Why It’s Okay to Be a Beer Snob

Illustration by Mikey Burton.

Josh Fernands, beverage director at Pizzeria Paradiso (as told to Anna Spiegel):

There’s a time and place for beer snobbery. A barbecue might not be the time to discuss German esters. But when I’m at home, I’ll wind down my afternoon with a beer. I pour it into a glass that lends itself to the aromatics, let it come to a good temperature, and enjoy all the love and heart that went into that product.

I think theres more disdain toward beer snobbery than wine snobbery because beer is the layman’s beverage of choice—Joe Six-Pack—and wine has been a high-social-class beverage for a long time. So to put beer on a pedestal is sometimes looked down upon. Being a sommelier has been legit for a long time, and ten years ago there wasn’t that equivalent for the beer industry. But it’s coming around. So yes, I’d categorize myself as a beer snob. It’s realizing there are far better things out there to drink and having the experience to discern “this is a well-brewed beer” and “this isn’t a well-brewed beer.” And if push comes to shove, I would drink a Corona. I went to Puerto Rico, and we were walking all day long and it was Corona or nothing. It wasn’t that bad.”

This article appears in our August 2016 issue of Washingtonian.