Tuesday, September 13, 2016

You can't just buy "beer" (or "wine") for your friends anymore

A non-oenophile friend complained to me recently about a mutual acquaintance; we'll call him Dick. My friend invited another couple over as part of a dinner party. My friend was planning to serve wine but was told that Dick doesn't like wine and is a beer drinker.

My friend, not a beer drinker, bought a 6-pack of Heineken. He thought this was courteous.

But Dick wouldn't drink the Heineken. Instead, he gave my friend a lecture: how Heineken is a mass-produced international conglomerate product and shouldn't be supported, and how there are so many interesting locally made craft brews to choose from.

You may be thinking, "Blake Gray is Dick." Wouldn't be the first time. But no, I'm not a beer drinker. However, I totally understand Dick's position, and I have done nearly the same thing when offered uninteresting corporate wine in people's homes. I try to avoid being pedantic, the word my friend used to describe Dick.

To the non-oenophile, though, our love of wine is pretty much the same as pedantry. Same thing for beer enthusiasts.

I have a lot of experience being a snob, and I believe I have gotten reasonably good at, to quote my favorite line from the TV show "Justified," "putting the anus on myself." (It really is a better word than "onus" in this usage.) And I am content to drink water in situations where others have alcohol. But it's still not comfortable for either party, especially if somebody went out and bought something for me that they wouldn't ordinarily consume.

For my friend, what a nightmare! He said, "Dick was a guest in my home. He could have said thank you." Plus now he's stuck with a 6-pack of corporate horse piss. Wine and beer lovers, we're so damn picky. What if my friend goes out and buys a very highly rated wine that the store recommends as a crowd pleaser to serve to somebody like me?

Because my audience is wine lovers, there's not much point in me telling non-oenophile readers how to buy wine for wine snobs, but I will anyway: find the snobbiest wine shop in your town -- not Safeway or Trader Joe's, sorry -- and go tell the most judgmental hipster clerk that some really stuck-up wine snob is coming to your house and you want something he can't bitch about. Or, even better, tell your guests it's BYOB.

But for the oenophile guest, this is going to happen to me again, possibly in the very near future, so I'll take your advice. How do you react when somebody buys a dinner-party wine that you don't want to drink?

Follow me on Twitter: @wblakegray and like The Gray Report on Facebook.


Rob said...

I think people need to get over themselves. If you go to a party, where someone went through the trouble of buying a "nice" beer for you (from their perspective), you either take one for the team or mention that you're the DD and shouldn't be drinking (and then BE the DD).

IF the host asks what beer would be better in this situation, or if the conversation turns to beer choice, then inform them of good local choices without all the beer snob cockery that goes on. People understand passion and knowledge of a subject but loathe arrogance and snobbery. Educate if they are willing, but FFS don't preach.

Andy said...

If you are a snob as I am (specifically, I am a particularly vociferous wine and beer snob...its really bad..... I recognize I have a problem but at least its a problem that tastes good...) then always bring your own wine or beer....some as a host present and some for everyone to try (use the excuse...."this is something interesting" or whatever). Hell, I admit everyone knows why I am doing it but its better than drinking Pabst or Sterling chardonnay.

Anonymous said...

I think it depends on how well you know the hosts. If you don't know them well then you probably have to sip politely. If you know them well, pre-empt it by offering to bring wine for the dinner. I have brought wine samples that I've received and said that I needed to try them and also wanted other people's opinion. That always goes over well.

Michele L. said...

I'd say suck it up and be thankful your friends care enough to think of you. Recently I was served a glass of cold white which was marginal at best, but the company was great and the wine went down just fine. Unless it's totally spit out gross, just deal with it. Make them happy and see how much better that makes the wine taste.