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Drains and the pouring thereunto

First, a confession: while I really enjoy the #sundayreads tradition I’ve started, where I post a beer related article Sunday mornings to read whilst you sip your coffee or tea or… beer?1, most of the time the articles I find come from Boak and Bailey. So, y’know, go read them too.

This week I chose On the misguided passion of beer connoisseurs, on the #drainpour2 hashtag, in which beer drinkers indicate on social media that they’re dumping an unfinished beer down the drain.

Opinions are like assholes: everyone has one and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it

This article begat a healthy discussion on our Facebook post about it, and I thought I’d expand on some on my comments here. Alan quickly jumped in to reiterate that he doesn’t find drainpours misguided. The original article spent most of its time discussing the difference between snobbery and discernment, and in the process featuring a quote from beer writer Jordan St. John:

“It’s important to remember, as consumers, that you’re allowed to not like something,” St. John says. “You’re allowed to pour it down the drain. What you’re not allowed to do is declare something bad because you don’t like it.”

Just a regular pour

Just a regular pour

This speaks directly to what I love about E-Prime, plus it reinforces that your opinion is valid, something which I think everyone needs to hear now and then. But then the piece takes a sharp turn at the end:

Many of the geeks employing the #drainpour hashtag have their hearts in the right place. They want to spread the gospel of good brews while rejecting the silly ones. But if the hashtag sounds like snobbery to most drinkers, it can’t be helping the cause of good beer. So you know what to do with the #drainpour, ladies and gentlemen of the discerning beer drinker’s alliance. Into the sink, and down the drain it goes.

Wait, hold on. Suddenly Untappd users need to concern themselves with advancing “the cause”? You should not feel beholden to any cause but your own3. Craft beer likes to consider itself one big cuddle-party-cum-rising-tide-cum-circle-jerk in which breweries fill kegs with unicorn spit and if you pour some on the ground a new brewery will sprout straight out of Greek mythology, but the sad truth remains that some beer will not appeal to you (I’m avoiding saying it “is bad” since I’m a big hippie relativist and don’t think objective quality exists).

You can’t be neutral on a moving train

You need to call us on our bullshit. Choking down something you hate because of a sense of duty to Buffalo or beer or “the movement” helps no one. It reinforces the status quo.

Now then, one can still hold breweries to a high standard and take issue with #drainpour. I would feel too ostentatious if I did it myself: “Here I am! I have opinions! Look at me!” But then I feel like I’m being ostentatious if I wear a scarf.

As I see it, you only cross the line into unhelpful territory if you act like a jerk about it. Acting like a know-it-all who hates everything but the very best (none of which is available without traveling or muleing) could intimidate new beer lovers into silence if they feel like they aren’t cool or knowledgeable enough to share their opinions.

But: you do not owe us anything. Caveat venditor.

Pour baby pour

Ethan commented that he didn’t like “the drama of a public #drainpour”, to which Alan agreed, adding that he still thought people had the right to do it. I agree completely, and I’ll be honest: if you tag @communitybeer on Twitter or Instagram I get a notification on my phone. You are essentially texting me, and if the text says we suck I’ll get a little sad. That’s my problem, though, not yours.

Like what you like, dislike what you don’t and share that if the mood strikes. Keep in mind, as always, that just because a thought entered your head doesn’t require anyone else to care. I’ll only take issue with you if you use your opinion to silence others.

Or if you bring my mother into it, because she’s a classy lady.


  1. I have a fairly narrow idea of what sorts of beverages exist. 

  2. That’s right, two hashtags in a blog post. Bring on the end times. 

  3. Wait, hold on, I’m sounding like an Objectivist. 

One comment on “Drains and the pouring thereunto

  1. MICHAEL DAVIS on

    I agree in that any reviewer should keep in mind their pallette will differ from others as to what constitutes a good or bad beer. Honestly, is their really a bad beer? There are many types I’m am not fond of. I have discarded many a sampling at a few Brewfest venues. However I can only stay that the beer was not to my liking. Other may find it to be very appealing so I will never declare any beer as fit for the drain.

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