This is a good start.

Last night as my fantasy baseball team’s championship dream crumbled on the TV in front of me there was a glass of beer next to me. It’s the first weeknight, sit-and-chill-and-watch-baseball, casual beer I’ve had in months. And it felt…missed.

As I sat there refreshing my Yahoo fantasy sports app I realized just how much I’ve missed beer and writing. I’ve come to realize the two do not have to go hand in hand. In fact, the only correlation between beer and writing for me at the present moment is that beer reminds me of writing and I have this website I used to write about beer on growing digital cobwebs. It felt like it was a good as time as ever to grab the laptop and start punching away at the keys.

And before I knew it I had hit the light and passed the heck out. Whoops. That single Starr Hill Oktoberfest Lager did me in. Thankfully the urge still presented itself to me today. So 19 hours later I’m awake and punching keys and will soon hit publish.

Back in August I retired shortonbeer.com. It was a nearly two year long project where I wrote and published something just about everyday. Man it was grueling. Man I was over it by the end. But man do I miss having a place to go and just write.

Will this become that again? Maybe. We’ll see. This is a good start. I have a super secret project I’m working on that I’m not quite ready to share with the world. I’m still feeling it out and seeing if there are any legs to it or if it’s even possible. If so though I’ll be documenting it somehow, somewhere in some way.

It’s good to be back behind the keys. Thanks for reading. If it’s been awhile since you’ve read anything by me, welcome back! If you’re new around here, welcome!

– Josh

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Jumpstart, Beer

Starr Hill Warm Up Winter Ale

Starr Hill Warm Up Winter Ale

Sometimes when it’s late on a Friday or Saturday night and the wife is asleep and Twitter is dull I find myself pondering beer like the good old days of my blogging origins. Each time I get a couple hundred words in and realize I haven’t said anything. This post is worthless. And I don’t even bother to save the Word Doc.

Tonight will in all likelihood be no different. Or will it?

A rerun of Elementary is playing on the iPad next to me on my desk as the clock on my iMac ticks over to read 12:27 AM. Earlier tonight I drank a Winter Ale called Warm Up by Starr Hill. The kind people at Starr Hill gave it to me along with another beer – a chocolate stout that I haven’t drank yet. Whenever I get these beers I feel obliged to think critically about them, like I used to do all the time when blogging about beer was a regular thing for me. I get excited about beer for a few minutes then, like starting up a car with a dying battery, you believe it’s going to work. It feels right; it makes the right sounds. You know though that the battery is dead. And as you keep trying to turn your key in the starter the noise slowly gets duller and duller with each attempt.

I often long for the night I sit here contemplating beer that instead of trying to start up a car with a dead battery that someone brought jumper cables to my rescue. Then I can drive my fictional beer blogging car over to Costco and get a new car battery after waiting in line for 25 minutes since no one ever mans the station at the auto/tire shop. Will it ever happen though? Who knows?

Maybe I don’t need jumper cables. That type of re-ignition might be too much to handle diving back into a topic I feel so lost in now.

– Josh

Morphing

Morphing

Before we get started – huge shout out to my buddy Bryan who published a post earlier this week about the costs and insight into barrel-aged beers. This is a fantastic read. If you are to read my post or his, read his. In fact if you haven’t read it yet go read his right now and come back to mine.

Here we go. Ugh. I hate this type of post. But it’s necessary. I don’t nearly hate this type of post as much as the posts where someone says, “my site has ran it’s course and it’s over, I’m leaving you and all the time you invested in me was for nothing.” Those are the worst. This is not that type of post.

This type of post is the one where someone says, “my blog is morphing into…yada yada yada.” That’s kind of what this post is. Kind of.

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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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