Thursday, March 1, 2012

Confessions of a Beer-chelor

Rayon Vert, will you accept this rose?
As some of you already know, I got divorced back in mid-October. This life change thrust me back into the dating scene, which has been mildly horrifying because A) I consider myself a pretty awkward person in general and B) after a LONG relationship, I don't even remember what dating was like before (you're supposed to ask women out on AOL Instant Messenger, right?). But there's one much bigger problem that has reared it's hoppy head in my dating experiences for the past few months:

I've become a craft beer drinker.

I say it's a problem in the sense that I can't help but factor beer drinking habits into my evaluations of a woman as a future girlfriend/spouse. If I take a girl out and her drink of choice is a Bud Light, I'm pretty sure I develop a noticeable twitch and a little devil appears on my shoulder hissing at me to run away as fast as I can. At this point, it's a natural reaction, and while it might be a little judgmental, I think it's somewhat justified.

Maybe this initially seems like an act of snobbery, but it's really not. I'm not expecting to find a woman who has 6 saucers up at the Flying Saucer, homebrews in her spare time and has a plentiful stock of Cantillon in her cellar (but if you're out there, give me a call!). Really, I'm just looking for a woman with an open mind when it comes to beer. Given the fact that a major part of my personal/social life revolves around craft beer bars/events/etc., it would be nice to have someone with a similar interest in the beer scene or an openness to explore it. Someone who doesn't immediately label all stouts as 'heavy'. Someone who can appreciate a good IPA. And if I'm really lucky, someone who won't stick her nose up at the phrase 'sour beer'.

It's something that I have an internal battle with often. Sometimes I worry that I'm pigeonholing myself and that I could potentially be missing out on some great women because I'm so focused on what they're drinking. But, at the same time, I told myself after getting divorced that when I got into my next relationship, I wasn't going to settle. If I'm not going to settle in other aspects of a future mate, why should beer be any different? Granted, I should be paying equal attention to things like drug habits, criminal tendencies, mental health, etc. but beer deserves to be up there in the list of considerations.

The other problem in all of this is the fact that, well, single women that drink good beer are hard to find around these parts. Go into a craft beer bar on any given night and the male to female ratio seems like its usually about 50 to 1. In a metropolitan area that is already notorious for sucking when it comes to the dating scene, I'm immediately making it that much harder for myself. On visits to cities like Denver and Milwaukee, it seemed like women drinking good beer were out in full force, but in Kansas City the numbers seem paltry compared to those towns. Girls that swig BMC beers come a dime a dozen in this area, so what's a single guy to do? Is it worth the time to try to "convert" a macro drinker and suggest new beers to try to broaden their horizons?

So what's the verdict? Am I being too picky? Or is my beer judgment justified?

For any other single guys that are craft beer drinkers: are beer drinking habits a big consideration for you while dating?

And for those of you that are in relationships with women that appreciate good beer: is it as great as I'm imagining it to be, or does it actually turn out to be a pain in the ass because they steal all your beer?

Ladies, feel free to chime in too!

36 comments:

  1. Allow me to share my "happy medium" between some of the alternatives you've discussed. And that is, the cider drinker. My nearly 3 year relationship with one has been a great balance. And with the increased production and availability of new and different ciders, she can engage in a good 15-20 minute liquor store perusal of her own, while I'm doing my beer thing. The increased presence of ciders at festivals, also helps. Plus, I think you open up your available dating pool significantly by considering such beings.

    Most importantly though, is at least finding someone who understands your thirst for craft beers. "Foodies" and/or excellent cooks can be very open to such an understanding. They get the importance of real flavor and subtleties in food, which translates well. You may not convert them, but they should at least get it. Anyway, this combo has worked for me.

    Good luck on your new journey!

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  2. I don't mean to rub this in, but I have a great wife who really does like craft beer. She isn't a fan of "malty" or "sour" but loves a good IPA, Amber, and an occassional Stout. And yes, it does make "dating" (which we still do as a married couple) more fun - -so it is important. And I would think less of a bud light drinker.

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  3. I definitely know the feeling, and I think the above commenters make good points - there aren't a lot of women who swig Le Terroir on the weekend, but there are a lot of women who are educable. If someone is open to new tastes then you can usually introduce them to some decent stuff and then work on expanding their palate. I've found that making a few snide comments about BMC beers can prompt a person to wonder why they drink it.

    All that said, some women are worth tolerating poor taste in certain areas.

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  4. My wife enjoys craft beer to the point that she and a friend got a women's beer tasting group up and running. (And some of them are single, FYI.)

    At nearly every meeting someone says, "I know someone who would love this group." When they're in public, women approach them to see what they're about because they might not have friends who enjoy beer like they do. My point is that a) there ARE women who like beer, and b) don't feel bad that you haven't found one yet because apparently they don't even find each other all that easily.

    As far as how much importance to place on her current beer status, that's up to you. Keep in mind that everyone who gets to beer geekdom takes a different path and a different amount of time. I think that as long as she's open to it, ordering a Miller Lite shouldn't be an automatic DQ. If she starts scrunching up her face before she even tastes your porter, she's probably not very adventurous anyway and therefore probably not worth your time.

    Now, all that said: being married to someone who's as excited as I am about splitting a bomber or brewing a batch of beer is FREAKING AWESOME. We both enjoy beer and it's pretty important to both of us. When we were in CA, I didn't have to beg my wife to take a detour to Lagunitas because she was as stoked as I was (we went back twice, incidentally).

    I think the best thing you can do is be upfront about it. Don't go off the geek end with it, but mention that you like to go out and try beers and write a beer blog. That should help you figure out rather quickly where she stands, and it's always better to just be real out of the gates instead of wasting 4 months faking it.

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  5. I'm a craft beer lover (but i'm married, sorry pat haha!) and I don't scoff at your thoughts of judging a girl on being a bug light drinker in the slightest! Thankfully, more craft beer is becoming accessible for women to try and be familiar with. I'm just glad my husband likes IPA's where I do not. Our biggest problem is that he frequents a beer club here in Garden City and we have to double up our inventory so he won't take something I want to drink! :)
    Good luck Pat, maybe your dating show will work out and she'll be a craft beer lover!

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  6. Being a KC native, and a lifelong 37 year old bachelor, I definitely know what you mean about the dating scene. You're passionate about beer. Clearly that matters to you in a mate. There's no point in settling. All you need to find is someone who's open to trying new things, not necessarily a beer geek. But wait a minute... you're newly single after a long relationship. Why not just enjoy it for awhile?

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  7. I lucked into a wife who is open to new things in general, craft beer included. She tends to like fruit beers (New Glarus) and Hefe's, but she will without fault try whatever I'm drinking. It could be Black Tuesday or Hopslam and she will at least give it a sip. She has been really supportive of my craft beer hobby and has no problem running to the store when something new comes out. Hell, she got us tickets to the GABF last year for a wedding gift...keeper!

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  8. Too much focus on one trait/hobby, bro. If you are going to put an emphasis on your future partner enjoying everything you do, you should just find a cool dude and resign yourselves to jerking each other off with your eyes closed.

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  9. Chimpotle, you say that as if I haven't already been down that road...

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  10. There are 44 women in Helles Angels, and we find ourselves adding more members any time we mention to our chick friends that we're in a beer group.

    What I'm sayin' is that we're not all out there drinking chardonnay and margaritas.

    But based on some discussion about girls vs. boys when it comes to beer, some thoughts:
    —We like Helles because we can bring anything we want to without fear of being judged, and learn about beer together. It's not about showing off with the rarest or most obscure beer. Beer is fun because it's...fun. Not a competition.
    —It's irritating when a guy spends a lot of effort trying to turn you on to all the bands or movies he likes. Same thing with beer. If you're talking to grown women, no playing Pygmalion.
    —What they say about cellars is true: Size matters.

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  11. TB, thanks for your comments, very much appreciated! As for your thoughts about not showing off/trying to compete, I 100% agree. I TRY (I know I fail at times) to avoid that kind of attitude in general, and obviously that's not the kind of characteristic that's going to impress someone that you're trying to court.

    Your cellars comment should be printed on a sign or something, that is great.

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  12. It's HARD. But I can almost guarantee chicks dig beer geeks/nerds/dorks better than snobs. (Note to JK, above: Probably best to avoid words like "educable.")

    I wonder if I still have my old cross-stitch stuff...

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  13. How does one join Helles Angels or JJSKCK's wife's beer group??? Facebook? If the group(s) are looking for more members....

    liz.ardell@gmail.com

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  14. Look for us on Facebook, Liz! It's called Helles Angels. You may have to friend one of us to get in...let me know if you have any problems.

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  15. I look at it this way: if a person (male or female) always drinks the same beer, whether it be good or bad beer, that shows a lack of adventure. Even if they do like Bud Light (which I know is hard to fathom), I'm sure there are other beers out there that they'd like better, but if they're not willing to try something different, they're Boring. To me, it's the same as eating the same food everyday. Search for somebody more adventurous.

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  16. From the perspective of a wife who has been converted by her husband into a craft beer enthusiast, I'm proof that it is possible. Everyone starts somewhere and few of us are lucky enough to have good beer influences early on. My dad is a devout Corona drinker so that's what I drank for a long time. But that didn't mean that I couldn't be convinced to try something new, and I'm so glad my man introduced me to the world of craft beer. In fact, my brewery education has been a really fun journey that actually brought us together ever more! Sort of "beer bonding" haha!

    As far as beer being a deciding factor in your girlfriend choices, I think there is definitely something to be said for similar hobbies or tastes. Imagine a musician with a girlfriend who hates music. It's pretty much a cliche for a bad relationship. But I agree with the posts above that she doesn't have to be a beer enthusiast per-say. Open minded yes, appreciates good things; and the foodie idea is probably a good direction. I wouldn't make beer a line in the sand, but definitely a consideration. Good luck with the search!

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  17. I find it interesting to know your stories and I agree with you that women single which drink good beer could hardly find even in our place...

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  18. Wow, I'm so happy to have stumbled upon this. Well, I didn't really stumble. I'm a fairly consistent reader of the KC Beer Blog. As a woman who loves craft beers, it's interesting to hear about it from the guy's perspective.

    I actually have a "first date test" I expose my dates to. I suggest we meet at an establishment in KC for dinner or happy hour, such as 75th Street, McCoy's, etc. that brews their own beer. If the guy orders bud light, I can't end the date fast enough. If he orders one of the brewery's beers, we're good to progress!

    What I want (need) to know, is where can I go find men that drink good beers in which the men to women ratio is 50 to 1. As a single woman in her upper 20s who is fairly successful, not fat (not even chubby), has a good sense of humor, and who loves a good beer, I would love to meet single guys who drink good beer.

    I sure the last few months and the divorce has been hard, but hopefully you come out better as a result of it. Hopefully you'll find someone that enjoys a really good beer with you. After all, you do write THE KC beer blog. It's obviously important to you, which makes it worth it to not settle and wait around for someone who finds it just as important.

    Best of luck - and get back to me on that bar I can go to!

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  19. This post and some of the comments are very disturbing to me and show the fundamental lack of openness and snobbery that is exactly what we don't need if we want Kansas City to become a truly great beer city. I think TB got to the heart of it. Women have a club just for themselves where they can "bring anything we want to without fear of being judged..." This is a sad state of affairs when women want to be into beer but chauvinistic beer snobs are hindering their efforts to do so.

    Because someone (male or female) drinks bud lite at a bar does not make them a tool or a ditz. Maybe they actually like that beer, and who are we to tell someone that the beer they're drinking isn't "good"? Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the quality of the beverage they are drinking. (Remember, the only truly objective aspects of quality, of what makes a beer "good", are consistency of the product, and lack of noticeable off-flavors not intended by the brewer. Quality of flavor is completely subjective and up to each individual to explore. Beer tasting experts may only direct laymen drinkers to the relevant flavors present in a beer, not whether they are good or bad.)

    It may be the case, however, that they have just not been exposed to the great and varied world of beer. If we write them off the second we see them drinking bud lite, they likely never will be exposed to it, and craft beer lovers as a community are the worse for it. Don't snub someone because of what they are drinking. Instead, try to have a real conversation with them about your genuine love for the world of beer without putting an elitist spin on it. If they think stout is "too heavy", help them out with some blind samples of Guinness and Budweiser side by side instead of scoffing at their "ignorance". Maybe then you will find that our craft beer community will actually ferment and grow instead of autolyzing and dropping out of suspension into a crust on the bottom of the proverbial bud lite bottle.

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  21. I dated a girl last summer who come to find out wouldn't even touch a craft beer, much less a Boulevard Wheat. That ended rather quickly. Great post regarding this very true topic.

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  22. Okay, so you mentioned that since the marriage and divorce, you've become a craft beer drinker, but what did you drink before? Miller Lite? Fine, we have to start somewhere, but you go on a date, and she orders a Bud Light over a fru fru martini, I think you got yourself a winner! A woman who drinks beer! Whoo hoo! So what if it's a macro beer?! She drank beer! That Bud Light is opening so many doors for you. You can meet her at a beer bar and try new pilsners, contrary to popular beer geekdome belief, Germans make good beer. And after the pilsner it evolves into hefeweizens, and you know what...soon you will have a smokin' hot craft beer drinking girl who you bonded with over beer. That beer bond is something extraordinary, and the connection that is made crosses over your relationship into the KC craft beer scene. You see where I'm going with this???

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  23. Completely agree with Jay A. Are we trying to say everyone was born a natural craft beer drinker, let alone even a beer drinker?!? I drank a bud light before, I believe it was even in public. According to the replies here, god forbid that I had probably been labeled as worthless bar space by those around me. Probably the same people I am not friends with. :)

    Very narrowed outlook on relationship. Open minded person can change everything between a connection of two people, but no lets focus on the bottle in her hand, and hopefully someone else has "converted" her so I don't have to...

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  24. So...condescension and douchiness: bad for romance and human relationships in general.

    Also, has anyone mentioned that Tank 7 is the gateway beer?

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  25. I absolutely will not drink Bud Light because A. St. Louis and B. Its crap.
    I can listen to people tell me how great Bud Light Platinum is about as long as I can listen to people talk about Tim Tebow. Hold out for a good Beer Drinking Companion Buddy!!! She is out there!

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  26. @Sasha Rabbit

    It may not be 50 to 1, but the Saucer's gender ratio is routinely in the 5-to-10 males/female range on (non-concert) weeknights.

    Also, when you're there, wander down to the end of the bar and talk to the regulars. We're (mostly) nice people, almost all of us are single, and we average about 5 plates apiece to our names...

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  27. TBinKC -
    Not finding Helles Angels on Facebook - finding lots of other groups by that name in Norway and Sweden.

    email me? liz.ardell@gmail.com

    Thanks!

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  28. Thanks for the tip on Flying Saucer. I've been there several times, but typically in a large group for happy hour and trivia. It has not been on a random week night in an attempt to find a craft beer drinker!

    I'll be heading there this week, probably on Tuesday since it will be so nice out, to check out the regulars!

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  29. I'm a single female craft beer drinker and I feel the same way. If I go out with a guy and he orders a domestic beer, my heart just drops... I think there should be a dating site for craft beer drinkers. You should work on that!

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  30. Chimpotle, you always crack my shit up. Everytime I see you name as I read these comments I know a smart ass comment is coming up that I'm going to laugh my ass off at. Good stuff.

    Pat, I'm also fortunate to be married to a woman that is a huge craft beer fan. She's been that way for years so it's hard to say how it started, but I know Guinness was there around the beginning. That said we have female friends who are also getting into craft beer & it all starts on whether or not they even like beer usually. If they drink Bud Light, transition them to Blvd Pilsner or a German Heffe. Also throw in the lambics & fruity saisons. Then IPA's when she starts getting into the different flavors. Try some stouts that aren't too heavy with good cocoa characteristics or pair some chocolate cake with one & she'll be more of a fan.

    You could make it more of a personal challenge I suppose, but I think your best bet really is to hit the craft beer bars & then you've got what you are looking for right there. Unless she's just a lush...

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  31. Delirium Tremens is what did my wife in. She could care less about beer. Now she's happy to take my Abacus or Cantillion if it's left unsupervised.

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  32. Thanks for all the comments everyone, I definitely didn't expect this to turn into such a good discussion. Randyl makes a great point in that, sure, I haven't always been a craft beer drinker. In college, I put away ridiculous amounts of Keystone Light. My transition to craft beer was a gradual one, just like most people, over the past 4 years or so. But of course now that I get so caught up in it, I forget that.

    Great insight from every angle!

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  33. When I met my wife, she was a crown and water drinker. I was just beginning to get into the craft beer scene and she was open to trying new things. We made it into a game. We would go to the beer store together and we would both pick out a 750 to see who could find the best one. We didn't worry about style or anything. Honestly, it was usually the label that won it over for her and maybe something a friend told me or a brewery I enjoyed. Oddly, usually her choice was the better of the two. I used that new relationship fun combined with a bit of a challenge to begin to open her mind to craft beer. Now, she is just as big into craft beer as I am. Occasionally she still goes back for that Crown and water and that's fine but she is just as happy ordering a good beer.

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  34. Your passion is not good beer but great beer. I don't blame you. Don't seek out a good woman who likes great beer but a great woman who appreciates your passion. Everyone enjoys sharing a passion with their partner but the real enjoyment comes from embracing each other's individual passions. As long as she embraces your passion for beer then you are golden. That ups your search for potential soul mates right there. Maybe you can find a nice girl at AA...nah, those people are too concerned with quantity not quality.

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  35. What I found if a girl like coffee (even foofoo coffee drinks) you can get her to embrace craft beer. I think most are scared off by really bad Guinness from some crappy St Patrick's party so think anything darker then Bud is gross. But have them try a 1554 and then the fun begins.
    A beer with decent Mocha notes seems to work as a gateway beer, then DIPA's for their sweetness, before long they are sharing sours and beerfests with you.

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  36. There is hope out there. I've been divorced for two years. I luckily found someone who I could say is my best friend. We've been dating for roughly two years. She enjoys craft beer just as much as I do. In fact I would say her body of knowledge goes beyond mine. She has several beer tours under her belt. We both are card caring members at places like Old Chicago, Barley's, Granite City, and we are going to join the UFO club soon. Our enjoyment and love for wine and good beer is just one of the loves we share. She's an athlete and if you don't mind me rubbing it in, she's a fantastic lover! I would say she has influenced me more than I have her. I don't think your concerns are wrong. I think you're right on the money. Hang in there. We're all pulling for you. It sounds like you should start a club yourself or a dating website. Get a hold of John McDonald maybe he'll let you use one of the rooms at Boulevard to host a "Singles of Suds club or something! Yes Tank 7 is a gateway beer! I totally agree. :-)

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