If you were to peruse my socials, you would see that I have a deep love of India Pale Ales. I’ve lost count of the number of tasty hop-laden creations that I have been fortunate enough to try, and to subsequently post to Instagram. I follow breweries, pubs, craft beer companies and fellow craft beer aficionados. Whilst scrolling, if I discover that there’s a new IPA has recently been born into the world, I try my best to get it into my hot little hands, followed by my thirsty open mouth, as soon as I can. I’ll share my take on it with other beer lovers online. It’s fun to be part of the virtual beer swilling community.
The other night, however, preparing to upload a photo of a can of Hop Nation’s The Dawn Double NEIPA to Instagram, I was trying to make its condensation look extra condensation-ey for my millions of followers, most of whom are bots. One of the comments once posted was something along the lines of, “Oh Celia, you are always drinking tasty IPAs, I wish I was you. PS: Your cat is really handsome!” This comment got me thinking.
We are often reminded that much of what we see on the social media accounts of others is a carefully curated version of that person’s life. And I confess, dear reader, that my beer swilling Instagram is no different – the swilling looks much better on the Internet than it often does In Real Life (Or IRL as the youth would say).
At a glance, it may appear that I am #blessed to be constantly drinking the latest IPAs or checking out the newest craft beer establishments in my fine city. But, just like those Insta-famous models that actually do have millions of followers, you’re only seeing the perfectly crafted version of my craft beer life. I’m not always drinking tasty IPAs. (My cat is really handsome, however).
Dear reader, I do try to be as authentic as I can be with my IPA uploads. When I drink one that I enjoy, I want others to know about it too, so I’ll share it on Instagram. And I never use a black & white filter to mask the colourful creations on can or bottle labels either: I’m no monster.
But whilst most photos I upload are of IPAs that I have actually tasted and enjoyed IRL, I confess I have also consumed IPAs, IRL, that have been unpleasant (shocking, I know). I have also imbibed other styles of beers other than IPAs (even more shocking, I’m so sorry). Not wanting to dilute my online IPA love, I haven’t posted a photo of them.
Indeed, there are parts of my beer-life that I often don’t want you to see. Yet just because I don’t post them, I do want you to know that they happen. For every day that there’s an IPA uploaded on my feed, there’s another day where I’m not drinking at all, but I’ll post a brew that I drank and took a photo of…gulp…two weeks ago.
On some occasions, I may have been known to have too many IPAs in one sitting. I don’t upload a photo of the weird wrinkle I get in between my eyebrows when I’m hungover, but it definitely happens.
I also don’t upload the mediocre beer I am sometimes FORCED TO DRINK AGAINST MY WILL, like when you go to that 21st at the local footy club where the invite says “beer, wine and soft drink provided” or when a work colleague hands you a pot of the “happy hour beer” when you actually said “hoppy beer” but you don’t think they heard you over the ruckus in the pub last Friday night. I’ve really had to pep talk my taste buds into drinking these after all the fancy ones they’re used to.
Seeing as I’m coming clean on some things, I’d just like to clarify that I would never go so far as to rummage in the bin of the pub down the road to take a photo of a can, the contents of which I have never consumed. Please never think that of me. But I did once post a glass of Nomad Champers Brut IPA that I only took a couple of sips of on my feed. It was actually my husband’s IRL, but he had left it unattended while he became distracted by a LinkedIn notification on his phone. I had claimed the beverage was mine in the caption online. I feel so sick just writing that, but also so liberated.
I also fall into the trap of negatively comparing myself to other beer lovers online, mostly when nothing exciting is happening in my craft beer life. Like in the two days before payday, for example. I get jealous of other Insta-beer profiles, such as when everyone seems to be at Beervana when I’ve been at work. I’m also not a fan of when beer swillers in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying a beer garden in their Insta-stories when it’s their summer, and whilst I shiver through in winter with an over spiced mulled wine.
I feel so good now I’ve told you all this.
Tonight, I’m going to refrain from posting a photo of a can of IPA I drank a couple of weeks ago. I’m not going to compare my beer-life with others for a time. Instead, I’m going to have an IPA IRL and maybe just share with the bartender how tasty it was.