A hopeless, insufferable beer nerd (like myself) requires about 1000 tools, toys, and knickknacks in order to feel complete. Not to mention the fact that such a devoted beer nerd has to spend his or her weekends outside of breweries, waiting in line to buy rare brews; there may or may not be a very complicated secret handshake to learn. It’s a lot of work -- most of which I don’t recommend.
But you don’t have to commit so intensely to the culture just to enjoy beer. In fact, becoming a beer lover requires very little work beyond enjoying the beverage. There are, however, just a few attainable items that will help you get the most out of your favorite brews.
Take note of the following 10 things, and seek them out if you’re ready to make the jump from “beer liker” to “beer lover” today.
A perfect pint glass
Sure, there’s a time and a place to drink beer from a red plastic cup. Namely, college. Now? Your beer is worthy of a nicer vessel -- one that’ll accentuate its aromas and deliver it optimally to your tongue. The glass experts at Spiegelau are pretty damn good at making glasses specifically designed to get the most out of certain beers. You can even buy a three-glass set to be sure you have the perfect glass for any IPA, stout, or Belgian-style beer. It’s worth the investment.
A beer fridge
If there’s plenty of room in your fridge for beer, you don’t have enough beer. Once you do, it’s freeing to have a place in your house just for storing beer -- and a warm cabinet is not acceptable! Not only does owning a beer fridge encourage you to fill it, opening the fridge is almost as fun as drinking the beer. It’s like Christmas every 5PM! And don’t worry: beer fridges are affordable. While I initially thought I’d have to shell out something like $500 for one, you can find perfectly suitable beer cooling apparatuses for under $200.
An Instagram account
I been avoiding signing up for Instagram since October 2010, which -- not coincidentally -- is exactly when it launched. But after some guy told me that I needed to sign up for one if I wanted to be taken seriously as a beer connoisseur, I cried. And after giving myself a good hour to compose myself, I signed up. Since then, I’m most surprised by how it actually kind of forces you to drink new beers. The fact that no one wants to take (or view) the same photo of the same beer every day will subconsciously push you to buy and try new beers you can photograph. It’s also opened my eyes to a ton of people around the country who love to share pics of the beers they’re drinking. Instagram is the quintessential visual beer recommendation engine.
A bottle opener
There are plenty of bottle openers on the market. Etsy has 20,618 of ‘em! But you only need one good one. I like the ones from Yeti, since they’re usually sturdier than those free bottle openers you might get from a brewery or a tech company that will inevitably go under by the time you use the damn thing. I’d also recommend you get one that fits on your keychain. I’ve lost count of how many times having such a bottle opener has come in handy. Then again, if you’re interested in other ways to open a beer bottle (because, I know, you’re not basic), we’ve got you covered.
An Untappd account to keep track of all the beers you’ve drunk
If you’ve ever asked a friend, “What was that great beer were we drinking last night at your place?” then you need Untappd. It’s an easy way to keep track of all the beers you drink and find out what everyone else thinks of them. Or, if you’re like these guys, it’s a fun way to be better than everyone in the universe at beer.
A private Untappd account to keep track of all the beers you’re embarrassed about drinking
Have you enjoyed a bottle of hard root beer every Friday and Saturday night for the last month? There’s nothing to be ashamed of -- you like what you like! -- but you’re probably too ashamed to admit it to your beer nerd friends. Keep track of those guilty pleasures on a secret Untappd account. No one will be the wiser, RootBeerLuvr85.
Beer art for your walls
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On the surface, this might sound like I’m suggesting that you hang a photo of the Swedish Bikini Team on your wall, like my uncle has in his man cave. This is not what I am suggesting. Instead, you can buy some clever, classy, modern beer art from Pop Chart Lab. Plaster your walls with a map of breweries in every US state (Colorado! Oregon! Other places!) or a super detailed poster of every beer style ever.
Friends to drink with
You probably already have friends. (And if so, congrats on finding people who tolerate your most unflattering personality traits!) But are they the kind of friends who’ll accompany you to a brewery’s anniversary party? Will they drive an hour just to check out a new brewery that you’ve heard is "decent"? Are they willing to split a six pack with you even though it costs significantly more than the light lager next to it? These are the types of people who will enhance your love of beer. Seek them out!
A gym membership
Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass, but you gotta burn off those carbs somehow! And here’s the good news: once you’re done with the workout, you can have a beer!
An open mind
An open mind? Whooooa. Now that’s deep. But seriously, it is the single most important thing you need in your life as a beer lover. You might think you know what you like and dislike, but I’d bet your mind could be changed if you’d only maintain a flexible attitude towards styles you’ve never tried before. I wouldn’t believe it, either -- but it happened to me. One of the best things about the craft beer boom in America is the crazy amount of beer to try. But if you “only drink IPAs,” you’re ignoring about 90% of the beautiful brews out there that you might actually love, too. Give beers a chance.