Back in the day, long before writing for this fine outlet, I made my living tending a rather rough bar on Long Street.
One of the most common orders slurred loudly at me, nightly, and without fail, was “gimme a beer”.
Then the options were simple. “Gimme a beer” could be easily negotiated down to one of five or six choices behind the bar.
Now the boom in beer culture has expanded the market to include hundreds, if not thousands, of craft beers. This seemingly endless variety has come complete with beer geeks whose obsession with the culture has spawned its own language.
Go to a Saturday can sale for New England-style IPAs (NEIPA) or an imperial stout bottle share and you’ll hear strange terms being bandied about. Stumble upon these nerds IRL and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d actually interrupted some cosplayers.
It has, therefore, become necessary to compile an urban dictionary to draw on next time you encounter one of these hipster geeks in the wild.
Or, at the very least, to help you understand your friend enough to tell them to sod off with their beer jargon when you’re trying to enjoy a cold one in peace.
Presenting some of the more pretentious beer terms out there:
After procuring and drinking a rare beer, it’s necessary to take the empty vessel home, neatly stack the cans into a wall of beer and then brag about it on Instagram.
A beer so awful (and un-beer-wall-worthy) that it has to immediately be poured down the kitchen sink. Usually used to describe the beer that the beer geek is not drinking, but rather filming as he pours it unceremoniously down the drain.
Then it’s back to Instagram to post the video.
Hazeboys (also Hazebois or Haizeboiz – obviously)
A breed of beer fan, usually in his early 20s, who only drinks NEIPA (or ‘hazies’) and then posts pics of themselves admiring the ‘hazies’ with the hashtag #HazeForDays.
A photograph or video of a beer share graveyard (the empty bottles stacked up after a beer sharing meetup) then shared to Instagram.
An attempt at sounding cool. Used as an alternative to NEIPA or beer, as in “I’m going to organise some juice for tonight’s beer share”.
The appropriate response to a picture of a beer wall on Instagram.
The person sent in your stead to pick up your rare beer at a brewery that nobody has heard of, nowhere close to where you live. It’s all about the limited bottles.
Use: “Thought I was screwed on the Mornin’ Delight release, but luckily I found a proxy who lives near the brewery”.
A less-than-rare beer that can be found at any store. Usually used to describe a beer that used to be popular but no longer sells out immediately.
A rare beer that a beer geek dreams of landing one day. Ultra rare beers are sometimes called ‘white whales’. Geeks will spend inordinate amounts of time arguing online about which beers qualify as whales.
My term for anyone who has ever posted their beer wall on Instagram or used any of the above terms unironically.
Use: “Everyone needs a hobby, but don’t go full pretentious douchebag”.
There are plenty of beers out there that might not be limited edition, but are great by virtue of the fact that they’ve stood the test of time.
Take Sol Beer for example. Way back in 1899, in a brewery near Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico, a brewer created a light, refreshing beer made from the water closest to the sun.
When a beam of sunlight hit the empty bottle he was holding, he named his creation after the sun – and Sol was born.
Sol embodies Espiritu Libre, the spirit of freedom, and it’s one that more and more South Africans are embracing these days.
Freedom – like the freedom to drink what you want, when you want it, without the pressure of learning a whole new language to talk about it.
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