Chris Buckee has been doing beer commentary on Instagram for almost a year now.
A fierce supporter of Western Australian beers and the industry, he is becoming a regular feature of the community — with his beer reviews including amusing anecdotes and stories with dubious truth to them.
The photography he features in his posts are often humorous and eye-catching in their composition. He has developed a strong following on Instagram and a growing one on Facebook, who are all ready to laugh with (and at) him.
As a little boy, the first thing I remember collecting was Return of the Jedi stickers. You used to get them with dodgy pink chewing gum that tasted like sugar-flavoured chemicals.
I would rush down to my local deli with my pocket money, buy as many of those blind packs I could with my $1.50 and run back home to open them. I’d rip them open and feel the joy of getting a new one, or the despair of getting a repeat. I’d carefully stick them into my sticker book and show my politely disinterested parents.
I still feel the stinging pain that my sticker book has 4 empty spaces where I didn’t get those stickers. It’s one of my greatest shames.
In an attempt to compensate, I progressed to figurines, Smurfs from BP, Phantom comics, Marvel comics, books, CDs, wine, whiskey and now, craft beer.
Pokémon cards, the collector's delight for a younger generation, are a cynical marketer’s dream. “You gotta get them all!” is the blatant plug that omits the ‘and pay for them’ part. Then they keep inventing more… that you gotta get. Clever, right?
Every man I know has a collecting thing. There are the guys who collect rusty car bodies on the front lawn, those who collect sports paraphernalia, while some collect Grange.
Yet why is craft beer a much better collector’s choice?
Firstly, beer is a fairly universal language. Most people like beer. While clearly mainstream beer drinkers are the dominant species, they can relate to craft beer, albeit a little suspiciously. So beer makes you better able to relate to others. It’s an inclusive club with low dress standards.
Secondly, craft beer is a wide and diverse category. From the sours, saisons and fruity NEIPAs to the milkshake IPAs and dessert stouts, there is something for everyone.
Thirdly, it is a fact that craft beer is constantly reinventing itself. There are bizarre beers involving pickles and oysters, sometimes with marshmallows or even the occasional wine hybrid. There are double dry hopping, Cryo hops and brut styles. Innovation galore! That means there’s always something to learn — some new experience to keep the craft beer hobby fresh and new.
For those of you who need it, there’s the competitive element. So much potential competition! The width and breadth of your tasting experience is one area of competition. “Have you tried a beer from Uganda?” or “What is it like compared to the 1990s Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada?” If you can answer that... Well, you are going to look like one experienced and knowledgeable beer drinker.
It’s a never-ending hobby, limited only by how much your wallet lets you spend. There is always the next hype train to get on. The hard-to-get ‘whales’ are out there to harpoon. Not to mention, there’s the thrill of chasing down the limited releases. Personally, it brings out the latent hunter-gatherer instincts in me.
Ahhhh craft beer, far more satisfying than Pokémon, as you have no doubt been convinced. Cold trading cards never give you the warm feeling of love inside that a great craft beer does!
(Though that might just be the alcohol.)