How to Pretend You Know About Craft Beer (When You Don’t)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The bar you’re in has 30 beers on tap; yet you’ve only heard of one of them. Don’t despair. You can fake beer knowledge.


It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The bar you’re in has 30 beers on tap, yet you’ve only heard of one of them. You order it while your friend gets some German-style something-or-other that supposedly “pairs well with jackfruit.” Worst of all, you feel the fear creep in because your beer-crazed friend seemingly knows the ins and outs of every brew ever poured in a pint glass.

The extent of your knowledge of craft beers? Um, roughly, zilch. Or, at best, that they’re made with great care and possess a high alcohol content.

Admitting any of this, however, would bring unrelenting shame. Shame on yourself. Shame on your family. And most certainly shame on everyone around you at the bar. But don’t despair. It’s nothing a few well-timed bob-and-weaves can’t fix.

Explain that bitterness isn’t your thing. IPAs (or India Pale Ale) are your biggest obstacle. They’re basically the Chuck Taylors of the craft beer scene—in other words, they’re everywhere. But they’re also bitter tasting—the by-product of more hops. So place all the blame firmly on your palate.

Friend: What’s your favorite IPA?

You: I’m actually not into IPAs. They’re too bitter for me.

Friend: What about an East Coast brew with less hops and more malt?

You: I’ve tried both Coasts—still too bitter.

Friend: Welp, message received. Cheers!

Pretend to Be a Freshness Snob. Claim that any beer served outside of a brewery just isn’t fresh enough for you. Which will allow you to skip the beer conversation altogether.

You: Makers, on the rocks, please.

Friend: You’re not going to get a beer?!?!

You: I only drink fresh craft beer—and only at a brewery. I’ve been to so many that any beer I have at this bar will most certainly taste subpar.

Friend: Rad, man.

Reference your obscure home-brewing friend. Exclusive brews always impress beer snobs, giving you both clout and a great way to exit the conversation.

Friend: What’s your favorite craft brewery?

You: My buddy who lives in Humboldt County brews his own beer in his broom closet, so I would have to say that.

Friend: Does he sell it?

You: Nah, he just gives it to his friends when they come to visit.

Friend: That’s really cool. I would love to check it out sometime.

Go Local. When in doubt, tell the bartender you’ll have whatever local craft beer is on draught. As long as you repeat “local” as much as possible, you’ll be in the clear.

Friend: What are you drinking?

You: The local brew. I always try to drink the most local beers possible to help out local brewers. These local brewers already have such competition from the massive beer companies and other imported craft brews. Buying local is the least I can do.

Friend: That’s a good call. I’ll have that one next.

Be Totally Meta. Order a macro-brew. It’s zeitgeisty, but it also makes you seem like you’re above it all and in pursuit of simpler times.

Friend: A Miller High Life? Really?

You: Yeah! I love craft beers, but sometimes there’s nothing like going back to your roots and having a macro-brew.

Friend: I get that. My grandpa used to drink Coors.

You: That’s the exact reason why I got a Miller High Life. It’s what my grandpa drank.

Friend: To the good ol’ days!