The 25 Stages of Being a Beer Nerd, in GIFs

Don't fight the inevitable—just enjoy the ride.

  • Click through the gallery to follow the evolution of a beer nerd.
  • Stage 1: You sneak a sip of your dad's Bud and it is terrifying.
  • Stage 2: You steal a case of beer from the basement and drink it with your high school buddies.
  • Stage 3: You do your first keg stand.
  • Stage 4: You have your first life-altering hangover and swear off beer drinking forever.
  • Stage 5: You're back! You shotgun your first beer. It is awesome.
  • Stage 6: You go through that awkward moment where you think that import lagers, like Stella and Becks, are the sophisticated choice.
  • Stage 7: You drink a beer in college—maybe a Bass, or a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or an Anchor Steam—that doesn't totally suck. You're intrigued.
  • Stage 8: You find out Blue Moon is owned by Miller-Coors and feel like your parents got divorced—you begin questioning authority.
  • Stage 9: Hops walk up to you and say, "Hi, my name is Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA," then punch you in the face. You say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"
  • Stage 10: You decide that good beer and student budgets make sense together as long as you only order the most alcoholic beer at every bar.
  • Stage 11: This practice leads you to drink a Belgian Tripel. Nothing will ever be the same.
  • Step 12: You start reading Beer Advocate ratings religiously. You trust Jason and Todd Alstrom more than you trust yourself.
  • Step 13: You begin to be able to pick out specific flavor notes in beers. Pride washes over you in an awesome wave.
  • Step 14: You begin an obsessive hunt for the biggest, hoppiest, and rarest beers with "world-class" rating on BA. Your mom sends you a concerned email when your Christmas list simply reads, "Surly Darkness. The Bruery Black Tuesday. Three Floyds Dark Lord."
  • Step 15: Your militancy against macro-brewed lagers reaches its peak. Some of your friends think you've become a bit of a dick.
  • Step 16: You start home-brewing and spend much of your time at work scouring the Internet for small whiskey barrels to age your beers in.
  • Step 17: You realize you spend more money each month on beer than food. You are weirdly okay with this.
  • Stage 18: You now drink sours. The more a beer smells like dirty gym socks, the more you want it.
  • Stage 19: You give a new bar one-star on Yelp, noting its improper glassware and the bartender who put an orange in your hefeweizen. You're vaguely concerned about what you've become, but you can't stop.
  • Stage 20: You start tearing down your idols. Ubiquity bores you. Everything is overrated. Life sucks.
  • Stage 21: The wrath you reserved for Bud Light is now redirected toward contract brewing and casks that are too cold.
  • Stage 22: You declare your interest in session beers. IPAs are too obvious—you enjoy subtlety, and an excuse to start drinking earlier in the day.
  • Stage 23: You return to the classics, and see them in a whole new light.
  • Stage 24: You decide to sell off your cellar collection to get money for your bills. You wonder if maybe you're getting too old for experimental hop varietals and blood-orange saisons. You kind of just want a PBR.
  • Stage 25: You drink a new barrel-aged, dry-hopped, coriander-infused imperial black IPA from a nitro pour and it blows your mind. You remember why you can never stop chasing that feeling. You get drunk. Life is good.

How did you make the transition from Natty Ice-pounding college kid to card-carrying hop head? The more fellow beer lovers I talk to, the more I realize our stories are kind of the same—we started with crappy swill pilfered from pops, drank way too much as an undergrad, had an “AHA” moment with something European, became obsessed with hops, chased some white whales, became snobby, discovered Brettanomyces, became even snobbier, and now we basically just love session beers and quiet bars. Amiright?! Even Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione seems to have followed a similar arc, at least at the beginning.

The journey into craft-beer nerdom is as glorious as it is predictable. Grab a brew and let’s all relive it together.

Click through the gallery above to chart the 25 stage of being a beer nerd.

  • NerdyDillinger

    “Bartender who put an orange if your Hefeweizen” – I HATE WHEN THEY DO THAT !!! I WANT A LEMON BITCH !

  • Franklin

    Stage 8:
    Blue Moon is owned by Miller Coors, not AB In-bev…
    Just saying.

    Cool post though.

    • Smac

      Really? Does that actually matter? Are you kidding me?

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