Winification of Beer: Douchebag is as Douchebag Does

Rampant within the craft beer community is the fear that someday beer will become too much like wine. In fact, with the level of oenophile-phobia pervading the beer world, you would think that when beer reaches this event horizon, the irretractable pull will suddenly morph us all into pucker-faced, toile-loving douchebags who are beholden to the autocratic rule of food-pairing maxims, glass guidelines, tasting rankings of the anointed, and general snootiness. And who can blame them? Beer-wine equality is the stated goal of some brewers.

However, while drinking an Allagash Interlude recently (an excellent, vinous beer from one of the breweries most capable in converting winos to beer lovers) I had an epiphany. Douchebaggery isn’t acquired, like the cooties, rather, as my momma used to say: Douchebag is as douchebag does.

First of all, the perceived snootiness of wine and its drinkers is a little overblown. The modern wine era has become much more accessible and egalitarian. Good wine is showing up in increasingly casual settings and on more streamlined and approachable wine lists. Tastings are almost always geared toward accessibility. Trusted reviews are becoming more decentralized (along with the appurtenant proliferation of wine blogs). Further, the rule of drink what you like, when you like, in the vessel of your choice is becoming the norm.

Now granted, there are some snooty winos, but the beer community shouldn’t sell itself short. There are already plenty of sufficiently snooty beer drinkers in our midst. And we’re not as universally humble as we would like to think. Quite hypocritically, beer drinkers often simultaneously clutch to, and scoff at, beer’s humble and working-class roots. Further, I would argue that beer douches might be more dangerous than their wine counterparts…guts and beards can be insidiously disarming.

Besides, wine has more to fear from beer. Beer is more portable, convenient, and versatile. And as wine tries to become more casual and beer aspires to acceptance in more formal settings, I believe beer will ultimately fare better and end up occupying a broader portion of the boozing spectrum than wine…unless you can operate a Toro riding mower while holding a box of Franzia Chablis.

Just remember, as beer creeps closer to equal footing at the table with wine: Wine doesn’t make people douchey, people make people douchey. So, just don’t be a douche, and we’ll all be fine.

*Admittedly, Beerbecue may from time-to-time be guilty of such oenophobic hysteria; however, I am going to retroactively write it off as hyperbole and situational posturing.


21 thoughts on “Winification of Beer: Douchebag is as Douchebag Does

  1. Any blog post that eloquently incorporates the words “douche” and “douchebag” is well worth reading. Bravo and well said! Doucheyness is on the rise for sure and I am occasionally guilty (ok, more than just occasionally) of being a supreme douche. I’ll try my best to keep my doucheyness in check.

    • Thanks. Douchebag is a pretty awesome word. It’s nearly impossible to stop doucheyness. We can only hope to contain it. Ok. That’s enough modified douche cliches for one day. I have been supremely guilty as well. In fact, it’s probably impossible to blog about anything without being at least slightly douchey…even a blog about not being douchey.

  2. Agreed. Doucheyness and beverage preference probably have less to do with each other than we might think. Wine does seem less approachable to me, but that’s not because of douchery. For all the flaws of BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, they can be really valuable resources for the neophyte. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but there doesn’t seem to be corresponding resources on the wine side (I’ve seen some decent attempts, but there have been plenty of times where I can’t find the wine I’m looking for at all, anywhere – the databases on BA and RB seem to be much more thorough. It is, of course, a much bigger challenge for wine, given the way vintages work, but still).

    • I agree on BA and RB, especially when you can figure out which reviews to ignore, or which criticisms aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Once you figure out how to weed out the crazy, crowd-sourcing is a pretty cool tool.

      I too have had a hard time finding reviews for wine, however, I’m told it’s improving. Although we have a bottle of wine only about once a month, so we don’t run into that often.

  3. I wrote a long reply, but it almost turned into its own post, so maybe I’ll save it until later. Meanwhile, great post. I too can be guilty of doucheyness from time to time (I’m a double doucher, I’ve douched on both the wine and beer side. Or do my douches cancel out?) and try to rein in when I see it happening.

    “unless you can operate a Toro riding mower while holding a box of Franzia Chablis.”

    You know, I put up that hedge row so you’d stop peaking in my back yard!

      • Now see, there’s a prime example. I made a snide comment about white zin in front of the wine guy at State Line and he said, “hey, if wasn’t for the market demand for white zin, California would have probably pulled up all those vines long ago and you wouldn’t have much in the way of red zin either.” Something about the grape being finicky and not a great profit margin. But to confess, I still make snide comments about white zin.

  4. Americans always think we Europeans are so civilized… I think it is easier not to give a damn what kind of whine or beer you are drinking, as long as you’re having a good time, when acceptable beer and wine for a reasonable price is so copious and varied. Not to say that there are no beer and wine douches in Europe… it seems to be an international culture… like 1%-ers… they’re certainly full of it, but 1% is not their BAC…

  5. Pingback: About Douchebagginess | I really just pretend to know stuff

  6. Sometimes I feel like the traditional history of beer as the “Everyman’s drink” skews opinion of what happens when someone becomes passionate. Passion and knowledge seem to equate to snobbery to many because, traditionally speaking, beer is something for everyone. Passion and knowledge can also be a scary thing, I guess.

    Maybe we should all just start wearing top hats and monocles. I’d totally be OK with that.

  7. Agreed, this is one of those myths that is helped along by a few blowhards. I ended up at a wine-tasting a few years back with a wine master who happened to be visiting the same winery (I asked about his background in wine, and had no idea this was a big deal until later). He answered all my stupid questions and was an awesome guy to have a few drinks with. You can find douchey wine snobs and beer snobs, but like you said, it’s probably because they’re just an asshole.

    • Indeed. My mom is a pretty big wine drinker. She has a pretty serious collection of stuff set aside that my brother and I always try to get into whenever we go back home. She always claims that what it all basically boils down to is that there are two types of wine: Wine you like. And wine you don’t like. Far from the snooty wine drinker that some would like to portray.

      Good to have a fellow attorney dropping by. Thanks.

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