The Beer Drinker’s Continuum

Craft beer is the new wine, and the epic rise of the brewfan has accelerated. Which one are you?

LEVEL 1: THE ANGRY POPULIST

• Your only real beer-related quandary is "Bud ... or Bud Light?"

• You get angry when people blow their money on that expensive Blue Moon crap.

• You take pride in your beer being three reliable things: yellow, fizzy, and inoffensive.

• You measure your beer intake not by the bottle, but by the case.

You drink beer ... to forget.

LEVEL 2: THE GATEWAY DRINKER

• You've had your mind blown by Guinness and you're wondering if other dark beers might also taste good.

• You're beginning to think that the Miller Lite Vortex bottle might just be a gimmick.

• You now look at a row of taps and order the beer you DON'T know.

• It occurs to you that you could probably pair beer with food other than pizza.

You drink beer ... because you're beginning to think it may have flavor, and furthermore, that you might like that flavor.

LEVEL 3: THE BREWFAN

• You actively seek out opportunities to camp at breweries in order to buy cultish, limited-release, superintoxicating Russian imperials.

• You hear that a friend of a friend once tried Westvleteren 12 and you spend the better part of a cocktail party trying to trap them into giving you an exhaustive play-by-play.

• Your RateBeer app gets more play than your email app.

• The liquor store clerk has you pegged as a lush, but your fridge and cellar are filled with half-finished six-packs and unopened bombers.

You drink beer ... to be part of a secret club.

LEVEL 4: THE DABBLER-CRITIC

• You spent four hours last week trying to convince someone that a wild yeast beer that tastes like hay caked with sun-dried manure is actually totally amazing.

• You're over Westy 12, and are now searching Belgium for beers made by smaller, less accessible monasteries staffed by even grumpier monks.

• You spend hours online every night hunting down people who express incorrect opinions about beers that you care about.

• You get in heated arguments about whether the 2007 or 2009 Sam Adams Utopias had a more distinct note of burnt raisins.

You drink beer ... to feel superior to other people.

LEVEL 5: THE MAD HOME-BREWER

• When you have guests over, it's not a question of serving home-brew—it's whether the brew-paired dinner is four courses or five.

• Your tolerance is such that you have to remind yourself that to normal people, drinking beer counts as "drinking."

• You yell at neighborhood kids when they get too close to your hop bines.

• You're just one small-business loan away from having a brewery and/or losing your life's savings.

You drink beer ... in order to make future beers taste even better.

Image sources: Flickr members Dottie Mae, Mr.Tea, Rionda, Pierre LaScott, gotsumbeers under Creative Commons