Why You'd Never Catch Anthony Bourdain With A Craft Beer

There are beer drinkers and there are craft beer drinkers — and never the twain shall meet. Okay, that may be an overstatement, but there is, at least, a nuanced difference. Anthony Bourdain was a beer drinker, pure and simple. The late chef, author, and television host was never one to mince words when it came to sharing his opinion; as far as he was concerned, beer was, is, and forever should be a simple drink for common people. Treating beer like a sacred beverage, discussing nuances and tasting notes, was, for Bourdain, a bunch of hogwash. His disdain was so pronounced that he once compared craft beer aficionados to the zombies in the classic 1978 sci-fi flick "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." 

What prompted such biting commentary? In 2016, Bourdain told Thrillist about one pivotal experience that helped shape his opinion. He was in San Francisco looking to quench his thirst with a quick beer at a hole-in-the-wall bar. He popped into a place that looked good from the street, but he was stunned when he discovered what was going on inside. "I looked around. The entire place was filled with people sitting there with five small glasses in front of them, filled with different beers, taking notes," he said. "This is not what a bar is about."

Beer is meant to be enjoyed, not discussed

In 2016, Anthony Bourdain also told Thrillist that his disdain for craft beer was one of the most common complaints he heard from his otherwise loyal fans. "People get all bent about it," Bourdain said. "But look, I like cold beer. And I like to have a good time. I don't like to talk about beer, honestly."

And therein lies the rub. It's not that Bourdain didn't appreciate a good craft beer; he just didn't buy into all the hoopla that comes along with the craft beer scene. "If you bring me a really good one, a good craft beer, I will enjoy it, and say so," he told Thrillist. "But I'm not gonna analyze it."

That's a sentiment Bourdain carried right through to his television shows. As the host of such memorable series as "Parts Unknown" and "No Reservations," he consciously steered clear of covering craft breweries and independent wineries. The reason? In his opinion, they make for boring television. "No matter how good it is, this might be one of only five remaining bottles left on Earth, Napoleon may have put it in the bottle, but visually, it's red stuff going into a glass ... There's nothing to differentiate it from a big box of Gallo Burgundy," he told the Independent.