Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beer Geek or Pub Snob?

Something that has been going round my head a lot of late is the question of whether or not I am a genuine beer geek, a term I have come to loathe, or am I in fact a pub snob? I am fairly sure that the two are opposite faces of the coin when it comes to the beery world, and perhaps this is heresy but I don't particularly enjoy drinking in the comfort of my own home, without mates to chat with (real, live mates that is, rather than my online buds - as great as they are), barmaids to flirt with and the general buzz and hubbub of a good pub.

Due to various, utterly boring and not worth repeating here, reasons, I have not really discovered much about pub life in Charlottesville, but whenever I come down to Columbia, there is one place that I simply must, absolutely have to, go to - Flying Saucer. I have waxed lyrical about Flying Saucer several times before, but last night it simply went up yet another notch in my estimation. Did they have new beers? Well yes in fact they did, they had my current favourite pale ale, Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Were the staff superb? Yes, our beer goddess last night, Caycee, was magnificent, when I eventually get my own pub, then staff like her are exactly what I would be looking for, her and the world's best barmaid as far as I am concerned, Klara from PK. Are these the things that heightened my appreciation for Flying Saucer? Not in the slightest.

When sitting in PK with Evan, he once told me that to really understand a beer you need to drink it least 4 times. Pubs are the same, you have to go several times to really judge whether this is a pub you would go to regularly. Simply put, the consistency of excellence I have experienced at Flying Saucer in Columbia makes it my favourite pub in the city, and makes me wish we had one in Charlottesville.

I don't know if the beer tastes better in the pub, I don't want to get into the whole draught vs bottle debate, but the beer is so much better when it is with good friends in a good environment. God help us if beer ever becomes an aspirational, niche product that you sit, sip and contemplate like some pretentious wine buff. With places like Flying Saucer in the world, that dark day is kept at bay.


  1. Surely the point of beer is as a lubricant for socialising rather than just to be experienced in isolation, so its natural habitat is the pub. Having said that, you can socialise with friends at home too.

  2. Interesting. Me and Boak drink at home sometimes when we're playing board games or watching a film, so I don't see it as necessarily unsocial -- it's just a different, quieter kind of socialising.

    Having said that, a pint of standard bitter in the pub can taste like nectar if I'm in the right mood, and with the right company.

    I should also say that we really like the term beer geek!

  3. I do drink at home, though I find more and more that it is my own beer I like to sup on of a night in. However, I tend to only drink one or two pints when I am home, rather than the 11 beers I had in Flying Saucer on Friday night.

    Perhaps I just don't think of being at home, watching a film on the idiot box, as socialising.

  4. I quite enjoy drinking at home with my wife, BUT being Irish I certainly prefer to drink out in the pub. I love having an excuse to head to Dublin and sit in the Bull and Castle, even if I start out on my own I can have a good chat with the staff or else another craft brewer might show up.

    That Flying saucer place looks excellent.

    I have yet to have the pleasure of Bell's Two Hearted Ale but I love Bells beer, it has a special place in my heart as being the brewery that introduced me to Craft beer many years ago in Michigan. I have still yet to visit the brewery, next time I am in Michigan I am making sure to do it.


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