This list’s format is a result of me reading too much Buzzfeed (pro?) and routinely hitting the paywall for both the Washington Post and the New York Times (con) by the second week of the month. With that said, I have been thinking a lot recently about why it’s good to be a beer drinker (usually in the middle of a great night out) and then also why it’s bad to be a beer drinker (usually the following morning). Any kindred spirits out there? Let me know in the comments.
Pro: People know what to get you for Christmas, Hanukkah, and your birthday and 9 times out of 10 you actually enjoy it. Whether it’s a six-pack, a beer poster (like this one which I received last Christmas!), a beer cookbook, a bottle opener, a trip to a brewery, etc. you will almost certainly enjoy yourself while sipping, viewing, reading, or using this gift, and your friends and family will pat themselves on the back for knowing you so well. It’s a win-win.
Con: Since you probably didn’t check a bag on your trip home for Christmas (and you’re probably not inclined to do so on the way home), you will need to finish that six-pack before you leave. Not the worst thing in the world.
Pro: You have something to talk about with strangers at bars. Being able to ask people what they’re drinking and have a semi-intelligent conversation about it will save you from staring at your phone while waiting for your date and will make you look both personable and smart when your date shows up. I’ve had conversations with dozens of strangers at bars just because I asked them what they were drinking. Pro-tip: Asking (attractive) people this question is also fertile ground for relationship building. Although this has never led to any actual emotional entanglements for me, I stand by the fact that it damn well could.
Con: You can pretty quickly alienate “wine people.” [Ed. Note: This is not a con.] If you sense this may be happening, you should probably just shut up about beer and act very interested in wine. Then slowly slink away.
Pro: You have a reason to leave your house and explore your neighborhood, city, state, and/or the world. Especially here in DC where there are so many amazing breweries and local watering holes in our 68.34 square miles, you’d be a fool to always drink at home instead of going out and drinking in establishments that are actually making the beer you’re drinking or bringing in some of the most interesting beers available anywhere.
Con: You cannot be at all of the events at once. And you will experience some major FOMO when you have to attend to other responsibilities during fun beer events. Pro-tip: Check out the DCBeer calendar.
Pro: There’s so much to learn, which makes beer an excellent hobby! There are a vast number of ways to increase your beer knowledge and enjoyment. Beer is very social, but doesn’t require a group to enjoy. And you can replicate your hobby on your own by learning how to home brew! Homebrewing can also make your beer hobby less expensive over time, especially if you get good at brewing what you like.
Con: Being a beer drinker can get very expensive, very fast. To drink beer, you have to buy it (for the most part), and, depending on how often and in what way you’re drinking, your beer expenses can rack up quickly. There will always be new beers to try, and between keeping up with new releases, bar openings, and not forgetting what your favorites taste like, your resources can be spread thin.
Pro: You can feel good about supporting the hyper-local beer scene around you. Craft beer is almost always more expensive than its non-craft counterparts, but when you choose local your dollars aren’t just adding to the coffers of AB InBev or MillerCoors or Constellation Brands. Instead you are supporting your neighbors and the local beer scene. We are extremely lucky to have so many award-winning breweries in DC and the surrounding area, and you should feel great about spending your dollars there and at the bars that support them.
Con: Weight gain. Based on my own experience this is one of the reasons women are more apt to like wine than beer. “Beer belly” didn’t get its name for nothing! And because wine has all but been labeled a health food, doesn’t have quite the carb content of beer, and is made from fruit, people have convinced themselves that wine is good for them and beer is bad for them. The calorie count on beer doesn’t help unfortunately. Here at DCBeer we are both pro-beer and pro-exercising to balance out the beer.
Pro: You can impress people. Tons of people drink beer, but many of them don’t know much about it. Even a passing knowledge can be extremely impressive to someone who can’t tell an IPA from a gose.
Con: Really liking and appreciating beer can sometimes be perceived as alcoholism, which is a bummer. There is also the very real risk of alcoholism. [PSA: Be safe and seek help if necessary.]
Pro: The beer community is an incredible group of people to be a part of. Take this story about a collaborative brew by Northern Virginia brewers to raise money for Forge Brew Works’ Matt Rose and his family. Or this story from Flying Dog in nearby Maryland, where they are holding a benefit for severely flood-damaged Ellicott City. Breweries all across the U.S. support amazing causes like responsible water usage, environmental sustainability, energy conservation, and helping their local communities. Bars are also places where communities can really come together. This week I went to a memorial event for a good friend of mine who was killed in Bloomingdale in July. The event was held at Lou’s City Bar where he was a much-loved regular. In between stories shared by family and friends were stories from the staff at Lou’s whose lives he had touched and who had touched his. Drinking his favorite beer (Bell’s Two Hearted) at his favorite bar felt like the most natural way to toast his existence. And there will even be a plaque installed on the bar stool he frequented. Beer people are good people, and the beer community is a great one to be a part of.
Con: Hangovers. God. The hangovers.