Again I will have to go through dictionary definitions, guess what people, the term "geek" existed before Bill Gates, before the internet and before hop bombs exploded all over the brewing world.
A quick lesson in etymology then, it would appear that the word "geek" has its origins in the Scots term "geck", derived from Low German which meant fool or simpleton, and was coined as "geek" in the early 20th century to describe a carnival performer, in particular a sideshow freak. Of course, language, being a human construct, evolves and the meanings of words develop throughout history. The word "geek" today has 5 major meanings:
- a computer expert or enthusiast,(a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
- a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
- a person who is regarded as foolish, inept or clumsy
- a person who is single minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
- a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
In my experience of beer lovers, definition 3 would be a major disadvantage, would you want to be clumsy with a pint of something delicious in your hand? The latter half of definition 4 is also completely out of the window for the true beer lover because beer lovers are, again in my experience, very social people. Of course the natural habitat of the beer lover is the pub, a more social place would be difficult to find. Beer is the drink that brings people together, the great leveller of western society if you will (I hold no truck with beer being the "working man's drink" bollocks, it is the everyman drink, and no they are not the same!), geeks generally though sit apart from the great morass of society, beer lovers should be at the very heart of it.
Now perhaps I will not be causing a shift away from the term "beer geek" for the majority of people who love the amber nectar, but it would be nice to find a term which better describes the majority of beer lovers I have had the pleasure to meet in the last couple of years. Not one of them would fit the definition of a geek, as they have been heartily likable, urbane, assured, social, and without a penchant for chicken abuse.
Let's find a term worthy of them.