Most of us, in at least some part of our lives, live in some weird, elite bubble or another in which we believe that a given thing we do or like is something everyone does or likes. For example:
- Many, many people who reside in Columbus, Ohio do not appreciate that, no, not everyone thinks college football is the single most important thing in life and not everyone bases their entire fall schedule around it;
- A lot of people who are into the latest big Sunday evening prestige TV drama or some podcast that has gone viral don’t appreciate that the vast majority of people don’t know about it or care about it;
- When I moved to West Virginia as a kid it did not occur to my new friends that not every child in the world starts squirrel hunting at age five;
- If you are a Major League Baseball enthusiast, it may shock you, on occasion, when you come across someone who does not know what we feel to be the most basic, obvious fact about the game.
This isn’t about snobbery necessarily. It’s really a function of the fact that all hobbies, interests and passions are, to some degree, pursuits of the minority. For any given thing you like or do, more people don’t know about it or don’t care about it than do. That’s just how society works. The long tail, and all.
Sometimes we’re aware of this dynamic. That’s when it can be snobbery. Like, say, the fan of the indie band who knows and takes pride in the fact that you probably haven’t heard of them and it makes them feel superior. Or the classic rich guy who likes rich things and just can’t abide something common.
But usually we’re not operating like that, I don’t think. Sure, we may have started in on a new interest based on some appreciation of its exceptional (to us) nature — getting into punk because “screw those jocks!” or getting into fine win because “I’m rich and I can!” — but once you’re in the scene, as it were, you just sort of get immersed and like it for its own sake. You don’t constantly live with a feeling of “this is MY thing” pride. Unless you’re a jackass, and really, most of us aren’t jackasses. We just get into what we like and then let the bubble form.
All of which is a VERY long way of getting to the subject of craft beer. There is a stereotype of craft beer “snobs,” looking down their nose at people who drink Budweiser or whatever. And, yes, those sorts of people do exist. I’ve met a few of them. Folks who, for some reason, can’t shut up about what they don’t like as opposed to simply enjoying what they like. But most craft beer people — and I’d say I’m one of them, even if I’m not in the upper echelons of craft beer cliques — just like the beer. They may have gotten into it based on some elitist impulse, but that passed a long time ago and now it’s just about liking stuff you’ve come to like and not defining yourself by reference to what you hate. That’s a key distinction that I think is lost on most people. Both those inside any given subculture explaining their passion or those living outside that subculture, criticizing the subculture.
All of which brings us to Eater’s list of all of the craft beers available in the 30 ballparks in 2015. Read it, save it and use it for your baseball travels if you happen to like craft beer.
But if you do like craft beer, don’t take this as an opportunity to insult people who enjoy drinking a Budweiser, because that’s most people, frankly. And if you don’t like craft beer, don’t take this as an opportunity to slam people for not liking something most people like. Because you’re probably doing something singular and weird yourself. We all are.
UPDATE: I’m being told by folks that the linked list omits tons and tons of craft beers available at ballparks. So, well, I guess we’ll call it a starting point rather than a comprehensive list. Or maybe the Eater folks are just doing that elitism thing I talked about above and want to make sure you plebes don’t know about all of that amazing craft beer they’re gonna go get for themselves.