Straddling the Line Between Novice and Expert

Glass with Short on Beer etched

Yeah that’s a glass with this blog’s name on it.

I am not a beer expert. I am not a beer novice. What am I? Hopefully I figure it out in the next 700 words (SPOILER ALERT: I don’t). I don’t even know what craft beer is. I’m straddling some imaginary line that separates these two informal and irrelevant classifications in the ever-growing world of craft beer. Besides being a Cicerone or working for a brewery, what certifications (on paper or socially) can one have that sets them apart from the average craft beer drinker? Secondly, does it really matter?

What does one do if they don’t have the time to devote to becoming a Cicerone or financial stability to switch careers to the brewery life? Start a blog of course. Does that automatically make someone a beer expert? No. A beer novice? Nope, not that either. Therefore there are no rules when it comes to blogging. We can post whenever about whatever. And the main reason to blog, at least for me, is to provide quality content that I want to write about that my readers might want to read. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not my opinion on beer matters. And if they do think that, aren’t I a beer expert then? Do I even want to be a beer expert?

A few months ago I asked some question on Twitter about the best brewery logos. Among the feedback I got a satirical response about a brewery in Kentucky I’ve never heard of that was/is involved in a trademark infringement lawsuit (exhibit A: it could be copyright infringement but does it really matter? Since I’m not a beer expert after all I don’t need to be 100% accurate). I responded with someone like, “oh that’s a cool one.” A third person chimed in saying that I had no right to call myself a beer blogger [because I didn’t get the joke]. I was pissed off for a bit. But I bit my tongue instead of getting into a Twitter war and did made the best passive-aggressive move: block the jerk and move on. I guess deep down I might still be ticked and this part of this rant is my way of getting it off my chest. I offer my sincerely apologies that I wasn’t caught up on the recent brewery turf war news. I have a life outside of beer. Am I a beer expert then? I guess not. Does this mean I should stop blogging? Of course not. I blog about what I want write about that hopefully my readers will enjoy. Now if I was writing on recent brewery logo law news that would be an omission. Maybe ding my beer blogger scorecard then.

There was a recent Twitter spat between two well-known beer bloggers that I respect and read. I am not taking sides or commenting on the situation. However it just goes to show that a few simple words online can be implied the wrong way. Even if there was no malice intended, they can make a difference. This is a reason why I do not call myself a beer expert. There is undue pressure put on them to express thoughts at 100% accuracy. Why would I want that? Blogging is fun. Scrutiny isn’t.

Playing devil’s advocate on this one, isn’t the goal of all beer bloggers is to make money just talking about and drinking beer? And don’t you have to be a beer expert to do that? I’m still trying to answer that myself but at this point I think the answer is no.

In my best Tim Ferriss impression, what is an expert? Besides the few available certifications, isn’t all you need a few public speaking appearances, good knowledge of the subject matter, an online presence, and have your own opinions? Well it looks like I’m almost there. Back to being a beer expert.

What this rant is trying to get at is that I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. And I’m okay with that. I’ll just keep writing about my beer-y adventures and maybe provide some useful knowledge along the way. That’ll keep me happy. That’ll keep this blog going. Don’t force me into being someone I don’t want to be. I don’t care about the semantics involved with Lambics. Like Josh Dion says, “Never take beer or life too seriously.”

I have some new, fun, creative features in the works for this blog (can you say Fantasy Beer League?!). Beer expert or not. If you stuck with this rant to here, thank you. I probably wouldn’t have.

How to Start a Beer Blog in 3 Steps

Who am I to say how to start a beer blog?

If you do not have a beer blog, I’m a bleeping expert. Once you do step one below, you can decide whether or not I know what I’m doing. But until then, I am your beer blogging coach. You are Rocky and I’m Mick.

Step One – The Nike Slogan

Yep, that’s right. You know the good ole Nike slogan…

“Just do it.”

This is step one. Just start the damn blog. Go to WordPress.com, sign up for a free account and just start writing. It’ll take some time to figure out how to use the site. I’m still going through and tweaking settings as I see fit. Go to Lynda.com, sign up for the trial period and take the WordPress.com Essential Training course.

But first instead of doing the above you’re going to say at least one of the follow:

“I just like reading other people’s blogs.”

“I have nothing to contribute.”

Or my favorite, “I have no time.”

You are wrong on all accords. If you are reading this then at some level, even subconsciously, you want your own beer blog. I’m sure there’s some Freudian envy theory somewhere than can explain it better than me but yes, if you’re here you have some interest in starting one.

You absolutely do have something to contribute. Everything you say matters to someone, especially the hard working craft breweries that rely on feedback to improve their products. Continue reading