Beer Hunting: A Drinking Dictionary

So you can have the best bar interactions possible, we’ve put together a glossary.

Illustration by Albert Robida

Illustration by Albert Robida

Bars are tricky places. In some ways, they’re the most blessed spots on earth: houses of socializing and booze, late-night reprieves from the rest of the world. In other ways, though, they’re living organisms, and one wrong move could mark you for life as someone not allowed inside. So that you, dear reader, can have the best bar interactions possible, we’ve put together a vocab list to study.

Hoppy The taste in beer that makes it an IPA or not. Also the thing snobby people refer to about beer, and what people who hardly ever drink beer say they don’t like. It’s also the one thing in beer that can make your skin feel like a soaked sponge.

Malty That syrupy, sweet flavor in beer drunk by amateurs.

Full-bodied The thing you say about wine or beer when you don’t know what you’re talking about and then you learn what you’re talking about and you still use the term, only correctly this time.

Pint The size of glass most beers are served in, and also the thing you dropped and smashed when you were trying to text your Uber driver.

Schooner A 10-ounce glass (basically half a pint), and also the word you’ll most likely forget after reading this column.

86’d A term whose origins no one is sure of that means either a) the bar is out of a particular thing or b) you’ve been kicked out of the bar. Don’t get 86’d.

Microbrew The type of beer you do not use for beer pong unless you make more money than your bartender.

Suds The name your weird uncle calls beer that kind of makes you feel sick.

Dive bar The kind of bar you actually really like going to unless you’re trying to impress a date and have sex.

Cider Gluten-free beer made from apples.

Perry Gluten-free beer made from pears.

Pickup line The thing you should never say because it never works and there’s no such thing unless you live around dummies.

Tip The amount of money you give a bartender after a transaction, which should be more than you initially think to give because a) most bartenders are relatively poor and deserve dough, and b) if you tip a lot you’ll be remembered c) if you tip too little you’ll be remembered d) how do you want to be remembered?

Patron Someone who loves the bar they go to, not just someone who is there a lot. If you’re unclear on the distinction, you’ve never loved before.

Bathroom floor One of many things you should not pee on.

Barstool The thing you’re lucky to get and have probably fallen off of.

Tallboy I don’t know, seems like a dumb thing to call a can of beer, but whatever.

Mixed drink Something that takes a long time to make, so tip well.

With a twist Don’t bother.

Smoking island That weird phallic-looking thing outside bars that gets clogged with cigarette butts and is probably on fire now and no human should have to clean, but life is hard, so be cognizant of this when you put out your cigarette in one of these mostly useless things.

Bar napkin Where much great poetry started.

The bar Don’t touch anything behind it.

Music The thing in a bar you don’t ask the bartender about because it’s the one thing keeping him or her together, and who cares if it’s too loud or too quiet, just enjoy your drink and tip well.

Tinder date The thing that happens in bars maybe more than anything else and is always so awkward because most humans have no idea how to talk.

Ladies’ night Avoid any place that does this.

“Do you have any late-night food?” The thing you say to tell the bartender you’re super-drunk.

“Is there table service?” The thing you say to tell the bartender you’re high-maintenance and probably really annoying and probably a bad tipper.

Fireball whiskey Go home.

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