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

Adventure Awaits

Down 14th Street in DC there are still Washington Nationals “Welcome to October” banners hanging from lampposts. They remind me of heartbreak each morning and afternoon when I see them. Each one has a different player on it. This afternoon a woman looking for Bryce Harper stopped me. Her 11-year-old son, Big G, is writing a paper on him for school. He is apparently a superstar little leaguer in Fredericksburg, VA. If somehow by the grace of the internet gods Big G ever sees this post I want him to know that he has a good mom. She saw the banners and wanted to get a picture of Bryce for his assignment. We walked nearly two blocks passing Ian Desmond, Denard Span (my personal favorite), Jason Werth, Wilson Ramos, Adam LaRoche and finally Bryce Harper. She thanked me and I continued my walk to the bus. This whole time I kept thinking of my long forgotten Beer Missions and my upcoming trip to Japan.

I leave for Japan in what feels like no time. Between going to a baseball game (which it so happens Bryce Harper was supposed to play in), Mt. Fuji, eating as much sushi as I am able to and a ton of other activities I plan on hitting up some local craft breweries and bottle shops. Here’s a premature shout out to Diana who sent me some recommendations.

I have never been out of the country. I’ve spent 27+ wonderful years within the borders of the US of A. I’ve never had a beer outside of America. I’ve never had an American beer in another country. I’ve never had a beer brewed in another country other than the USA in that country. I feel like I should get some sort of Life Achievement Badge once I touchdown in Japan (I guess that’s what my passport is for). I have no clue what to expect. But I hope I take some lessons learned from Beer Missions and explore.

Beer, among its endless list of qualities, creates bonds between people. It extends beyond the bounds of language, borders and culture. I have no idea what to expect, but it should amount to a good time and new memories.

I’ll be back in a couple weeks with a new post about my Japan journeys. Until then, I hope you break out of your comfort zone and make some new memories along with me. Cheers, y’all!

P.S. If I’m somehow able to get to WiFi and check in a beer from Japan, I expect you to toast me or we’re no longer friends. Got it?

One Word of Advice to Craft Beer Newbies

Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder — learn what this is newbie

Brew fests. Bottle shares. Neckbeards. Pliny the Elder. Wax seals. Hipsters eating pickles and Srircha. Tulip glasses. Sam Calagione. Cicerones. The thing about craft beer is that it can be so many different things to so many different people. And there’s plenty of room left for everyone to grab their own plot of land in this wonderful time of craft beer’s own Manifest Destiny. Craft beer is a journey.

You have a choice. You can make craft beer into anything you want it to be. Some want to homebrew. Others want to host events. And some just want to be able to recommend a beer for their friends when they go out. But, for me at least, you don’t know what you want out of your journey until it’s already happened.

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The Biggest Problem with Loving Beer

A couple weeks ago you guys helped me work through a problem I was having – picking a favorite beer. A friend of this site, Tom, wrote in the comments of the post that he hadn’t had one of his favorites in months because he’d rather experiment with new beers. After some thought I realized I hadn’t had many of my favorite beers in a long time as well. Why? I was too busy mixed up in the biggest problem with loving beer.

I’ll take one of everything, please.

I think we all have this deep, dark secret inside us that we want to try every beer ever made. We want to reach the end of Untappd and get some magical badge glorifying our great beer conquest. And we try, whether it’s a conscious decision or not. I do at least.

Long wall of taps

I’ll take one of everything.

Last week when I was in Chicago I found this place with 114 beers on tap. I had had about 50 of them before and the thought crossed my mind of attempting to try the remaining 64. I ended up sampling 14 over three different trips in 24 hours (don’t worry, they were all 4oz pours!). Back when I turned 21 my buddy and I tried to drink all 30 taps at a local establishment over three days. We did it. My liver didn’t appreciate it. This was pre-Untappd too and I’m sure the only badge I would have earned was a “You’re a Lush” badge. I probably hit Level III that weekend.

There are only so many beers you can consume in a day, week, month, lifetime. Let me tell you a cold, hard truth: Continue reading

What’s your favorite beer?

The other day I was asked a puzzling question, “what’s your favorite beer?” Being a “beer guy” who has tried hundreds if not thousands of beers, this should be an easy answer. But it wasn’t and I sounded like a d-bag with my response. I want to figure out with you the best way to answer this question so you don’t sound like one too.

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