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