I’ve begun to notice a disturbing newcomer to brewery tap rooms. I assume they’re new anyways, because you can’t possibly ignore them.Frat boys and douche bags are going to craft beer bars and tap rooms in alarming numbers. I forever dub them, beer bros. You know they type. Never alone, but in large groups, these loud and obnoxious dudes are there to party, and they’re gonna fucking let you know. Lining up at the bar, they demand the attention of every server and make the line back up because it takes forever to find the beer that’s closest to bud light. They aren’t here to sample the breweries seasonals or their favorite local IPA, they’re here to get wasted, and have a good time while doing it. Shouting across the tap room is common, as is far to frequent bursts of laughter and even louder one-up manship stories. Exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday…
In my opinion, this newcomer to the craft beer scene is worse than the ale hole beer snob. While the beer snob is just as annoying in their own special ways, at least you feel like they belong. Their only true crime was that they took their love of craft beer too far. The beer bro has no intention of ever developing their palate or furthering their appreciation of a fine craft beer. They’re here to drink and fuck bitches, and they’re almost done drinking. “What’s the closest thing to bud light you have,” is their favorite question. Please, oh please, get the fuck out of here. I’ve seen large groups of these douche bags completely change the mood of a tap room in minutes flat. As a former bartender, I found them to be the worst kind of patron, barring those that came into a brewery asking for a cocktail.
The only reason I can fathom that they would even be at a brewery in the first place is cause they’ve heard around campus that it’s what’s cool these days. Women ages 21-34 are one of craft beers fastest growing demographics. So the chance to be trendy and pretend like you might get laid is too good to pass up. So they all pile into their buddies Suburban and take the local brewery taproom by storm.
In my writing, I normally point out what I believe is an issue in the craft beer community, bitch about it a little, then provide what I feel would be a viable solution. This one stumps me though. I’d normally say something like we should try to teach them about beer, how to enjoy it as a hobby and develop their knowledge base. I believe those efforts would be fruitless with these leg day skipping, tank top wearing knuckleheads, though. So what are we to do?
The only real option I can come up with is to beseech the tap room managers and brewery owners. I get that you’re running a business and want to make money, but at least set some standards for your patrons. That group of six guys you don’t want to run off is bugging the piss out of the 30 other people in the tap room. We wouldn’t be upset one bit if you ran them off, in fact, we’d probably be so grateful we’d order another round.
I’m guessing I sound a bit unwelcoming right now, and maybe you’re right, but I don’t burst into wine bars and cause a scene when they only have a few beers on tap. A certain amount of conforming to your surroundings is expected, so why should the craft beer industry be any different? It is well beyond the days of being an upstart where any and all were welcome. So why not take the success and start laying out some ground rules? I wouldn’t move to Germany and expect everyone to speak English. It’s perfectly fine to fly your flag, just don’t wave it around and shout in my face using a bull horn.
I’ll even directly address the beer bros here. You are not welcome. Not without a serious attitude change. You aren’t being cute or funny. You’re being a jackass. Ditch the bravado and pretty much all of your friends and maybe we can have a conversation about craft beer. Otherwise, please, oh please, stay at the frat house. Here’s a hint, if you want the closest thing to Bud Light you can find, just go buy Bud Light.