Snob – noun – a person who believes him or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field. Origin: uncertain.
Expert – noun – Someone who knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing. Origin: Herb Dohms, aka my Grandfather.
I actually cringe when people refer to me as either a beer snob or a beer expert. You’ve just read the reasons why. Believe you me, I am the furthest thing from either condition.
Granted, I have a tendency to wax poetic about something as seemingly innocuous as beer. That doesn’t make me a snob, just a verbose English/Lit grad with a penchant for flavorful ale.
I write about the uncommon beverages, the good stuff. I seek to spread the gospel of the companies trying to make it in a world dominated by bland, uninspired conglomerates producing bland, uninspired liquid that technically qualifies as beer. Is it snobby to champion the little guys who put thought, care and concern into their brand?
And while I don’t like, drink or endorse macro production nor condone their shady business and distribution practices, I’ll never look down upon anyone and tell them that they’re wrong for liking what they like. A snob would.
I may know a thing or three about beer – style, history, minutia, etc. – but I am certainly no expert. My friends who brew – at home or commercially – aren’t experts either. There is always something more to learn. Established breweries make mistakes, too. Professional, yes. Expert, no.
Now… Occasionally I may examine a really rare, high-end beer that’s out of the price range and above the taste preference of the average ham ‘n’ egger. That still doesn’t qualify me for authoritative highbrow status; just means that sometimes the beer I like comes with a price. You’ve got to treat yourself from time to time.
Case in point is Catherine’s Passion from Gainesville Florida’s Swamp Head Brewery. Part of the company’s Spasmodic Series of small-batch beer, this Russian Imperial Stout references the name of the Tsaress who purportedly first requested this potent style from England.
Jagger couldn’t paint this one more black. Spinal Tap was wrong about their album cover. This beer is dark! Even the ultra-frothy, omnipresent head is deep brown. Made with fair trade coffee beans and cocoa nibs, Passion exudes creamy mocha scents with a little burnt toast and vanilla. Loads of dark chocolate, cappuccino, toffee and caramel are present in this beer with a texture like a melted milkshake. Like its namesake, Catherine’s Passion is elegant yet possessive of sinister tastes.
Hang no titles upon me, good sir, but worry not about calling this beer precisely what it is: amazing.