Illustrations by Stephanie Rudig
Illustrations by Stephanie Rudig

Attend enough beer events in the District and you start to see a lot of the same people. Most of these familiar faces belong to men, generally between ages 25 and 40, and some of them fill recognizable archetypes. Here are the kinds of bros you see at a typical D.C. beer event so you know how best to avoid them.

The Beer-Splainer

This is the most common type of beer bro. You’ve probably encountered his type already: When you order a chocolate stout, he’s overly eager to clarify that it does not actually taste like chocolate. His favorite word is “actually,” and since most of his sentences start that way, it’s easy to walk away before the condescension begins in earnest.

The Bootlicker

He might remind you of Beer-Splainer, except you find him at larger-scale beer events like SAVOR. He is always standing at the front of a line, chatting with a brewer about their latest releases. He desperately wants to impress the brewer, who is probably bored to tears, so he will probably ignore you. The bad news is that the Bootlicker always holds up the line when you just want another damn amber.

The D.C. Beer Dad

This is the most benign bro of the bunch. He will show up at 3 Stars, DC Brau, and other breweries right when they open, with his patient wife and indifferent children. He wants to get a beer before other bros fill the space and usually sticks to low ABV options like a session IPA. The kid’s got a play date later, so a mild buzz is all he can get.

The Anti-IPA Guy

This person sneers at anyone who orders a boozy, bitter ale in earnest, as if hopheads represent the only trend in beer culture. The apotheosis of the anti-IPA trend is Slate’s article against them, and this guy will bring it up, even though it is hopelessly out of date. We’ve all moved on to sours, buddy, and 3 Stars’ Two to the Dome’s new formula isn’t all that great anyhow.

The One-Upper

We’ve saved the worst D.C. beer bro for last. He will ask something like, “What have you tried lately?” only to use your answer as a chance to discuss his latest conquest. “You made it to Alchemist? They’re pretty good, but they’ve got nothing on Russian River. I go to Philly every month to pick up a case of Pliny.” This endless dirge will continue long after your eyes roll into the back of your head.