In craft beer, so many of the conversations we lead are less about the beer we’re drinking and more about how we identify with it, or the person who made it, or who owns that company and how that reflects back on our own self-image. Craft beer is a foggy mirror that way. And we get caught up in so many contradictions, hypocrisies and, in some cases, some serious self-hatred as a culture.
Basically, we’re a consumer base and an industry ripe for satire.
Today’s guest is one of the most effective in that regard, sometimes holding up that filthy mirror to the populace, other times to himself. Don’t Drink Beer is a weird website that started on the fringes and worked its way to the middle using satire and self-reflection as a way to expose some of the more insane things we do as beer makers and drinkers. The trading circuit, the line-waiting, the valuations we put on certain bottles while ignoring others, and the oft-enraging debates that start in Facebook groups and forums.
Don’t Drink Beer is a persona that often catches its intended audience off guard. And sometimes plays straight into it. And after following it for years, the pattern reveals it for what it is—the evolution of a comedian.
Alex Kidd, the guy behind the site, is a professional comedian. He studied and practices law in California, and as you can tell from some of his more elaborate beer reviews, he's also a studied writer, reader, and music history sponge. And describing him this way, so earnestly, just feels so wrong.
He was in Chicago this past week on tour with a comedy show about beer called Barley Wine is Live, for which we’ll talk about the inspiration in the interview. But we also talk about the long history of Don’t Drink Beer and its relationship with Chicago and the Midwest, as an antagonist of sorts from the West Coast. Oh, and where all this is going, if it is, indeed, going anywhere.