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Breaking into Jailbreak Brewing

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Hipster Bistros and the Burritos of Doom

When we last left you...







...And now, this months installment of

Before I get into my day spent amongst friends and burritos, let me introduce myself to those of you unfamiliar with my digital presence. Hello! My name is Doug, and when I’m not hunting down burritos and beer with Brewfus, I’m hunting down burritos (and other fine foodstuffs) and beer with my wife and writing about it over at Baltimore Bistros and Beer.

A little time has passed since we made the maiden voyage of the Bald, Beerded, and Burrito’d tour, so you can understand why my heart was atingle with anticipation knowing that it was time to put my eau de cilantro cologne on and hunt down another incredible burrito.

We had originally planned a visit to an establishment in Harbor East, but I was more than happy to oblige Jake’s request to audible when he requested a trip to Holy Frijoles instead. Afterall, it was on these hallowed grounds where we first dined on burritos together and discovered that our love for the folded vessel of meat was beyond the norm and needed to be shared via blog.

Holy Frijoles does the burrito right. Instead of listing three or four specific burritos on the menu (which they have if you’re not confident with your skills in the burritorial arts), they basically give you a list of options and let you create your all-star burrito. On this day I selected a steak burrito with black beans served drunken; and by drunken I mean smothered in melted cheese and enchilada sauce.

I loved that burrito. Size-wise, it was just right. It was big enough to send me home stuffed, but small enough that I only had to wait until 10PM to eat dinner after our 1PM burrito luncheon. Nine hour hang time for a burrito is pretty impressive. On the inside I really appreciated the fact that they prepared the steak by cutting the meat in thin slices instead of cubes. Cubes tend to have a rubbery texture, but the thin slices of meat were exceptionally tender. Mixed in with the meat were happy globs of melted cheese, onion, pablano peppers, and the aforementioned black beans.

Assuming we've convinced you to make a trip to Holy Frijoles, please remember two things when making your visit. First, make sure you order the black beans. I have no problem with refried beans, in fact I love them, but the black beans are fantastic and really add some nice moisture to the program. Second, but most important of all, by no means should you opt out of the pablano peppers. In my estimation, they are what make the Holy Frijoles burrito unique, adding a sweet/spicy factor you don’t find on every burrito.

Overall, the trip to Holy Frijoles was nothing but good times. The food was great, the company was better, and the beer selection (Jake will give you the details) was more than satisfactory.

Jake here! Holy Frijoles is a cornerstone of the Hampden neighborhood. It embodies the...alternative culture. You would be hard-pressed to not see at least one person with a handlebar mustache. Yeah, that kind of place. It's handy being just a couple blocks from my front door for when the missus and I are craving some warm tortillas with meat, cheese, and beans. The service is generally good, with the exception of a few missteps here and there in the past, I've always left pretty happy. 

Food wise, its your standard kind of Mexican joint type of menu, but obviously, the focus is burritos.

On this trip, I got me a chorizo burrito, with black beans and grilled veggies. I too, got it drunken, like my good friend Douglas, because you know, great minds think alike and all that jazz. There isn't much I'm going to say about it that Douglas hasn't already covered. Except in the veggies, there is zucchini, and that really, REALLY threw me off. Not that I don't enjoy zucchini, because for the most part I don't...But they don't have a place in burritos, you fucking hipsters. So there is that.

The real focus though, is the beer. I don't think we will find another place that has such a good beer selection. Both of us again, mirrored our beer orders, which were a Union Brewing "Duckpin" and a Monument Brewing "51 Rye," both of which were excellent. Last time I was there I ordered a pitcher of Dos Equis Amber, and had a goddamned blast. Judge me, I dare you.

Turn That Brown Upside Down

When I started this back in December, it stemmed from a day of me going bar to bar. It wasn't my first mission, but it soon became clear that I was going to be drinking as many brown ales as I could find. It had nothing to do with an extreme love of Brown Ales. Quite the opposite, actually. Browns have never actually been I care about. Like at all. Never. I have never left work thinking "YEAH! GIMMIE A BROWN ALE! IT'S GO TIME! At the end of the day, I had drank about three brown ales. That is probably two more brown ales than I have ever previously consumed in one day I could not have been more frustrated with my palate.

For as long as I have been drinking, I have always tried to make it a point to try as many new beers as possible. Not so much that I feel I need to like everything, but in a market where are choices seem limitless, I want to experience as much as I can. And yes, I absolutely want to like everything I drink, but I know I can't. The math is against me. I hate math.

This bugs me more than it should. The whole uncomfortable feeling in me that stemmed this whole piece: There are entire styles that I just plain do not care for. More specifically, Brown Ales (and until last year, Barleywines). When I started this beer journey, it was on the heels of pale ales and wittes, from there I jumped into IPAs, then porters came along and lulled me into a sense of warmth and security. Stouts eventually joined the party, as did sours, lagers, pilsners, and practically everything in-between. but I was under that dumb assumption that if I was going to get into this beer thing, I WAS GOING ALL IN, BRO! I felt (stupidly) disingenuous about whatever status I had achieved, because there were two entire styles I could not commit to.

When it came to barleywines, I tried as many as I could get my hands on. I knew it was a style that I wanted to enjoy, partly because I had already given my love and adoration to DIPAs. On paper, I should have loved barleywines. But this attempt at courtship quickly became an exercise of punishment I was finding myself more and more put off with each bottle opened, each bottle sipped, and each bottle left unfinished. There were countless moments of being heckled “zomg how can you not like that, that is an amazing beer. You have shitty taste blah blah blah.”

I caught much less shit with my stance on browns, but that's because..I mean, who really cares about brown ales?

It is perfectly acceptable to not like a beer, and I'm not sitting here telling you “do what I do, try everything, something will eventually stick.” That kind of masochistic approach certainly isn't for everyone, but for me it was kind of what I needed. In 2013, barleywines became a style I absolutely adore. It started with Union Brewing's "Chessie." I was intoxicated with how easy it was to drink, how good it tasted, and how much I liked it! It was an unforgettable moment for me, finally finding a barleywine that I liked. It opened up a previously stubbornly closed door for me. I finally got it. Are there still ones I don’t like as much? Sure, but I'm going to run into that with any style, I suppose. But I tell you what, I definitely enjoy far more now than I ever had. because of this new found inspiration I'm excited to re-visit some of the more off-putting ones I drank in the past, mainly Sierra Nevada's "Big Foot," and Weyerbacher's "Blithering Idiot." So you know, we’ll see how that goes.

The underlying point of all this nostalgia has brought me back to what spurred this little post initially. Brown Ales. That deplorable little ale. I have tried countless browns (actually, about 15 according to Untappd), and still have yet to find one that I could hold up as a beacon and say "Yes! This is what a brown ale is, this is what I want a brown ale to be, and this is what a brown ale should be!" Because in so many of the ones I've tried, there is no real cohesiveness. I can take any 2, put them side by side, and have 2 completely beers. And that’s frustrating.

Have I found some that aren't terrible? Absolutely. Looking at my Untapped scores, I don’t rate them unfairly like some jerks do (the highest rating being a 4, and the lowest was a 3). Just because I don’t like a particular style, doesn't mean I cant appreciate a good beer.

I find when I talk about a particular brown ale with someone, more often than not I get the “that’s not what a real brown tastes like,” which is doubly frustrating, because AT THIS POINT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A “REAL”BROWN ALE IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE! Ugh. But am I going to give up? Fuck no, my stubbornness is to blame for my new-found love of barleywines, a style that has given me so much drunken happiness.

So, with no real purpose to this post, I'm here to tell you, that just because you like beer, doesn't mean you have to like every beer, or even every style.

Just, you know, drink what you like.


Hipster Brewfus

P.S. I <3 bruins="" oud="" p="">

Verbose Validation of Verbage

I am a beer blogger.

I have the trip to the Beer Bloggers Conference to prove it. I have the phone calls, texts, e-mails, tweets, Facebook messages and smoke signals from people asking me for thoughts, and recommendations. I have the URL, and the alter-ego. I have the late nights, staying up to finish a post. I have the days at work, where something is just too important and I have to write it right away (in a blank e-mail format). I’ve had the internal struggle between this blog feeling like a job, and reminding myself it’s not, and then proceeding to fuck off for weeks at a time to reset my brain. But then there have been the times when I WANT this to be my job. I even have business cards.

I have a full on relationship with beer

I have given this blogging thing so much of myself, and have a much closer relationship to beer than most folks. Like any type of relationship, it has been wrought with Adoration and abhorrence.  Id say my relationship right now with beer and blogging is at the most healthiest it has ever been, even given the recent public “ugh, beer” stance I seem to have taken, but there is far more to it.

With all of this, myself and a slew of other bloggers have decided to tackle the topic: “How has blogging verbed your relationship with beer?” And like with most topics, I don’t have a clear answer. Blogging has verbed my relationship with beers in more ways than I’m probably aware of, I’m sure. It’s been this weird cyclical adventure that has no end in sight. You are stuck with me forever.

Like most people, when this all started for me, I was absolutely enthralled by it all. I was 100% captivated by the small, loyal, and growing community that craft beer had. I had never been a part of anything, really. I love comic books, but with the Internet, fanboys really ruined it for me. Never been much of a sports fan, no religion, none of those things people can come together on and celebrate together. Needing something in my life I could attach to and become a part of, the beer scene was it. People sending beer to each other, helping hunt down hard to find stuff to trade for other hard to find stuff, extras, beer it forwards, all of those things. I signed up for a Beer Advocate account (my first mistake), and dove in head first.

The next spoke on this drunken wheel has to be submerged. Looking back, I can find the first time I took the proverbial plunge. This little bar in Colchester, CT had put out a Facebook update about them getting one of the 3 kegs of Ballast Point Sculpin. I scheduled my whole day around it, went there with a pen and paper, and got busy. I ordered my beer, and hurried off to a quiet corner. I sat down with my pint glass of this “rare” beer, sniffing it, writing, sipping it, writing, sniffing it again, and writing more. I looked like a weirdo, and I didn't care. I ended up writing a pretty bad post about it. And I couldn't have been more excited. But that’s really the first time I can pinpoint hunting down stuff, and really going for it. A few weeks after that, I left work early to get to the beer store to pick up the newly released Chocolate Truffle Stout from Hooker Brewing.  Before I knew it, I was looking for Heady Topper, Pliney, and Hills Farmstead, the holy trinity of beers that bros need to hunt down. Because mad raer whaelz, bro.

I bought anything I could get my hands on, spending way too money and time on this. I was in deep. I was part of this craft beer revolution that was taking place in our county. I spouted off at length (ignorantly at that) about lawsuits between breweries about how the brewery suing another one was a total jerk. I slammed BMC products, I did all the beer snobby stuff that beer snobs do. I was the proverbial cheerleader.

Remember how I said this was a cyclical adventure? Well, this wheel has rolled over vexed. To many on the Internet, I am just some cussing, stomping, whining mouth breather.  And uh…that’s not too far from the truth. But really, I just couldn't sit idly by while I watched this thing that I love kill itself from the inside out. Between my blog, my social media spots, and even a guest post, I complained vocally about the constant cheerleading of beer, and how it can prove to be detrimental. I complained about beer bloggers not doing their part to be influential and a guiding voice. I complained about all this Kickstarter nonsense, be it from large breweries, to un-established breweries. Even attacked Bloggers using it to fund their beercation (read: conference). I complained about all the crappy beer that is being held in such high regard because it is local. I complained about most of the same things that earlier in this relationship, I lauded. I was confused. Where did the purity of this thing I love so much, go?

I have since come to appreciate that beer is first and foremost, a business, and it should be treated as such. I realize that we are not a part of some revolution, we are consumers. There is nothing wrong with loving the product, nothing wrong with that at all. But these happy shiny blinders that people seem to have on, are silly.

Beer evangelism is dangerous. It makes people think that this is a movement. We are not Woody Guthrie or Joe Strummer. We are not Cesar Chavez or Mahatma Gandhi. We're a bunch of slightly drunk middle class people who wear a little too much plaid and don't like shaving and we like good beer. To pretend that you're a rebel because of a purchasing decision is the kind of thing that Apple would love for you to continue to believe, but Steve Jobs wasn't the messiah and neither are the boys at 10 Barrel
– Comment on Beervana

And when this eventual wheel comes near its full circle, I’m at a point where I've reach zen of sorts. I’m in a place where I am completely contented with my relationship with beer, both as a drink, and as a hobby. I’m at ease with where I am in any role to be someone to come to with information. I don’t sit and sniff my beers and swirl and sip and take notes. I open my beer, and drink it. I don’t care what small brewery is bought by a bigger one, as long as the beer is good. I don’t care about whatever super rare release is on the other side of the country, and what bottles I need to line up to try and trade for it. I don’t care about any of that. I just want to drink my beer, be surrounded by people I love, in a place that I like.

I’m still not sure where this relationship is going. Like most, it has had it's ups and downs, and the future is always unclear. But right now, I feel safe where I am.

This 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:

Douglas from Baltimore Bistros & Beer: Beer Blogging and My Relationship With Beer

Bryan from This Is Why I'm Drunk: It’s My Relationship and I Can Cry if I Want To

Oliver from Literature & Libation: Why Blog?

Liz from Naptown Pint: Which Came First? The Beer or the Blogging?


So, last night I got pretty fired up when local brewery, Frey's, published the newest label of theirs that had been approved. If you missed it, it was basically a cartoon woman, with her breasts falling out, called “Heavy Breathing Betty.” 

Pretty goddamned classy, right? I was pretty happy when the majority of the reactions were negative, and even happier when said brewery reacted in a more positive way this morning, pulling the artwork, and apologizing.

But it doesn't end there. This argument is way bigger than this isolated incident.

The fact that this even happened, is annoying as shit. I was really hoping breweries were moving past this whole “sex sells” shit, but I guess I was wrong. There are still plenty of breweries, both large and small, that still rely on the sexualized woman's body to sell their product. As a dude, it annoys me to no end, so I can’t even begin to imagine how you women must feel.

If that’s your strong marketing approach, if that’s your gimmick, than whatever, I don’t need to buy your beer. I can’t imagine it’s very good, if you can’t sell it on its own merit and instead rely on “HEY LOOK BOOBS, THAT’S HOT AMIRITE??” It is not "creative," and it is not "unique." It is lazy, it is disgusting, it is bottom of the barrel type shit. And I'm fucking done with it.

This event really just reopened a can of worms, and brought it back to the front of my mind. Now, I am stuck frantically pulling words from the hurricane of thoughts in my brain to write this.

I don’t have any real answers, but will continue to be vocal against this kind of gimmick in our community, and hope you will be, also.

From Liz at Naptown Pint, Tierney over at Stouts and Stilettos, Ashleigh and Kristie at Two Girls One Beer (who are writing a book!), to Margaret over at Brewer Shirts, and Kristina over at Rare BeerClub, and countless other, some of my favorite people in this scene, community, whatever, are women. And all I want is for them to be able to be looked at as another member in the community, not a member that has boobs.

There are a million things that I want to say, but can't explain myself monosyllabically enough for the target audience of this post to understand. So I will end it with this: This is my plea to breweries. Knock it off. Seriously, fucking stop already. We do not need this. I, and many others, I’m sure, will just plain stop buying your beer. And then where will you be? Adapt, and grow the hell up already.

Hipster Brewfus

Hipster Brewfus Gives Thanks

When I’m not being a dickhead on the internet, or designing things that clean the air so you can do the breathing good, or yelling at people on Xbox life for jumping and going directly to prone in COD, or just being generally obnoxious…I like to read a select few blogs. One of them is “This Is Why I’m Drunk

This morning, he copied someone, and now I’m copying him in a “Grateful Challenge.” The idea is to list everything you are grateful for, in 10 minutes. It’s super hard, because I hate being timed in anything, and being put on the spot, even if its myself putting myself on the spot, is uncomfortable. So here’s what I got.

Feel free to comment on the Facebook or Twitters or here on the blog with what YOU are thankful for!

Happy thanksgiving, you bunch of jerks. Hipster Brewfus loves you.

1. My liver, who filters out the badness, and stays strong through the constant barrage

2. My wife who puts up with it all, and is always willing to try whatever it is I’m sipping on.

3. Nepenthe Homebrew, for giving me safe haven and like-minded people to share and brew with. And for being all around good people, and good friends.

4. Baltimore city for embracing me and becoming my new home. I feel like I fit right in.

5. Maryland beer, for making such delicious local drinks that I can share with people near and far and constantly inspire me.

6. Friendships forged between me and breweries, brewers, and fellow drinkers. Beer has brought me more than just hangovers.

7. Twitter, for letting me be a jerk in 140 characters

8. Facebook, for letting me be a jerk in MORE than 140 characters, including pictures

9. Instagram, for constantly reminding me that I’m not a photographer, but at least once a week, I can pretend.

10. Bryan and Oliver for reminding me that I am an awful writer, but I can always get better

11. Douglas for being my bearded brother with whom I can discuss everything from how much we love beer, to how much we hate it. For reminding me that I don’t always have to agree on everything even though we look alike, and that depression is ok, and its good to have someone you can talk about it with.

12. CCMABBD, The Continental Congress of Mid Atlantic Beer Bloggers. It has developed some great friendships within our small blogging community, and we all support one another.

13. My readers of words, without you, I’d just be a drunk idiot with a keyboard. But with you, I’m a drunk idiot with a keyboard who has people that read his bad writings.

14. My followers of Tweets, because I seriously have SO much fun on that thing.

15. My likers of Facebook, because it is GODDAMNED hard to get a large reach, and every like you give me, every comment, makes the Hipster Brewfus name spread that much further

16. People who don’t have a PG rated sense of humor. Because I don’t have one. And I am not for the tame of heart.

17. People who realize I am tongue in cheek. You get me. You understand what this whole thing is about.

18. The ability to separate me from Hipster Brewfus. Because everyone is pleasantly surprised with my teddy bear qualities when they meet me.

19. My cell phone. For being my camera to take pictures of all things beer, my gps for getting me to all places beer, and my message thingy, for all drunk calls and texts, influenced by beer

20. The internet, for giving me this awful voice, with a small, but fierce reach.

21. Sour beers, because I love you

22. IPAs, because I love you, too

23. Otter Creek and Longtrail, for donating beers to my wedding,and for being one of the founders of my love of intoxication

24. Tulip glasses, because fuck pint glasses.

25. Brewers, because without you, I’d have a healthy liver and sobriety. And that shit is for the birds.

26. Netflix, because binge watching and binge drinking go together perfectly.

27. Xbox, because I seriously love drinking and yelling at people. Seriously, stop fucking dropping to prone or jumping when you shoot at me in COD, I hate it. You pansies.

28. My car. Because you get me to places that have the beer.

29. My job, because you give me monies to buy the beer.

30. My kid, because she very patient with me when I take her to breweries

31. Exercise, because even though I don’t use you, I know you exist. Taunting me.

32. College roommates, who wouldn't let me drink shitty beer. Like Icehouse.

33. My stubbornness, because it keeps me wanting more, all the time. More beer, more styles, more brews, I want to try them all like some kind of beer demon.

34. FedEx for letting me ship “books” to other people (psst, it’s really beer).

35. Untappd, for rewarding my drunkenness with playful badges.

36. My patio, for giving me my favorite place to drink when the weather is nice out

37. Wine Source, for being my local beer store, 3 blocks from my house, and having a fantastic selection

38. Connecticut, because it’s where this whole crazy thing started

39. #CtBrewCrew because you guys show me love, even though I up and left you all.

40. Music, because you’re my first love, and often always present while drinking.

And there we have it, folks. 10 minutes, 40 things I'm thankful for. And a hand turkey drawing. I'm sure you might be thinking "WHY ARENT YOU THANKFUL FOR ME!?" Just know, I probably am, BUT BEING TIMED IS STRESSFUL!

Have a great, and safe Thanksgiving!

Other bloggers giving thanks:

Douglas Smiley from "Baltimore Bistros and Beer": Thank You, Come AgainBryan D. Roth from "This Is Why I'm Drunk": The Grateful Challenge: Beer Edition

Won't Let Me Forget

It's not the first time you've seen me weep.

This time is different though. This time you can't see because you're lying in front of me on the ground, your essence pouring from your neck. Your neck. A snippet of an Escher sketch, with its unnatural angles. I look down, trying to take it all in, hating what I see, and wanting to look away.

How could I have done this?

I drop to my knees by your side, knocked down by the guilt of what I have done. Nausea hits me as the weight of the situation clambers up onto my back. Your subtle curves ruined by my own carelessness. My hand hovers over the lifeless pile of you, but I can't, won't touch. Memories of you flood into my mind. Memories of you that I thought had dimmed with time.

I can recall the first time I saw you, 13 years ago. Some strangers house. I didn't know anyone, really, but there you were. Sultry, bathed in the shadows of a dozen people crammed into one room, as I made my way over to you. You sat there patiently, in black and red, until I took you in my hand and made our escape. I didn't know you, you didn't know me. But I needed to enjoy your company, so I could lose myself in something, fast forward this miserable night.

Your body shouldn't look like this. I bury the balls of my hand into my sockets, trying to rub the sight out. It cant be unseen. "I was drunk." I mumble. I need to believe that. It feels good to recede into the warmth of my memories, where the seconds become small millenniums, and I'm left free to not have to handle the consequences of my careless actions.

There were countless times when I nearly approached you, only to turn heel. I had made my judgment about you based off of one night. Unfair. I still yearned to give you another shot. I yearned to give you another shot. I felt I had something to prove to you. To myself.

There came a night, years down the road, when I would finally pulled you into me. I remember that exact moment. Fruit perfume, with beads of sweat running down your body. 100 degrees outside, but you were cool. You were mine.

Reality hits. You are still broken. A strange combination of frustration and fondness creeps in. The nights you left me curled up on the bathroom floor. The nights we embraced. The times I kicked you out of my life, only to open the door to you. You, bathed in light. And I let let you back in. I don't know how to say no to you when you get me going.

Tonight I lost control. And tonight, you paid for it.

The Session #90 Post-Fight Round Up (AKA: Why I now hate blogging.)

It is 10:58, October 18th. I am sucking down a 'Gansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout. I have thrown my binary hands up in the air because I just don't know what to do anymore. Back in August, I was host to The Session. Part of my responsibility in that, was writing the round up of all the different entries, and I started it. And as I chugged along in reading and commenting and reading and commenting and reading and commenting, I gave up.

I just couldn't do it anymore. While beer blogging is full of a lot of amazing writers (See: This Is Why I'm Drunk or Literature and Libation), there is a plethora of overwhelming banality. When flooded with it, it becomes too much. Too many poorly written posts. Too many posts that just tell you things instead of showing you. Too much of everything I've been complaining about, and not doing anything to fix.

I got about halfway through the posts, I closed my laptop and walked away from blogging for the next few months.

I don't know where I'm going, what I'm going to do, or anything of the sort. But dammit, bloggers, you need to step your games up. Stop cheerleading all the goddamned time.


And here comes the round-up...

I'm going to take some partial blame here, while I kept my announcement pretty one dimensional, I had hopes and aspirations for some exciting writing. I wanted more than just a negative beer review.I just wanted some honesty, that's all. Again, I take full responsibility for the apparent vagueness of my announcement. Some of you were able to rise to the challenge, some of some of you stayed in the same corner from which I was trying to get you to stay out of, and some of you seemed to take umbrage by what I asked of you.

Yeah, I get it, I come off as uncouth, unintelligent, and boisterous. I get it., I say "fuck" a lot, and you probably didn't want to associate with a mouth breather like me, so you took this session as a chance to mount your moral high horse and look down at me. "I'm not going to write a 'fuck' laced tirade just for the sake of writing a 'fuck' laced tirade." some of you seem to be saying.


Kicking it off, Vincent from Bier Battered struggled with Stone Brewing's Vertical Epic 12.12.12, which I found amusing, since the beer that first inspired me years ago to indulge in the negative from time to time, was the Vertical Epic 11.11.11. He did a good job in highlighting the negative aspects, and not just saying "I hate this beer, because." The last sentence really summed up a thought I'm sure most people have flirted with at one point: "If you ever needed proof that ratings could be effected by limited releases or rarity, look no further. This release is currently holding at 97% rating on Rate beer and 88% on BA." But damn, this entry was nigh on unreadable.

Breandán from Belgian Smaak gave me a post that after reading a couple times, I ended up liking way more than I thought I would. I really enjoyed the brewery history, and the brewers own admission that these beers just aren't for everyone. The beer highlighted certainly seems like it's one that would put up quite the challenge, but one I would certainly like to tackle. A different approach from what I was expecting, and very welcomed.

The Beer Nut started off with what I thought was going to be a unique approach; An attack on an entire style (he had brought up Black IPAs). I got REALLY excited...but I was wrong. He decided to "put 'em up" against a specific beer (Schoppe Bräu's Roggen Roll Ale). What a fight this one turned out to be! There is something about "sweet incense mixed with balsamic vinegar" that solidifies the decision that this is a beer I will never, ever pick a fight with.

Bryan from This Is Why I'm Drunk fucking nailed it. He gave me what I guess I had been secretly hoping for since coming up with the idea for the topic. Not only did he flex his imagination muscles, he was able to tie it into a very personal post he had done for a previous Sessions. You guys think I just want you to angrily shout via text at some beer? No. I want you to tap into an area of yourself that you didn't think you were capable of, and put out something outstanding. Something that surprises even yourself. Bryan didn't think this post was what I wanted, and thought that maybe he half-assed it. Nope. This hit every note on what I was hoping for. Reading this, I'm reminded of some dingy, David Fincher-esque setting. Bloody tape strewn about the floor, and a fighter who's got nothing left, but is expected to bring everything to the table. It was a struggle to read, not because it was poorly written, but because he tapped into a despair so many people forget exists, or just pretend doesn't.

This one was a surprise right off the bat. Not only had I never heard of The Southern Committee, but I got a post that played to exactly what I wanted, and I have never had any interaction with Blake prior. Maybe there is some brightness left in the world of blogging. It was refreshing to see someone with a bit of fight left in them, even when it looked like the beer might have had an early KO. A new blogger (to me) came out swinging and blew away the majority of you established guys I've seen floating around for some time. Y'all need to step your game up.

And then there was this stupid shit form The Beer Runner, who completely missed the entire fucking point of everything, ever. Someone else summed it up perfectly for me in two textual soundbites:

"His response to your topic is the problem of which you write about in your prompt.
and he realizes that.

and shrugs his shoulders.

and then my head explodes.

And then this anecdote is the perfect example:

"If I go to an event or brewery and have a bad experience, I won't write about it. I want to share the positives of the industry, but I'd rather not highlight the bad."

I didn't want to get into a discussion about it, because it would have gone on far too long and I had limited time, but I fear that's a common thought. It's cliched at this point, but that kind of sentiment keeps popping up - people feel it's their responsibility to talk about how awesome things are, but never veer into darker territory.

Like Beer Runner - why is it bad to go on a tirade? Or even offer dissent?

Reading through some of the responses, it seems people just pick an easily bashable beer, have at it, then everyone chimes in with a "Oh yeah, that beer SUCKED!

Beer Runner, you failed miserably. I see what you did. You took the moral high road, you showed the blogging community that you are obviously better because you are not simmering with unfathomable rage. I see that, and say...thanks for wasting my time, you suck, and you are everything that is wrong in beer blogging.

Moving along...

Doug, my good friend from Baltimore Bistros & Beer is someone who I have talked about this topic with at length over a series of multiple discussions. We have bounced ideas off each other, we have struggled to make sense of our own thoughts and words, and have been able to add a of clarity when the other needed it. Back in April, when we both had really reached our limit of "HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY," he invited me to guest post on his site about it. He let me vent, and it felt so good. With all that said, it was a lot of fun to read about his battle with a particularly fantastic sour beer. It's funny because I mean, it's such a damn good beer, but the fact that I know this dude really enjoys sour beers now shows a maturation that I can relate to. Doug has a talent of making each post very personal, and it's one of my favorite things about his blog.