It’s International IPA Day! Time to celebrate?

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August 2nd, 2012 is the 2nd Annual International IPA Day

It’s International IPA Day and I’m conflicted.  While I enjoy IPA’s and I love craft beer events, I can’t help but think these made-up beer holidays may have unintended negative consequences for the craft beer scene in general.  I’m going to keep this short and sweet, but I hope to get a quick point across and maybe inspire you to think about whether you should blindly follow the latest hash tag hoppy holiday.

First off, I want to be absolutely clear- I am not even suggesting for a second that you should avoid supporting local taprooms and breweries that are doing something special for the day.  I think we should take every opportunity to show those hubs of our community how much we appreciate them with our patronage.  I’m also not trying to be the curmudgeon in the corner raining on anyone’s parade.  I encourage you to head to your favorite spot and have fun if a certain IPA is in your plans.

Here’s the problem I see: in my opinion, the strongest tenant of craft beer is the ability for each of us as individuals to like what we like and to drink what we want to drink.  It’s the right to be ourselves that makes our scene strong, and it’s the differences in preference that both define and unite us.

I’m fearful that beer-style-specific holidays like IPA Day and International Stout Day have the potential to cross the line and attack that fundamental right.  If someone doesn’t like IPA’s, why should they feel alienated?  Likewise, if someone likes IPA’s but a nice Belgian, Sour or Bourbon Barrel Stout they’ve been dying to try is also on tap, why shouldn’t they be encouraged to try what excites and appeals to them as an individual and not what some made-up holiday tells them to drink?  Isn’t telling people what to drink the very offense that drove most of us away from the Budweiser, Miller and Coors culture in the first place?

Furthermore, why can’t Stout day and IPA day be every day? What happens tomorrow?  Do we drainpour the dankness? Abandon the ABV? Or do we leave no IBU behind?  I’m confused myself, so I can’t help but wonder what people new to this growing scene think.  The commodity of these events has mass marketing appeal, but also feels fake and forced.  Without an emphasis on continued growth and real culture, we may head down a road we can’t ever return from.

Maybe I’m overanalyzing it.  I am planning to head to a great event tonight at my favorite place in the world, my local taproom.  When I get there, I’m looking forward to trying some new-to-me beers and some old favorites, but, more than that, I’m looking forward to seeing friends.  If the hoppy offerings sound appealing, I’ll probably quaff a sample or even a pint or two.  But I’ll also try my best to make others feel welcome, to discuss the latest trends or exciting events, and to focus on and contribute to *beer culture*, not just IPA culture.

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Join the Discussion

  • Johnny P

    I have $1.09  that says you have an “IPA DAY”  badge on untappd  this time tomorrow!     I got a Maine Brewing Co.  “Lunch”  in a box just yesterday,  so it’s not getting any fresher,  so my decision is easy,  but I agree that people should just drink what they like, support the guys making these great beers,  and go out with friends  (which is also why I’ll probably find myself in a craft-devoid chain-of-unpleasantness tonight)

  • Bobby

    No doubt I’ll get my badge.  I’m lucky that there are several great IPA’s on tap at my local tonight, a few of which I’ve never had, and I can’t wait to hang with friends old and new! But just yesterday the same place had my favorite beer in the world, Victory Braumeister Pils, on tap and I wouldn’t touch an IPA if that was still on today. Cheers!

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