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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TWIB: Unexpected Encounters in Line for the Men’s Room

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a feature where I’ll highlight some craft beers I had during this past week mixed with some related (and unrelated) thoughts. Yes, it’s a play on the name of the show This Week in Baseball which I grew up on and loved.

I’m ignoring the Super Bowl. My dog is named Peyton. Needless-to-say, yesterday was far from fun save the teasers for 24. Saturday on the other hand had one of the biggest, most surprising unexpected encounters of my life. Imagine the movie Crash taking place in line for a men’s room at a brewery.

Halfway to Philly

My wife and I have some friends in Philadelphia. Philly is 3-3.5 hours away from where we live so we have a hard time seeing them a lot. One of the ladies had the brilliant idea to meet halfway – Baltimore. It’s about a 2-hour drive for them and 1.5 for us. Perfect!

After making our way through some questionable downtown areas we turn up at one of our favorite spots – Woodberry Kitchen. Woodberry Kitchen is where I first heard of Union Craft Brewing last year. With a solid brunch consisting of Buttermilk Fried Pork Skirt and a Sly Fox Pale Ale in me we walked over to Union Craft Brewing which is less than a hundred yards away.

Union Craft Brewing

We get to Union Craft and it is packed. I’m able to sneak close enough to the bar to grab four beers for our group. Their Rye IPA is out-of-this-world good. Even better than their Duckpin Pale Ale.

My day would have been complete right then. I could have packed up, gone home and been content writing a post highlighting Woodberry Kitchen’s food and Union Craft’s beers. But that’s probably not why you clicked on the headline and there’s a much cooler twist fate brought to this day.

Fate

Conversations with Beer Bloggers is changing my life in ways never imaginable. I’ve only had seven published episodes and it’s already lead me to two different in-person meetups where I’ve had the time of my life (event #1, event #2).

The eighth episode of CBB has already been recorded and is waiting for me to find a free afternoon to edit. This is with Jake Scholan of Hipsterbrewfus.com. Before recording our episode I knew nothing of what Jake looked like except his Twitter icon of him drinking a beer that covers most of his face. Zero knowledge. So last week we had our interview over Google Hangouts, which I can’t wait to share with you guys, and I finally got to see and meet him. We hit it off and even talked about trying to get together for a beer at some point since he’s relatively local.

Cue fate.

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TWIB – Makeshift Irish Car Bombs and $13 Beers

Happy 1st Birthday Short On Beer

Today, January 9th, marks the first birthday of this website. It’s been a wild ride. I recapped most of it’s milestones last week here. Thank you so much for continuing to visit and share on Short On Beer. On with this week’s TWIB…

Here’s to 2014

On New Year’s Eve I hosted a few friends for dinner and drinks. I’d like to point out that originally it was supposed to be just drinks. But The V, which we booked in early December because they didn’t have a set menu, called two days before and said they decided to have a (pricey) set menu. So we cancelled the reservation and with it being this close to the NYE everything was already booked. My friends Jeff and Meredith grilled us up some filet mignon and everything turned out okay.

New Year's Eve with My Friends

New Year’s Eve with My Friends (Photo Credit: Mitch Witte)

Filet mignon seemed like a perfect pairing for Adroit Theory Lux, a bourbon barrel-aged wheat wine I’d been saving for a couple months. Here’s what I can recall since I was a few beers in at this point. Lux was boozy. In fact, that’s the majority of what I can recall about the beer. Boozy. It wasn’t particularly carbonated. It had a murky brown color and was flat out boozy. This beer wasn’t for me but feel free to try it for yourself. 9% ABVers like Lux usually aren’t. The other beer I’ve had from Adroit Theory B/A/Y/S, an Imperial Stout, was also a 9% ABVer. This was also quite hard-hitting.

I drank Lux and smiled as always. I learned that trick downing cognac after cognac with my father-in-law even though I am now a huge fan. Pledging might have been a factor in this trait as well…

I was then feeling quite good after a couple more beers including Lost Rhino HopStar, which I wasn’t a fan of either. I decided it would be a good idea to make Irish car bombs. However there was no Guinness or Baileys. I can’t tell you why but everything always seems like a good idea at 1:00am. That’s why I’m usually asleep by 10:00pm. Using a Trader Joe’s Stockyard Oatmeal Stout, some generic Irish cream liquor I had in the back of my fridge and of course Jameson I concocted this evil. Learn from my mistakes — makeshift Irish car bombs are a bad, bad idea (AMIRIGHT, LBS??). I lived with a minor headache in the morning but wasn’t feeling up to drinking again until Sunday when I met the $13 beer.

The $13 beer and Walter Mitty

Sunday I went and saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Their bar, Glass Half Full, is one of the best places, and my favorite places, to find an interesting or rare craft beer near me. Their prices fall in line for the most part with other bars/restaurants in the area. You’ll be paying $6-8 for most of their beers, which I don’t mind. That’s average to slightly above average and it’s worth it because they are good people and serve fresh beer out of beer clean and the proper glasses. However their board doesn’t list prices. This isn’t really out of the ordinary either. So when I order a beer that’s $13, maybe a little warning would be nice? What made it worse was that Mrs. Short On Beer was with me so of course I’m momentarily scolded for the purchase (-1 beer credit for frivolous spending). I’m cool with paying $13 for a beer. Just give me a heads up before pouring it.

It’s okay though. The beer was worth every penny. It was a Hugh Malone by Allagash Brewing. Hugh Malone is a Belgian-Style IPA. It had a rich, golden color with a thin bright white airy head. There was a constant strain of bubbles that floated up from the center of the glass, at least until the lights when out in the theater. Very good beer even after the buttery popcorn wrecked my taste buds.

As far as the movie went, I recommend it. There are a lot of special effects and you don’t notice any of them. Awesome VFX work and cinematography. My favorite part was the music. It has a kick-ass soundtrack including a bunch of songs by Jose Gonzalez.

New Conversations with Beer Bloggers

Have you checked out the CBB from the other day? We met Brad Westmar from the Craft Brew Crew. Brad and I talked about making YouTube videos, St. Louis beer, Trader Joe’s and more. Check it out if you haven’t already.

On Monday night I was able to record the next CBB with Doug from Baltimore Bistros and Beer. I’ll have that one up for you early next week.

One of the coolest parts about CBB is actually getting to see and hear these beer bloggers. I have no idea how guys like Nick McCormac, Tom Aguero and Doug would look or sound. It’s a blast to connect with people from all across the country (maybe the world one day) just through an Internet connection and a love of beer.

How was your week in beer? Try anything new or have an exciting story? Leave it below!

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Short On Beer 2013 Year in Review

My life has changed in ways I could never imagine this year and it’s all because of this site. If you’ll indulge me, I want to retrace my steps during 2013. Fair warning: this will be a lengthy post, at least to this blog’s standard, but I really hope you read it (it gets pretty deep near the end). I’ll drop some hints about projects for 2014 and I think my journey is something you can connect with whether you are just getting into craft beer or have a site of your own dedicated to it.

In The Beginning…

January 9th, 2013 I launched this site. I had no idea what I was doing (I still really don’t). But I dove in and in my first post wrote this:

“Here’s where I’m at:

1. My knowledge of the craft beer industry is minimal.

2. My knowledge of tasting beer is awful.

3. I’m scared to homebrew.”

This year I managed to conquer all or at least part of each of these. First, I met some amazing people in a bunch of different areas in the craft beer industry. This gave me a deeper understanding in how the three-tier system works, how a brewery works, who is drinking the beer, and much more. As far as tasting beer, I spent a whole month thinking critically about what I drank which improved my “drinking powers” (I’ll get to this in greater detail about this later). And lastly, I brewed two homebrew batches.

Beer Club

Hosting Beer Club

Hosting my first beer club at the Buffalo Wing Factory

In February I got the chance to host my first beer club. I had no idea what I was doing out there. This was the first time I was the authority figure that people were paying watch speak. Okay, I wasn’t paid and the people were paying for the beer and food but I think a little of that was to hear me talk. But from it I learned a lot about myself and public speaking. I enjoyed it and am thankful for having gone out there and done it.

Homebrew

In March I homebrewed for the first time. The homebrewing kit I had had for months was eyeing me and I finally got the nerve to just do it. So I watched the miserably produced training video and went to work. After some mishaps and a lot of swearing, a few weeks later I had my first homebrew. It was a proud moment.

April Dirty 30

I thought it’d be a good idea to try a new beer and write a post about it everyday for a month. Well it worked for 17 days (16 straight to begin the month).  At least I made it further than the other blog who I tried to partner with to do it. AD30 made me think critically about every beer I drank which was a good exercise in growing my palette. I think I’ll do it again in 2014.

New Job

The reason April Dirty 30 got sidetracked after 16 days was because I got a new job! All the excitement and preparations that went along with it made it really difficult to fulfill my nightly commitment. This was a huge change for me. I actually don’t know if I would have gotten the job or had the nerve to take it if it wasn’t for this blog pushing me out of my comfort zone.

TWIBs

TWIBs or “This Week in Beer” started in May. This was my way of summing up my thoughts on beers I had had that week along with my thoughts on the beer industry and life. I cut back on TWIBs later in the year but want to get back into them in 2014.

Talking

I spent a lot of the spring and summer talking to and meeting with beer people. I had some awesome interviews with local brewery owners who taught me so much about starting a brewery and a beer-related business. Hopefully these lessons will come in handy one day.

Conversations with Beer Bloggers

This summer I started Conversations with Beer Bloggers – an online interview with your favorite beer bloggers. This is one of my favorite things I started. Through CBB I was able to meet and ask questions to people whose opinions I greatly respect. I already have the first one of 2014 recorded and will have it out to you shortly. There will be many more of these in 2014!

Twitter Happened

With my new job came a lot of downtime at first. So I spent copious amounts of time interacting with my new online beer pals on Twitter. Probably too much time. But they kept the days moving and full of laughs. I am now absolutely slammed at work and probably will be for the rest of eternity so I may never get an opportunity like that again.

Portner Brewhouse

Pouring for Portner

Pouring for Portner

Towards the end of summer I got the chance to pour at an event for one of the brewery owners I had met earlier in the year. No big deal, right? Well probably not except that a random, and I consider high-profile, Twitter follower was there and recognized me. Pretty freaking cool.

More Beer Clubs

Oliver, me and Bryan

Oliver, me and Bryan

The summer and fall led to me hosting three more beer clubs. One of them I hosted at home and the other two at the Buffalo Wing Factory. The last beer club of 2013 was a special one. I co-hosted with the great Oliver Gray and another online beer pal, Bryan, traveled 6+ hours in order to make it. Fingers crossed that BWF will let me host more of them next year.

Can you help me host more beer clubs at BWF? Send them a message here simply saying, “I want Josh Short to host more beer clubs.”

Pliny and Heady

Pliny the Elder and Heady Topper are the #3 and #1 beers on BeerAdvocate’s Top 250 Beers. Pliny the Elder was even on My Impossible List. And I drank them both in less than 5 weeks. This time last year I don’t even think I knew what these beers were. No way would I have had the opportunity to have them if it wasn’t for everything listed above. 2014 goal — Zombie Dust and Pliny the Younger.

Cicerone Certified Beer Server

Cicerone Certification

Accreditation

Accreditation. The Cicerone Program’s thoughts on how much I know beer are meaningless to 99.9% of people. However I’m in that 0.1% (and you probably are too). So when I finally got off my ass, studied for the exam and passed with a 97%, I was ecstatic! The culmination of everything I did this year paid off. Little nuggets of information I picked up talking to beer people and interacting with like-minded individuals online came in handy. I studied. I studied pretty hard too and could have probably passed without these experiences. But it wouldn’t have been the same. It wouldn’t have been as fun and that’s what it’s all about for me. The knowledge I learned homebrewing, the details of styles I picked up during the April Dirty 30, having conversations with beer bloggers, hosting beer clubs where I’m the expert being asked all sorts of questions about beer all were wrapped up in one 60-question online exam.

2014 and Beyond

I started 2013 lost in an open field without a compass or map. I can’t go back to the start of my journey even though it would be a blast to do it all over again. I’m now on a road (the distance and size of it I’m unsure). I believe I have a compass. Do I know which way to go? Not yet. But I have a ton of projects coming up that I can’t wait to start working on that will guide me in the right direction. As promised, here are some hints regarding some of them:

  1. A recurring meet up of like-minded individuals at an establishment that serves liquid
  2. Bar/Restaurant beer education
  3. Videos. Lots of videos.
  4. Guest posts (here by others and other sites by me)
  5. SOB Podcast???

My Friends

If you have ever been to this site before, met me in person, interacted with me on Twitter or had a hand in any part of me making it this far I thank you. If this is your first time on this site, thank you too and welcome. You all keep me going on my journey. I probably would have never had the courage to do any of it if it wasn’t for your support. Thank you so, so much.

What do you think? Do you have any questions about my journey thus far or where it’s going next? Leave them below along with your own memories from this year.

As always, contact me if you ever have questions or thoughts on the site, beer or life that you want to share with me. I’d love for you to just say hi and introduce yourself. It helps me to get to know my readers better and deliver you more and better content.

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