The bearded beer connoisseur: What your IBU tolerance says about you | Gourmand and Gourmet

The bearded beer connoisseur: What your IBU tolerance says about you

Everyone has met this person. He’s slightly overweight, has a beard that can range from “I haven’t shaved in a month” to the Abraham Lincoln and mans a craft beer bar with a surly attitude and a pretentious panache that you could spot from outside, in a taxi, while maintaining eye contact with your driver to pay your fare. This bartender has an unhealthy obsession with IBU (International Bittering Units), the standard IPA possesses 45 units, but his interest exists somewhere at the three figure mark, and may even reach the level of “I have no idea what I just tasted, but it must’ve been great.” This isn’t the standard and sometimes it can be hard to tell what your IBU tolerance means in relation to you. In this article we will outline the IBU scale to profile the various types of beer connoisseurs and how you can spot them. 0-20 International Bittering Units This covers your standard beer drinker. He has probably dabbled in craft beers, doesn’t mind a few, but is most at home with Tooheys New or even XXXX Gold when the mood suits him. Far from calling himself a beer connoisseur, this beer drinker is quite standard, probably quite well balanced, and indiscriminately enjoys his alcohol of choice. The chance of a beard here is slim, but can still happen. 20-40 International Bittering Units This chap is on your lower end of the scale, but is still not to be trifled with. While he hasn’t yet sworn some kind of allegiance to the most glorious IPA, he enjoys a lager and will usually be helpful when quizzed about a beer, restricting his condescending eye rolls to a minimum. He may deliver lofty orations on his current favourite beer, but will most likely be grounded in reality. If he is a bartender, this chap is still aware he is a bartender, not the keeper of the elixir of life. 40-60 International Bittering Units The kind of chap you’re dealing with at this level starts to get a little dangerous. Far from your 30’s and lower, you’re bound to get eye rolling between him and his fellow connoisseurs when you enquire about a beer or misread the tap. This lad most surely has some kind of superhero tattoo and will tell anyone who will listen that he started reading the comics well before anyone made blockbusters out of them. Apart from making snide remarks about it, this chap will selectively eschew popular culture in an attempt to seem intelligent and considered – which gives credence to his tap knowledge. 60-80 International Bittering Units The beard gets fairly real at this point. It’s either an homage to Leonidas or what this chap can only describe as one of his many “manly” attributes. This chap, in fact, will label many things in his life or general activities as manly, because anything that was simply him going about his normal activities, living his standard life would be an insult to the exceptional nature of his beard, and by extension his existence. This fellow most definitely has a dog named ‘Stirling Archer’ or another name from one of his favourite cartoons that lives on his social media. You will probably notice the visible tattoos on his hands or arms, which will all seem to be homemade or nonsensical symbols. Beard will respond, nonchalantly, that he can’t remember why he got it, but that he doesn’t really care, his offhanded replies will seem forced, but don’t be fooled, he totally may not even care – which is sick. 80-100 International Bittering Units This is where you enter the “Danger Zone,” a joke that would be music to his ears if you didn’t look like a fumbling child trying to scrape your pocket money together only to waste it on beers he would take off the craft list if he could. This person doesn’t use Spotify as the music he listens to is even too edgy for Bandcamp. He will stare you down, Stone and Wood in your hand, making obvious sighs and carefully protecting the rim of his glass, less some of your inferior alcohol make its way into the ambrosia in his chalice. This chap will deliver Hamlet-like soliloquys about his current favourite craft as he stares into the nether, recalling its wonder with a passion greater than love, if only the word existed, he laments to his beard. You can easily spot him because he will tell anyone who will listen that he is an alcoholic, looks like he’s never enjoyed a moment in his life and will be in possession of a beard that breaks most venue capacity laws. There you have it. A simple scale to know what your IBU tolerance says about you. This scale can be applied to bartenders, beer connoisseurs, or just general people with an unfounded sense of superiority. Happy hunting. Words by Jacob Withers