This is a good start.

Last night as my fantasy baseball team’s championship dream crumbled on the TV in front of me there was a glass of beer next to me. It’s the first weeknight, sit-and-chill-and-watch-baseball, casual beer I’ve had in months. And it felt…missed.

As I sat there refreshing my Yahoo fantasy sports app I realized just how much I’ve missed beer and writing. I’ve come to realize the two do not have to go hand in hand. In fact, the only correlation between beer and writing for me at the present moment is that beer reminds me of writing and I have this website I used to write about beer on growing digital cobwebs. It felt like it was a good as time as ever to grab the laptop and start punching away at the keys.

And before I knew it I had hit the light and passed the heck out. Whoops. That single Starr Hill Oktoberfest Lager did me in. Thankfully the urge still presented itself to me today. So 19 hours later I’m awake and punching keys and will soon hit publish.

Back in August I retired shortonbeer.com. It was a nearly two year long project where I wrote and published something just about everyday. Man it was grueling. Man I was over it by the end. But man do I miss having a place to go and just write.

Will this become that again? Maybe. We’ll see. This is a good start. I have a super secret project I’m working on that I’m not quite ready to share with the world. I’m still feeling it out and seeing if there are any legs to it or if it’s even possible. If so though I’ll be documenting it somehow, somewhere in some way.

It’s good to be back behind the keys. Thanks for reading. If it’s been awhile since you’ve read anything by me, welcome back! If you’re new around here, welcome!

– Josh

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Unleash the Pumpkin Beers

Beer friends! What’s up?!

I’ve been cranking away at SOB 2.0, oh… wait… you haven’t heard? Earlier this summer I finally purchased shortonbeer.com and I’ve been writing there every single day. It’s not just about beer though. Actually beer only comes up every so often. It’s about me and life and being a creative professional and about anything I feel like writing about.

That’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing this post because I’ve had my first pumpkin beer of the year. I fought the season creep and held out to almost a week into September. Pretty good, right?

I’m helping my wife help my friend craft some paper for welcome bags for her wedding next weekend and knew it was time to break my pumpkin beer yearly seal. Since Starr Hill was so gracious to send me their Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter I felt that it’d be right to start with theirs.

Maybe it’s because I had it at the end of the season last year. Maybe it’s because I’m sick of crafting. Maybe it’s because it’s my first sip of pumpkin in months. Maybe it’s because they changed their recipe (I have no clue – I was bad and didn’t read the letter that came with the beer!) But this beer tastes leaps and bounds better than last year’s.

I have no hard-hitting or in depth analysis. I just dig this beer tonight. I’ll probably head into the garage and grab my other one soon. We’ve crafted 17 of the ~80 things we need to make. And we’re pushing close to three hours…

Time for another beer. Time for a pumpkin beer.

Before you go, what’s the first pumpkin beer you had this year?

That Moment I Changed My Mind on a Brewery

Starr Hill was the butt of many jokes of mine the past couple of years. To me they made so-so beer. I had no problem with them; I just knew I wouldn’t be ordering it out at a bar or buying it at Harris Teeter. You go do you, Starr Hill. I’ll be over here enjoying my “good beer.”

Yeah, I was a jerk. And it made me miss out on Starr Hill’s transformation over the past year or so. I have officially flip-flopped my opinion on them. Hey, if politicians can do this all the time and still get elected then why can’t I? Instead of being this local-ish brewery that I didn’t care for, Starr Hill is quickly becoming a regular contributor to my fridge and bar tabs. This post will cover why and I’ll go into detail on a couple of their newer beers.

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TWIB – Homebrews, Hefeweizens and Time Travel

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.

This week in beer was a homebrew and entertainment filled one. Had a friend’s homebrew, tried my newest homebrew for the first time and went to the ballpark.

Boeser Brau’s American Pilsner Homebrew

Even though I’m a homebrewer (yes, a new homebrewer but regardless) I haven’t had many other people’s homebrews outside of my own. He put mine to shame! I absolutely loved everything about this beer. From the golden, yellow color to the crisp Pilsner taste, keep up the great work, Scott!

21st Amendment Bitter American

There’s a new movie theater by me called the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema where they serve you dinner, beer, popcorn, etc. at your seat (pretty cool, right?). So my wife and I went to check it out on Friday and saw Gatsby. We got their carnivore pizza which I’ll rate a 9 out of 10, their chips with queso dip which I’ll give a 6 out of 10 and their popcorn — usual awesome theater popcorn. I also ordered a 21st Amendment Bitter American. I’ve had this before and it’s one of my go-to beers. It’s light, flavorful, low in alcohol at 4.4% and has some badass artwork like all the 21st Amendment cans. The theater itself serves many local beers — Starr Hill, Lost Rhino, Williamsburg Alewerks, DC Brau and more. It also has a bar inside called Glass Half Full Taproom. We poked out heads in and it looks cozy. Full bar with beer reasonably priced.

One more thing! This is in the new One Loudoun development and it looks like a Bar Louie going in soon. I’ve been to the one downtown and I can’t wait for one to be here.

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TWIB – 1 giant duck vs 1,000 ducks

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a new 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.

This week was a huge one for me professionally. It was the last week at the job I’ve been at for nearly four years. It felt like I was graduating college all over again, but all alone. Needless to say, I was taken out a lot this week to celebrate.

Victory Golden Monkey

I got to enjoy this beer with one of my good friends and now ex-coworker Scott who runs Boeser Brau. I recommended it to him and once I saw him have it I got jealous and ordered one of my own. This 9.5% ABV Belgian-style Tripel packs a flavorful punch but you can still taste the subtleties of the spices used. Awesome beer — try it if you haven’t.

The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout

Long-story short, this is my absolute favorite beer. It’s not the best milk stout I’ve ever had but I know it’s brewed somewhat nearby in Farmville, NC and I have a rich history with it. It really turned me on to trying new beers, especially darker ones, after the first time I had it. It still is a staple of my beer diet many years later. If you won’t try it because I’m telling you to, will you at least try it because of their badass logo?

I heard this on the Scott Van Pelt Show months back but still think of this question whenever I come across anything to do with a duck. Which would you rather fight — one duck that’s the size of 1,000 ducks or 1,000 regular-size ducks? My answer to the question later. Continue reading