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.

Continue reading

Conversations with Beer Bloggers – Oliver Gray from Literature and Libation

Meet Oliver Gray from Literature and Libation in this episode of Conversations with Beer Bloggers. Make sure to watch all the way to the end to check out some of Oliver’s musical skills.

What did you think about Oliver? Any questions for him? What other beer bloggers would you like to meet?

Have you checked out the other episodes of Conversations with Beer Bloggers?

Meet Carla Companion — The Beer Babe

Meet Bryan Roth — This is Why I’m Drunk

Meet Ryan Mould — Mould’s Beer Blog

Meet Nick McCormac — Drink. Blog. Repeat.

Meet Tom Aguero — Queen City Drinks

Meet Brad Westmar — Craft Brew Crew

Meet Doug Smiley — Baltimore Bistros and Beer

Meet Jake Scholan — Hipster Brewfus

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.


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 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!

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. 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.

Enjoyed this post? Show me by liking it below. Make sure to sign up to receive email updates for new posts by entering your email address at the bottom of the page so you never miss anything!

My Favorite Websites of 2013

SOB's Favorite Websites of 2013

Which one is Bryan?

I’m in the middle of this huge post recapping 2013 and really want to publish something new tonight but am nowhere close to being done with it. So I thought I’d share my favorite websites I’ve found this year. Some will of course be beer-related but not all of them. I’d love for you to participate by leaving your favorite websites from this year in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

Zen Habits

I’ve gotten really into podcasts since starting my new job and 3+ hour daily commute in May. After hearing about this site and Leo Babauta ad nauseum on them, I finally headed over to Zen Habits. Most of his posts take 5-10 minutes to read and are always thought provoking. His site is 100% free and open to the public to copy and reuse too. The jury is still out but I think I’m [slowly] starting to turn the corner on becoming a calmer driver and it’s all thanks to Zen Habits.

Literature and Libation

I’ve talked about this site many times before. My buddy Oliver Gray is the man behind it. He effortlessly writes beautiful content on beer and life. Not only are his words touching but his pictures are breathtaking as well. I know he recently got a new camera so I’m sure they’re only going to get better. I bet that one day there will be a book written by this guy on your shelf or coffee table.

I Think About Beer

I’m fairly positive that half the beers Christopher at I Think About Beer writes about are made up. Example: BROUWERIJ HET ANKER GOUDEN CAROLUS CHRISTMAS 2013. He is a Certified Cicerone so you know he knows what he’s talking about. You’ll learn a ton about beer, Belgian beer, beer history and the beer industry in general reading his content.

Impossible HQ

So recently this site has been generating content for a 4HWW crowd, which is cool since that site was on my shortlist for this post, but I really like it for it’s other straightforward “why don’t you get off your ass and do something” posts. It was one of the things that got me to start this site back in January. Check out the section on CST. Try that for a month (or 50 days like me).

This Is Why I’m Drunk

Bryan from This Is Why I’m Drunk finds his way into my inbox 2-3 times a week on average. He does the hard work – research. He looks at trends and statistics, gives an argument and makes you think. He recently won the Lord of the Drinks Award for site of year. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for 2014.

There’s a saying – you are the average of your five closest friends. I think that can also have some weight when it comes to activities like writing. If you read good content, yours will get better. That’s part of the reason why these are my favorite sites of 2013. They make me a better writer and I’ll take all the help I can get. What are your favorite websites from 2013? Leave your answers below!

Enjoyed this post? Show me by liking it below. Make sure to sign up to receive email updates for new posts by entering your email address at the bottom of the page so you never miss anything!

My Not Thankful List

I’ve seen a lot of the “I’m Thankful For…” lists recently. While I am thankful for many, many things and people I want to do something different: A Not Thankful List.

$7 Bud Lights

First on the list is $7 Bud Lights. I spent the past week in Las Vegas (post on it coming soon). Besides the complete lack of craft beer, if you weren’t gambling the prices for beers were outrageous. Most macro domestics were $7 or more! However they were a reasonable $5 during happy hour…

My home area of Washington, DC isn’t much better. You can find cheap beer (see the next item on the list) in many places but it’s not uncommon to see these macro domestics for $5-7 as well. Where does that leave craft beer? $8-10+. I can buy a six-pack for $10 of most “normal” craft beer packs. I am not thankful for $7 Bud Lights.

$1 Bud Lights

Second on the list are $1 Bud Lights and other ridiculously cheap “beers.” They cause over-crowding at bars and restaurants because people don’t ever leave during the special. I can’t find a barstool at 6:00pm when folks have been drinking $1 water-downed beers since happy hour started at 4:00pm. What’s even worse is that they make people stupid. I’m paraphrasing this quote because I can’t remember it exactly but, “Homebrews make people laugh while mass-produced beers make people dumb.” Such a true statement. I am not thankful for $1 Bud Lights.

Small Quantities of Great Beers

I get it → small quantity + great quality + outrageous demand = high profits. Russian River and The Alchemist make amazing beers (they have the top-3 beers on BeerAdvocate’s top-250). I’m just not thankful that they are in such small quantities that they’re so difficult to get. I am thankful for friends that get me these beers though – thanks, Dan! I am not thankful for small quantities of great beers.

Slow Internet Speed

Next on the list is slow Internet speed. Not only does this impede my Netflix-watching abilities but it messed up my Conversations with Beer Bloggers with Oliver Gray. I’m long overdue to do a re-record of it – sorry, buddy. December should bring 2+ new episodes. I am not thankful for slow Internet speed.

I Can’t Share a Beer with My Pals

Last on the list is the most important. I’ve been blogging for almost a year and have met, physically and digitally, some amazing people. You guys and gals keep this blog going. My readers keep this blog going. Thank you so much for your support. I cannot explain how grateful I am for it. Here’s to my friends. Here’s to my readers. I am not thankful I can’t share a beer with my pals.

What are you not thankful for? Cheers!