The Slang of Suds: Know Your Beer!

Brew Pub

The most obvious benefit to the boom in beer making has been the growth of brew pubs. These are
that serve their beer on the premises where it’s produced, so beer fans get to drink fresh, local, interesting beers in their own neighborhoods.

Contract Brewing

Sometimes a
can’t keep up with demand, or it wants to expand its operation but doesn’t have the space. Taking its recipe to another brewer, and allowing the larger brewer to produce product under the smaller brewer’s name is known as contract brewing. It used to be a dirty secret, but now it’s an accepted path to survival and growth. Some larger facilities even act as incubators for start-up breweries.


When beer experts and guides adopted the word
, it didn’t fly with the wine industry. So, beer crafters adopted another word with a rich history, cicerone, which come from a 17th century Italian word for an
scholar. The term is named after Cicero, the Roman statesman and orator. If the beer world was looking for a term as classy as sommelier, we think they found it.

Beer Geek

Your local brewpub is probably home to a handful of passionate beer geeks, who might not only delight in what is being brewed on the premises, but know a great deal about the process. These folks have no trouble standing in line when limited release packs are available to take home, and might even dabble in a little questionable behavior, which we’re about to go into next. (Boy scouts may want to click elsewhere.)

Beer Black Market

It exists! Small, craft breweries are limited in space, and therefore produce less. When a small batch of Sweet Nuthin’ Cherry-Mesquite-Pecan Ale (we made that up, but it probably exists) becomes a sought-after commodity, a
black market
develops. There are intricate networks of beer geeks who work together, skirting shipping laws and purchase maximums in order to get their hands on specialty beers.

Beer Muling

As it implies, beer muling is the act of collecting, moving and/or storing bottles of limited batch brews. There are elite clubs and networks that enable the process, which can be complicated when thousands of miles might separate the geek from the brewery.

Trading Forums

On beer-specific web sites and blogs, and on rabbit holes like Reddit, beer geeks find trading forums, where they can trade that four-pack of rare
for something they haven’t yet tasted.

Beer Runners

Not a way of secretly moving precious suds, but rather, athletic runners who typically belong to running clubs that follow a good workout with some premium brew, combining two passions into one event. Beer runners happily point to reportedly legit studies that claim post-run beer—in moderation—is as effective as water in rehydration.

Bottle Share

A bottle share is a gathering of beer geeks who may barely know each other’s names, but that’s ok, because all they’re really interested in is getting a sip of some rare brew in exchange for sampling the bottle they brought. A bottle share is actually a smart way to taste a wide range of interesting beers without spending a lot of money.


refers to a beer that is crafted to reflect some of the rich qualities of wine. Apparently, there are barrel-aged, complex beers that are upwards of $200 a bottle and that compare to port.


Ester is a flavor compound created in
, and it’s responsible for the fruity flavor that is found in a number of microbrews. From apricot to cherry to bananas, beer geeks are expanding the flavor profiles of beer into unusual places, and fruity (or fruity-sour) beers are extremely popular.


Without this ... thing, beer wouldn’t exist!
is the applied science of fermentation’s biochemical process. It applies largely to wine, beer, cider and fermented foods. "Zymology" is another way of saying it. (“Delicious” might be another.)

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