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