TWIB: Slamming Hops and Red Bullies

Well hello, there! I haven’t done a TWIB for a while. Today it felt right to talk about a couple hot topics, which is exactly what TWIBs are for. TWIB, in case you’ve forgotten, stands for This Week in Beer. It’s my play on words from This Week in Baseball. There are two topics I want to focus on this week – Bell’s Hopslam release and Old Ox’s legal battle against Red Bull.

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A Little Craft Beer Depression

I’m not a sad person. I’m oddly optimistic about many things. At least I think so. That’s why I was shocked that in the midst of yet another incredible craft beer-centric night that I was feeling down. Like high school emo and for no reason whatsoever all I want to do is listen to Dashboard down.

Last weekend I took a yearly roadtrip with some friends up to Rehoboth Beach. We had lunch at Franklins Brewery in Hyattsville, hit up 16 Mile in God knows where Delaware then made our way to Rehoboth for a bottleshare and dinner at Dogfish Head.

Maybe an hour into our night at Dogfish I turned to Doug and stated something to the effect of, “Man, is this it? Is this what this whole beer blogging thing is? Have we reached the top?” I clarified that I know there are many, many, many, many more levels of “beer greatness” (ex: just chilling with Garrett Oliver, brewing with monks) out there but at that moment have I reached the attainable top?

I’m not complaining, not in the slightest. It was one of the best nights/weekends I’ve had in a long time. I am fortunate to live a comfortable life full of best night-worthy events but this one was special. After thinking about it though, I was pretty down. A World Wide Stout and countless random 2oz pours of barleywines helped move my sorrows along quickly yet over a week later it still lingers in the back of my mind.

For what it’s worth at the moment I’m on my third 10%+ porter of the night and my beer-writing muscle has atrophied a bit so I have no idea if this makes any sense to anyone but me and maybe Doug.

For the effort I put into beer and beer blogging and learning about beer, I don’t think my “beer life” could get any better. Seriously. I love the friends I’ve made. I enjoy writing a post here every few weeks. I love the respect for beer that I have. I don’t want to take beer more seriously in terms of a profession for the foreseeable future. What the heck else can I ask for? It’s like things are so good that it’s sad the journey is over and you know there is more to the journey but you don’t have the willpower/time/want at this moment to take the next step down the path.

Maybe it’s a bit of craft beer depression. I don’t know. I don’t know what my next step will be. And I think that’s okay. I’ll just take it glass by glass, bottle by bottle, step by step.

***UPDATE 01.28.15!!***

I think I found the next step of my journey which will hopefully break me out of my little funk. I’m going to start working on a second season of Conversations with Beer Bloggers.

More on that in the coming weeks. Woo!! Let me know who you want to see on Season 2!

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Some Dreams Shouldn’t Come True

New Belgium 2 Below

New Belgium 2 Below

In January 2010 I was somewhere outside of Aspen, Colorado with my ex-Navy videographer coworker. We had been wondering around Aspen for three days waiting for it to snow so we can grab some snow footage for a video we were putting together. The radar was clear with no precipitation in sight and I was able to convince him that we should go out for a drink that night.

I was only 8 months removed from slamming down Natties in college and was just beginning to come around to craft beer. My eyes were beginning to open after a recent trip to Wilmington, North Carolina where I was exposed to “local beer” for the first time. Well, at this point in my life traveling to Aspen was about 5x further than anywhere I’ve ever been before and figured why not see if this place has something local.

The bar was decently packed for a weeknight. It was dimly lit and there was a bluegrass band jamming away at the rear wall. The Denver Nuggets game was on a few of the TVs. It was a close game from what I remember. I asked the bartender for something I couldn’t get at home and he poured me a New Belgium 2° Below. He told me I’d enjoy it.

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The Greatest Menorah Story Ever Told (and my small role in it)

My Menorah - Mazel

My Menorah – Mazel

As you light your menorah for the final nights of this year’s Festival of Lights, I want you to think of Rudy and his moose menorah. Even if you don’t spin the dreidel, this story is for you if you believe in determination, perseverance, never giving up and the creation of an heirloom that’ll be passed down for generations.

I’ve never met Rudy. He’s some guy on the Internet. A college kid (I think) in Pennsylvania (I think). You’re going to hear his story in a minute but first you need to understand what a small world it is and how this almost didn’t happen, my role at least.

When Rudy reached out to me I probably would have told the kid “no thanks” and nothing more. However I happened to glance through some of his recent tweets and recognized a handle of a guy who is a loyal reader of my other site. Apparently they are good friends. This other guy had no idea that Rudy was reaching out to me and Rudy had no idea I knew his friend. Small freaking world. I told Rudy I’d help him however I could instead of the “no thanks” he would have otherwise gotten since I saw that they’re friends.

If it wasn’t for seeing that he’s buddies with one of my readers than maybe this whole story for Rudy could have turned out differently.

I turn it over to Rudy:

My friends – As we head out to celebrate the holidays with family and friends I want to remind you that anything is possible. I’m shocked and honored every time someone reads this blog. You are a constant reminder to me that anything is possible. Thank you for that. I hope you have Happy Holidays, lots of laughs and more than your fair share of good beer.

Cheers.

Beer blogging has ______ my relationship with beer.

Beer blogging has __________ my relationship with beer. I sit here thinking about this prompt that me and some fellow Mid-Atlantic Beer Bloggers are supposed to write about and have no clue where to go with it. Can you humor me and let me work this out as I just type my thoughts?

Beer blogging has ignited my relationship with beer. This is 100% true. Before blogging I wasn’t as interested in brewing techniques and ingredients of certain styles. I’ve become a Certified Beer Server and started studying for BJCP. I care about who brews my beer and strive to meet the folks who do.

Beer blogging has enhanced my relationship with beer. For a long time I didn’t feel like a part of the craft beer community. I’m still an outsider in the industry but nearly two years into writing my thoughts on the subject and making some dear friends along the way I feel like I’m finally a member of the larger community. The relationships I’ve built through beer are priceless that could only have been created through beer blogging. Beer, through these individuals, has been enhanced.

Beer blogging has jaded my relationship with beer. Yep. I get pissed sometimes when I see people drinking Pliny like I drink Bell’s Two-Hearted (even though they are viewed roughly the same on each coast from what I hear). I get upset when I’m out and want to pair my dinner and my only “craft” option is Sam’s Seasonal. I get angry when the manager’s “special draft” is like Shiner Bock. Without blogging I wouldn’t know about Pliny, I’d be happy to pair any fish with Sam’s Summer Ale and gladly pay $6.59 for that Shiner Bock.

Beer blogging has pledged my relationship with beer. Not sure if that makes grammatical sense but let’s run with it. Beer blogging has made me make a pledge to beer. I pledge to respect it (think about who brewed it, don’t drink and drive, that sort of stuff). I pledge to improve it (channel my inner Hipster Brewfus and call out things that aren’t up to the quality they should be). I pledge to help grow it (help out my local craft beer community and the larger craft beer industry as an ambassador).

Out of the examples above if I’m to choose the most dramatic/important one in my life it has to be enhanced because of the relationships I’ve made. In the post-college world it is extremely difficult to make friends outside of your existing social and work circles. Beer blogging has made that possible and in turn made my relationship with beer more enhanced because these like-minded people teach me about beer and push me to be a better blogger/community member/person/etc.

So bloggers I ask you, beer blogging has done what to your relationship with beer? If you’re not a blogger or a new blogger, what do you think beer blogging would do to your relationship with beer?

This post is part of multiple essays from Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers focusing on how we feel blogging has impacted our relationship with beer. Make sure to check out these posts, too:

Douglas Smiley of Baltimore Bistros and Beer

Bryan Roth of This Is Why I’m Drunk

Jake Scholan of Hipster Brewfus

Oliver Gray of Literature and Libation

Liz Murphy of Naptown Pint