Small & Big In Beer

Small is not a size word.

Small is not irrelevant.

Small isn’t everything.

Big is not bad.

Big is not a size word.

Big is different from bad.

Big is different than good.

Small is different from good.

Small, big, good, bad. These are words I try hard not to use. They’re too subjective and fraught with personal influence that to call something good or bad is doing it a disservice.

Who are any of us to judge? What are our parameters? Who gives us the authority to make the call or definition?

Small, big, good, bad - all are based on perspective.

Small, big, good, bad – all are based on perspective.

When we’re talking about women and beer, it’s an interesting concept: small and big. Is the brewery small? If so, what does she think about it? And what’s small about it? Aren’t they big on heart and passion? Aren’t they big on trying to serve the community? Are they big on being small?

If the brewery big? What is big and to whom? What does big mean? How big is big? How big is small? How small is big? And where do you go from one to the other?

Think about how you use these words. Women aren’t a small population, though they still occupy a small-er portion of beer consumers. They are the big-gest buyers of all goods and services, across categories in America. That’s big.

I put my whole life into my business. That’s not small. And I dare someone to tell any business owner they have a ‘small business.

Rethink your words before they come out of your mouth or go on a page. Like a presenter once stated, we have “preconceived notions of how something should work base don what ti looks like.”

Women are big. Beer is small.

Beer is big. Women are small.

Which ones ring true to you?

Before you picture women or beer, close your eyes. Think with your brain first.

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The Fable of Good, Better, Best

“Good, better, best, never let it rest. Until your good is better, your better’s best.” – Dr. Fagerberg, prof, CCMM

Once upon a time, there were three friends: Good, Better and Best.

They had met early in their lives and did a lot of things together. Hung out at the park, where there was really old original play equipment, newer gear and some sparkling new features. They’d go to the library where they’d see really old books, 20th century works, and then very current publications. They especially liked eavesdropping on conversations because they learned so much about what people thought.

Regardless of what they all thought individually, they all got along well and lived peaceably together in the same neighborhood. They knew that while they didn’t always share the same opinions, they wanted to get along and respect each other and keep their minds open to new ideas. Their elders and other close friends had taught them the value of diplomacy and respect.

One day the three friends were indeed listening in on a conversation. It was a table of 3 People in a brewpub and they were talking about beer (of all things!)

  • Person 1: “I love this beer! It’s so delicious.”
  • Person 2: “Are you kidding?! It’s rank and smells like barnyard and wet hay. Ick! I don’t know how you can stand it.”
  • Person 3: “Really?! I think it’s fine, and perhaps it’s supposed to taste that way. Did either of you check into it or ask our server about it first?”
Good, Better, Best

Good, Better, Best

And so it went, the conversation of the 3 People – around and around, back and forth, never agreeing on the beer in their glasses.

The three friends (Good, Better, Best) found this confusing and confounding. They wondered why the supposed three friends at the table were arguing so, not understanding that they can all simply taste, enjoy a and talk about it AND still value and respect each other fully.

They stayed a little while and eventually the 3 People paid their bill and left the pub, still squabbling over very minor things.

The 3 friends were quiet for a little while after the People left. “I wonder why they just didn’t let each other fully enjoy what they wanted to, instead of bickering and making the others feel bad or wrong…makes no sense to me,” said Better.

“Me either,” stated Good. Best agreed with them both.

They left that day feeling a little more sadly enlightened that some people want to always be Right, to be the Loudest Voice In The Room (making them Right) and wouldn’t graciously accept and encourage their friends to simply enjoy what they wanted without putting it down.

They decided that they’d always stay open to what the others wanted to try and enjoy. After all, everyone has their own taste buds, experiences and opinions. Good friendships are built on variety of and respect, they told each other. They knew they’d learn more and have more fun too if they all treated each other well and were kind.

Then they went along their merry way.

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Beer Words I Hate: Words To Purge From Your Beer Vocabulary

What words tip you off, make you scream or want to throw that gorgeous beer in the face of an offending and sometimes uneducated or ignorant or snobbish mouth?

I’ve got a few that almost drive me to distraction.

Microbrew = quantity of output and outlets

While I usually focus on the positive and like to make people think, today I’m going to vent on words that I think should be sent into orbit concerning beer. Some are the entire word and some are contextual. Caveat: Words are like guns. It’s the people that wield them that need education and correction. Insist on proper words per your beloved beer. 

In any event, I’d love your help purging these words from our current beer vocabulary.

1. Real. As in people saying they only drink or make “real beer.” What is real beer? Is it someone’s opinion? Is it based on some rule or law a few people with an agenda put forth a long time ago or very recently based on what they think beer should be? “Real” for beer is whatever you want it to be. There’s a snob component here that’s unattractive. It’s all about education and in the end liking what you yourself like to drink. [Suggestion: shift to ‘beers I like’]

2. Microbrew. AUUUUUUUGGGHHHH!!!! Okay….I’ll be alright…. This is an extremely misused and overused and misunderstood word. At one point it was proper and properly used. Today it’s flung about like saying microbrews or microbrewed beer is what delineates ‘real’ beer (see above). Per the Brewers Association a Microbrewery is: A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels (17,600 hectoliters) of beer per year with 75% or more of its beer sold off-site. Time to shift your words, folks! Not every beer that isn’t from a really large house or from a brewery that someone thinks is too big (for whatever their own goofy reasons) is NOT a microbrew. [Suggestion: learn the brewery size category descriptors – either use it right or don’t use it at all]

"Dark" and "Light" get a bad - and usually wrong - rap

3. Import. Who else has been to a bar or restaurant wherein the menu with beer includes an “Import” list…and at least one of the beers is from an incountry brewer?! Plain and simple – this is sloppy and unacceptable. Know where the beers you’re drinking are from before you share that info with others. Incorrect education is hard to reverse. Stupidity is totally inexcusable – plus look at the ‘truth in advertising’ idea. [Suggestion: find out where the beer is from and get the info right]

4. Heavy. Oof. Even the word sinks to the sidewalk like lead. Get rid of it. Use other fabulous more descriptive words like robust, full, lush, chewy. Take a nod from describing people: would you rather be called robust and full bodied or heavy? Not rocket science here, folks. [Suggestion: load your vocabulary with plenty of descriptors that you can use]

5. Domestic. It kills me when I hear people still use this word. To me this falls into the ‘who cares’ category. Beer is beer and it’s made everywhere, literally. And it also borders on beer racism, like import does. It’s a totally outdated term. [Suggestion: know the country of origin, if you wish, and simply enjoy the beers for what they are]

6. Light. This one must be contextualized before it can leave your lips. Light what – body? Color? Flavor? Mouthfeel? It’s a great word to describe that also needs a partner word to complete what you are trying to communicate. Using only the word ‘light’ is a disservice to the beer and indicates an incomplete and uneducated and outdated thought. While most of us have an idea of what the talker or writer might be discussing, it’s time to throw the blanket “light beer” idea to the curb. [Suggestion: only use ‘light’ when you will augment it with another word that will fill out the meaning of what you’re trying to describe]

Improve your beer vocabulary for the beer's sake, if not your friends' sake

7. Dark. See Light, above. The most powerful – read: educated – beer folks have a whole litany of terminology at their tongue tip. Develop your beer vocab. There’s a whole rainbow of words to describe color and other beer characteristics. [Suggestion: get rid of any racist beer terms – again]

8. Good. This is a totally subjective word. Don’t use it. Good should be supplanted by ‘quality’ if anything, when applicable. And again, if you really want to know and love your beer, increase and improve your vernacular first. [Suggestion: don’t use this word with beer – it indicates either a snobbery or an ignorance]

9. Bad. See Good, above. Bad should only be used if the beer has truly turned into something other than what the brewer intended. Too many people use Good and Bad to throw their weight and opinions around. Arrogance is never attractive nor helpful. [Suggestion: don’t use this word with beer – it indicates either a snobbery or an ignorance]

I feel better already.

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