The Not-So-Secret Secret of Beer Blogging: You Matter. No Matter What.

shovelThere’s a moment in the movie Caddyshack I can’t shake from my mind.

Danny Noonan, one of the film’s main characters, is trying to butter up antagonist and avid golfer Judge Elihu Smails in order to get an advantage for a college scholarship from the movie’s fictional country club. Danny can’t afford to go to college.

“Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too,” says the judge, playing up his well to-do lifestyle and feeling of superiority.

It’s a blow for Danny, but a salient point. The world does need ditch diggers, but the comment’s comedic purposes override the need to analyze it within context of the movie. What we’re expected to take away is that digging ditches is low, miserable work that should be avoided.

But what if it’s not so bad? What if there’s more to digging ditches than getting your hands dirty?

session_logo_all_text_300As basic as this task may seem, there should most certainly be an amount of pride – like any job – in wielding knowledge and skill beyond another person. Knowing the perfect depth with which to plunge a shovel into the earth and visualizing the right angle to make the task easier are skills, even if those abilities seem like low, miserable work.

Most of all, what are we to make of someone who enjoys digging ditches? Heaven forbid, according to Judge Smails.

In a very roundabout way, this has stuck in my head all week as I considered joining this month’s Session, a regular effort by beer bloggers around the world to collectively share thoughts on a single topic. Presented by the writer known simply as “DING,” this month’s prompt asks us to consider our place in the beer industry:

Are you simply a cog in the commercial machine if you work for a brewery, store or distributor? Are you nothing more than an interested consumer? Are you JUST a consumer? Are you a beer evangelist? Are you a wannabe, beer ‘professional’? Are you a beer writer? All of the above? Some of the above? None of the above? Where do you fit, and how do you see your own role in the beer landscape?

The more I thought about it, the more I considered these questions in other terms: Why do we write? What do we want out of writing?

Or rather, if we write, must we be above “ditch digging?” Is there a standard we must set for ourselves and others and cast out those who don’t meet those expectations?

I kept coming back to the same answer: who cares?

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It’s My Relationship and I Can Cry if I Want To

broken heart stalker
I think about you all the time.

I can’t shake it from my head … I wonder about who you’re with, what you’re wearing. I can picture you in that flashy, new negligee I bought you. You haven’t seen it yet, but it’s sitting safely in a cupboard at home.

I’ve got a spot for you right next to it.

It’s not like I’m utterly consumed by you. It’s kind of the other way around. HA. It’s more like I enjoy “intense research.” You know what I mean? Of course you do. You understand me so well, sometimes I like to think you were made just for me.

It’s probably true, you know. We share so many friends. They talk about you almost as much as I do. But I don’t know if they’re as committed to you as I am. For others, you’re du jour, a fad. They’ll pay attention to you for a while, but I know that what we have will last FOREVER.

I get emails about you every day. Well, they’re email alerts, but it still makes me feel like we’re close. I love it when they ping my inbox overnight. I get so excited to see them – and read about you – when I first wake up. But you can’t actually email me, can you? Gosh, that would be so GREAT. It makes me jealous that so many other people get to spend so much more time with you than I do.

Have you seen any of my recent posts? They’re all about you. I think they can be kind of wordy and nerdy, but to you, they probably read like poetry. Sometimes I blush at how rhythmic it all feels, thoughts and words flowing in waves from my brain to my fingertips to a keyboard. You’re the perfect muse – inspiring me as I type away. I could STARE AT YOU FOR HOURS.

I love talking about you, even though sometimes you can be ice cold.

I love reading about you, even though people all over enjoy your company without me.

But most of all, I love writing about you, even though you never comment on my posts.

I love you, beer, but sometimes this whole blogging thing makes me feel a little too OBSESSED.

unpaid investigatorThis (intentionally over-the-top) post is part of multiple essays from Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers focusing on how we feel blogging has impacted our relationship with beer. Make sure to check out these posts, too:

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

header image edited via

Your Mother Would Think I’m a Very Nice Young Man: Meet the Guy Behind ‘This is Why I’m Drunk’

I was recently lucky enough to chat with Josh from Short on Beer for his ongoing “Conversations with Beer Bloggers” video series. Josh is a Friend of the Program and was flattering in his ability to politely nod as I rambled on and on about beer for almost 30 minutes.

Thankfully, Josh was able to cut down our discussion (and somehow edited out the foam emitting from my over-excited mouth) into a short video which he’s posted online. I thought this would be a great opportunity for you to see the man behind the blog, even if I actually look a boyish 16. (I’m not 16)

Check out our conversation and head over to Short on Beer to also meet Carla, The Beer Babe, and Friend of the Program, Ryan, from Mould’s Beer Blog.

I Can Haz Brewery? Memes for ‘The Session’ May 2013


This month’s “Session” effort is hosted by Chuck over at AllBrews. Rather than dip into the waters of beer nerdom, he’s asked a novel question for this month’s community blogging effort:

In this Session, I’d like to invite comments and observations from bloggers and others who have first-hand knowledge of the complexities and pitfalls of starting a commercial brewery. What were the prescient decisions that saved the day or the errors of omission or commission that caused an otherwise promising enterprise to careen tragically off the rails?


The ideal assistant brewer for my business.

Technically speaking, I’m not fit to answer this question as I am but a mere homebrewer. Although I did tackle this topic earlier this week about some who make it seem easy to “go pro.”

In that vein, I believe Chuck makes an adept observation about the idea of becoming a professional brewer: “Making beer is the easy part, building a successful business is hard.” Craft beer is all the rage right now and the last thing I’d want for others to do is get involved and not be successful. Although I’m constantly pleased to see homebrewers making that shift because of their knowledge and love for beer, not simply to make money.

Either way, being a brewer, brewery owner or even a homebrewer isn’t glamorous. So I put together this handy chart to give you a better idea (click image to enlarge):

homebrew-homebrewing-think i do-meme

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac