Beer Nerd. That is what I sort of think of myself as. Why? Because of the whole "Revenge of the Nerds" thing, of course. If it weren't for the nerds we would not have information technology, statistics-based sports fanaticism and male teens who entirely avoid ending up with child support orders slapped against them by the local family court judge. Nerds.
Why do I mention this? Well, Lew is a bit fed up with the word "geek" and with good reason apparently as he notes today:
It is an inherently denigrating term, given its history (though some have argued that, like "gay," the word has changed so thoroughly that it has left its origins behind. I don't agree), and it has that air of annoying dipshit about it, the kind of beer drinker who obsesses over note-taking and rarity and process to the point of missing the whole reason that the beer is in their glass.Figuring I would go one and on, I thought I would add my two cents here and...hmm...I can't say I am that same intensity of feeling against the collecting obsessive - which is all a ticker is. I collected stamps, coins, maps, AM radio station reception confirmation cards [Ed.: oh, for the serious geeeek! years], baseball and hockey cards as well as bird species observations.¹ People...OK, males...are collectors and I am sure it is nothing worse that the vestige of proud hunter gatherer heritage: "Look, Grok: I have a saber toothed tiger head as well as one from a giant sloth" equals "Look , Fred: I've got a Ferrari as well as a Jag." So while I am not a ticker in the sense that I have no idea how many beers I have had and only take notes on about half of what I sip, I do have to admit the tendency to tick a list is not at all limited or even defined by beer.
Yet, there has to be another admission: beer is a pleasant recreational pursuit. Some do it, many don't and at the end of the day your pal likes his PBR and you like your lambic or oatmeal stout, well, the earth is not going to shift on its axis. So shouldn't the word also convey some genial, jolly and even carefree meaning? Shouldn't it be a word that that lightens the load, that makes those who hear it smile? That is why I join with Lew in rejecting connoisseur, aficionado, enthusiast, ale conner, beer lover. I also don't care much for beer sommelier or the newish cicerone for that matter. Too weighty...even overweight. The words should be more in the nature of "tippler" or "sipper". Once I heard of a guy with the nickname "Sudsy" - aren't we all maybe "sudsies"? No, that may miss the point. There has to be an aspect of simply being consumers with a bit of the merriment that is associated with beer.
And maybe there is no "we" at all. All the "we" that there is could just be the beer buying public. Some buy based on the comfort of familiarity, some for the thrill of the chase, some for the same reason they cook or even grow great food - the excitement of discovering new and interesting flavours. If that is the case, maybe we are just "beer buyers" and within that we are beer tickers, beer geeks, fridgers, beer huggers, empty mug sniffers, beer advocates, beer nerds, beerstorians, talking beer heads (pro and semi-pro), sing-songers, lager louts, home brewers, beer fans or beer cranks, jerks and just plain old bores.
For now, for me, I am still a nerd. What are you?
¹thus making me a "twit and pisher".