I'd like to believe that Dallas Observer readers are the type who order local beers at their favorite watering holes, rather than some sort of mass-produced corporate imitation — sorry, we mean "light" — beer. Unfortunately, whenever you order a craft beer, there's a chance a self-styled proletarian type is going to make some crack about beer snobs, possibly including a remark about craft beer drinkers' manhood.
You don't have to put up with that. After some extensive field research, we've come up with a list of the 10 dumb things things you are most likely to hear about craft beer, why the people who say these things are wrong and how to spread the word that Dallas' craft beer is better beer.
1. "Hoppy beers are gross" or they "taste like feet."
This is the typical type of nonsense you hear when someone tries an IPA for the first time. Yes, hoppy beers have a very distinct flavor, but it can vary. No one is going to break into trying craft beer with an IPA. If they do, it's going to be one with a rather mild level of bitterness. That isn't to say they won't enjoy Avery Maharaja down the line, but let's not start off with the extremely hoppy beers if we want to convert them. The thing people who say this need to be reminded of is that there's a multitude of beer styles out there, and liking craft beer doesn't mean liking ALL craft beers. Want to introduce them to IPAs? Go with DEBC's Easy Peasy IPA or Texas Ale Project's 50 ft. Jackrabbit.
2. "Fruit doesn't belong in a beer!"
Unless your light-beer drinking companions are hardcore about Provisional German Beer Law (they're not, let's be real), there is nothing preventing a brewery from adding fruit to its beer. In fact, fruit can make for a damn good summertime beer. But there's a stigma around combining fruit with alcohol, based on outdated ideas of American masculinity. Odds are, your anti-fruit beer friends are feeling insecure about that stigma. In the case of some beers, the citrus flavor just comes from the hops being used in the beer, not from fruit that was added to the process. If your friends make a dumb comment, show them FireWheel's StrIPA or Community's Razzy Witbier.
3. "Stouts/porters/IPAs/amber ... it's all the same"
Beer is made with water, some sort of malted starch, yeast and hops (it's not that simple). Porters are dark beers that are heavy on hops and use a brown malt. Stouts are heavier, stronger versions of porters. Pale ales use a pale malt and come in many forms, most notably IPAs, amber ales and blonde ales. There are seemingly countless styles of beer for all sorts of taste preferences. If you don't know what you like, go to a bar that focuses on beer (I would suggest somewhere like On Rotation) and ask a knowledgeable bartender. Also, ordering a flight of beer is a great way to sample several without committing to a whole pint. Don't know what to offer someone to get them into craft beer? Start with Peticolas' Golden Opportunity or Four Corner's Local Buzz, two of our best local beers.
4. "The only pumpkin I like is in pie form."
In short, back in colonial times, it was hard to get malt. Pumpkins were native to America, so what were colonists supposed to make beer with? Those Americans weren't trying to make a beer that tastes like pumpkin pie, but rather just a pumpkin beer. That said, pumpkin beer is a popular seasonal beer that works well in October when pumpkin-everything starts hitting shelves. Also, if you do want pumpkin pie in beer form, St. Arnold's Pumpkinator is a magical imperial stout that is tantamount to October ambrosia — assuming you can get a bottle when it comes out. You can also check out Lakewood's Punkel, a pumpkin dunkel.
5. "Seasonal beers are stupid; it's beer season all year."
Just like wearing certain clothing styles or colors makes sense in certain seasons, breweries are going to put out various styles of beer over the course of a year. These seasonal beers fit with a certain time of year (winter is dark, heavy; spring is citrusy, floral; summer is crisp, light-bodied; fall is spiced, darker or Oktoberfest/pumpkin beers). That doesn't mean you should only drink those beers during a particular season, that just happens to be the best time to enjoy the style. Community's Sundial Session IPA and Peticolas' Wintervention are both great examples of local seasonals.
6. "Bottled beer just tastes better, and draft is best."
The best way to enjoy a beer is on draft, but even then you need to be aware of how old that keg of beer is. Additionally, if the lines from the keg to the tap are not clean, that can really contaminate the flavor of your beer. Assuming the beer being ordered isn't on draft, the best way to have it is in a can. Light is damaging to beer, and though the bottle your beer comes in is probably brown, light is still getting in.
7. "There are just too many damn beers out there."
Just like with seasonal beers, you want to offer variety to your customers, otherwise you are ignoring large groups of beer drinkers. There are two main types of beer, lagers and ales, but in theory there are infinite styles and variations of beer out there. Hell, both of 3 Nations' beers are crossover styles. Finding a style that converts a non-craft beer drinker can be hard, but it's a slippery slope once one is found.
8. "Velvet Hammer won't hammer me. I'm a man."
This is something you hear from an alcoholic, the kind of person who keeps a bottle of liquor in his trunk. There are some really strong beers out there for the adventurous type. Aside from barleywines and some rare beers, there are strong brews such as Dogfish Head's 120 Minute IPA, which checks in at around 15-20 percent ABV. Numerous imperial stouts also come in at over 12 percent ABV.
9. "Why would I pay $6 for a beer?"
Just like with most consumer goods, customers have to pay a little more for a better product. In the case of beer, that means getting better ingredients and a better tasting product, rather than being concerned with how its drinkability compares with water. More than that, consumers are putting money into a locally made product, and if people want better beer on tap in Dallas then they need to be ordering better beer, driving the demand. Order an unenlightened drinker a pint of Oak Highland Brewery's Allgood, and see if they remain unconvinced that better tasting and stronger local beer isn't worth the price.
10. "I don't care how it tastes; I just want to get drunk."
If the goal is to get drunk, just pound shots of whiskey until you go blind. While you do, please support locally made liquor, such as Herman Marshall in Garland and Witherspoon Distillery in Lewisville!
Undoubtedly, there are other idiotic things said by those who do not enjoy craft beer. You can't always convince people to enjoy better products; some still call Taco Bell's "food" Tex-Mex. The best thing you can do is get them to give craft beer a chance and try a pint. Just be ready to tell them how they're wrong without being a jerk about it.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.