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.


One Word Of Advice For The Craft Beer Newbie

Would you just slow down a minute? I'm trying to tell you something.

Look- LOOK WOULD YOU LISTEN? Put your goddamned beer down, and shut up.

Yeah, I know, you really like that IPA.

What? Yes, I've heard of Heady Topper.

Why do you want to go to Portland?

Because it's the beer capital of the United State? [laugh] Oh shut up. Look, shut up, you only just had your first beer that is half way decent. Like just had it, 20 minutes ago. Would you just relax? Thank you.

Yeah, beer is great. Yeah, it's exciting to learn about the hops and the grains and the this and the that, but you know what you got to learn before all of that? Before the shit that doesn't matter? Before the top 10 this, or the fucking Bro's say that or any of that?

No. What? No. Not that at ALL. Patience, dude. That's why I keep telling you to shut up, so you can hear what I'm trying to say.

Yes, I know I'm the furthest thing from sage-like, but I do have SOME wisdom. And that tasty little nugget, that one word, that singular utterance that has taught me the most. Patience. I understand that beer is really exciting, and that you just want to go all in.If anyone gets it, trust me, it's me. Lately though, I've learned more from a slow drink in a quiet place, than I have in all my neckbeard filled beer fests.

Neckbeards. Yeah. It's a term you'll come to learn.

Patience. It's really all I have to offer you. Beer is something that I can see getting excited about in all kinds of different facets, and just like there is a lot to get excited about, there is just as much to sit the fuck down and be patient about. But seeing as You are annoying the shit out of me, I'm just going to focus on the two most important ones. Well, at least important to me.

Like what? Well, one of the first things I learned to be patient with is my consumption. Not just in a "hey, slow down before you get all kinds of shit-faced!" Patient in a more, "hey, why don't you slow down and pay attention to what you're drinking." While I had been drinking for a while, and into craft for a while, the first beer that ever really spoke to me and made me pay attention was Otter Creek's "Stovepipe Porter." As I sat and drank it, with no intention other than enjoying the album I was listening to, the flavors really bloomed and made me stop what I was doing and take my time. With each sip, I let the beer sit in my mouth, rolling over my tongue while I tried to discern all the different flavors I was discovering. I sat with that one pint for nearly an hour, and it still stands as one of the best beers I have ever had.

Yeah, I know it's "only an Otter Creek" but there is more to beer than just drinking it. You'll learn that one day, but that's not what I'm trying to pound into your simple mind.

What album was I listening to? I think it was "Extraordinary Machine."

The last thing I'll tell you about, is-OH MY GO PUT YOUR FUCKING PHONE DOWN AND GET OFF OF BEER ADVOCATE! Beer Advocate is run by a couple of douche bags, and one of them has some wretched wife, and you really should stay far the fuck away from that site. I promise you, it wont do you much good. This though, ironically kind of filters into the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. Hype..but I mean, not HYPE...more...Ugh. Look, I know you see all this big exciting beers, all these rare beers, one-off and all that shit people are clamoring over one other to get their greedy little hands on.

I promise you, the super whaelz you want to get your hands on are very good. BUT...I also promise you that there are other beers available to you that are just as good. I guess that's where patience comes into this one. Spend some time drinking whats around you before you go out and attempt to trade away your first born from some Heady Topper or whatever you nerds are into these days. Besides, that Heady Topper? There are plenty of other easily available DIPAs that are just as good. Seriously, dude, just explore the beers that are available to you locally. I don't mean be the guy who is ALL LOCAL, ALL THE TIME! But your local beer store will have a pretty good selection, I bet. Play with that first. Find the flavors you like, find your style preference, hell, find a brewery that seems to play to your own tastes. but take your time doing it. Beer is always going to be there. There is no need to jump in liver first, buying up and consuming it all in one fell swoop. Beer is a really fun thing to discover if you just slow the fuck down and show a little restraint.

Get off those forums, and calm yourself. I promise, it may be some time not in the near future, but you will be able to come across any of those super raer beerz, you'll try it, and wonder "that's it?"

But in order to do that, you would have needed to stop fidgeting and be able to actually listen. But you didn't which explains why your stupid-ass is paying $40 for some bottle at a bar that is half that on the shelf.

What? No. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. So fucking what if it's 11% ABV. Higher ABV is not equal to better beer. Neither is higher price. Neither is IBUs. And lastly, neither is a line of dorks outside the brewery at 8 in the morning...But again, that kind of stuff is a lesson for another day.

This post is the second part of what will be multiple essays from a variety of Mid-Atlantic bloggers looking to offer one word of advice for those of us who might be new to "craft" beer. Check in with Oliver from Literature and Libation tomorrow to see what he thinks.

Other posts in this collaboration:
Doug from Baltimore Bistros and Beer on "Craft"
Oliver from Literature and Libation on "Reciprocate"
Andrew from Das Ale House on "Drink"

Bryan from This Is Why I’m Drunk  on "Live"
Josh from Short On Beer on "Journey"
Liz from Naptown Pint on "Relax"


The Sessions #90: I'm Liable To Bite Your Goddamn Ear Off.

Did you catch the fight last night? Oh man it was a knock down, drag out, dirty fight. Hipster Brewfus, a relative new-comer, took on The Beer Industry. was bloody.

In the first round, Hipster bobbed and weaved around his competitor, trying to get a feel for the speed and strength of his opponent. A few years ago, this fight would have been a bit easier to call from the beginning, but it's plain to see that Beer has certainly bulked up the last couple years, and we really had no idea how this would end. A few moments of dancing around the outside went by before Brewfus moved in for a quick jab at mediocre breweries. Oh, this is shaping up to be good- Hipster balances on his right foot, ducking the slow, lazy blows, and moves in deftly, his words hit before Beer even knows whats happening

So this is what our culture has come to? You brew a few decent batches of beer, and you think you've got what it takes to step to the plate among those who have earned their right to be here? You've got friends who tell you the beer is amazing, but in the same breath will tell you Yuengling is one of the best beers.

Yeah, I understand all brewers have to start somewhere, but you' re bringing absolutely nothing new to that plate. Oh, you make an IPA? Fantastic, it's half as good as any of the other 900 IPAs that are on the shelf right now. But your brother-in-law said it was one of the best beers he's ever had? You my friend, have an issue of people not being honest with you, or even knowing what the fuck they are talking about.

In this make believe bubble we are dealing with now, we have breweries popping up at an alarming rate. In the words of the great George Carlin, "there is bound to be a few winners, and a whole lot of losers."

And you know what? I'm rooting for the losers.

You got stars in your eyes, son. You see the explosion of craft beer, and you want in on it. I don't blame you, it seems like an easy cash grab, but you simply lack the skills and imagination to have any sort of impact.

Christ, that looked like it hurt. Brewfus danced back, and waited for the sound of the bell, not wanting to exhaust himself right off the bat.

At the start of the second round, Beer came out swinging!

More is better! You have to support local breweries! You love beer, you have to support it!

Beer certainly caught Brewfus off-guard, but he quickly composed himself, and while leading with his left hand, went in for the body...

Nope, that's where you are wrong, more IS NOT always better. Would you rather have 1000 mediocre breweries with a whole lot of the same, or 500 breweries who know what they're doing, and can make beers worth getting excited for?

And local breweries? Yeah, I'm all for them, when they are deserving of being supported. I'm not going to blindly pump my money into a business, just because they are down the road from me. That's just blind stupidity. I give my money to companies that deserve it, to companies that have shown hey make a product worth supporting, be it down the street, or across the continent. See that shelf there at your local beer store? That's your competition. You have to pit your 4 shitty, boring beers against a veritable plethora of choices of styles, flavors, and quality. You think you really have what it takes? Yeah, you're local, but you certainly aren't captivating.

I love beer, and as a consumer, I don't have to do shit other than support my preferences, and reward those who make a superior product, with my dollars.

Brewfus really put his body into those last few blows, and sent Beer sprawling. But just as soon as it hit the ground, Beer was right back up, reeling back, and about to lay it on Brewfus. Before any of that beating could happen, the bell rang, sounding the end of the second round. With a shit-eating grin, Brewfus glanced over at Beer and blew it a kiss, taunting it. Beer really needed to change it's approach, because it's became blatantly obvious, Brewfus was going for blood.

At the beginning of the third round, Brewfus hung back, wanting to see what Beer was going to do. With a speed we hadn't seen, Beer danced around Brewfus and smacked him with a hard right hook across the face...

I got a legion of bloggers, motherfucker. I got bloggers all over the world espousing the merits of how awesome I am! AND YOU ARE A BLOGGER! You dedicate your time, money, and energy to ME, to making sure I can be the best. How are you gonna start beating on me?

Finding solace against the ropes, getting out of Beers barrage of hits, Brewfus saw the blood dripping down his eye. Beer had drawn first blood, and had Brewfus confused.

Stumbling back across the mat, Brewfus went on the defense...

How am I going to start beating on you? Easily! Look at the amount of bloggers there are, and then look at the quality of writing coming from them. 

Brewfus seemed to be getting his bearings back as he pivoted and went back to throwing actual punches...

How many motherfuckers out there are just writing reviews? And how many of those reviews are painfully boring to read. You aren't engaging me, you aren't doing a damn thing to keep my attention. I have no reason to read you. A beer review? Edgy. Because there aren't literally thousands of reviews on any other rating site about whatever shelf beer you had last night. You want to talk about mouth-feel? Fuck your mouth-feel. How does the beer look? Who gives a shit? You are so painfully boring. Do something else, anything else. Show me why I should get excited for this beer. Tell me a story about this beer. Do a million other things than write your monosyllabic review of this beer that I could care less about. And while we are at it, step up your writing game. Use your imagination, use a thesaurus, use the plethora of information available at the tips of fingers to do something to make your writing unique. Have a voice. When you can write 1,000 words, and not have anything to say, there's a huge disconnect. 

With laser focus, and gritted teeth, Brewfus wasn't letting up...

And what the FUCK is the deal with crowd sourcing your Beer Blogger Conference vacation? Look, I went to the Beer Bloggers Conference in 2013, and as educational as it was, it was a vacation. To be more specific, a 3 day blur of booze, cheese, and a riotously good time. But I wouldn't ever have the lack of self-awareness and tact to ask OTHER people to send me across the country to get drunk. It's not for a "good cause" it's because you obviously didn't manage your money in a manner that allowed you the privilege to take the trip. It is not some sort of right. It's something you have to earn, something YOU have to make happen through your own means. The thought of you begging other people for money for this frivolous expense infuriates me to no end, and fuels my unrelenting attack on you.

You are shameless in your panhandling. And at the end of the day, you have nothing to offer to anyone who actually funds your trip. And the worst part is; THERE ARE PEOPLE FUNDING YOUR TRIP. I have almost as little respect for them, as I do for you. What do you have to offer to the people pouring money in your pocket? If you learned anything from your other trips, your blog would have improved by now, and it hasn't. Your words are still simplistic, and you still haven't offered anything to the world of beer blogging worth getting even slightly excited for.

Regardless of my feelings, you'll reach your goal, and people will call me some terrible things. Let them, because I can rest with the knowledge that when push came to shove, I knew I couldn't make the trip, and bowed out gracefully. I didn't make a mockery of both myself, and beer bloggers, by begging for money. Obviously, you haven't heard "No" enough times in your life. You have no humility. You got a free fucking ride last year, and what? You just thought "Well shit, I'll do it again?"

Fuck. You.

You don't deserve this, you haven't earned this, and all I can do is hope for your failure in this endeavor, Active Beer Geek. Maybe you can take the money you earn, and invest in some classes about fiscal responsibility. And then perhaps learn how to set a goal, and achieve it through hard work, and a bit of frugality.

You know what most people do when they cant afford something they want (and not need)? Go without it. Your preponderance shows that you are obviously above the means of us normal people.

At this point the crowd was on their feet as Beer swayed stupidly, and collapsed onto itself in a puddle on the mat.

Brewfus didn't wait around, and as the count neared 10, and the final bell rang, he had already tossed off his gloves, and disappeared, headed back to his room.

You know, we all thought that was the last we would see of him, until he stormed in on the post-fight press conference, grabbing the microphone, and jabbing an angry finger at the crowd. What he said, pretty much took the breath right out of the audience.

"Look, you all seem to live in this happy-go-lucky word, where nothing bad is ever made, all the beer is good beer, and everyone should praise everything. Well fuck that. That is not a world I want to live in, and I will happily burn any bridge to that world that I am connected to. Too many of you are full of shit, and you're sitting there gripping your phone, laying on praise where it doesn't deserve to have the faintest hint of existence. You ride these breweries dicks hard, but we all know what you want. What you've been secretly hoping for the whole time. Probably one of the reasons you got into this in the first place; free shit. I suppose I can't argue your logic though. If you jerk anything off long enough, you're going to get whats coming to you.

Apparently I missed the memo though, because I've learned that with a whole lot of no hard work, a half-assed video, nothing to offer, and an upturned palm, you can get pretty far.

The only way things get better, is when you get rid of all the bullshit that is plaguing it. But the craft beer world seems to think that piling it on instead, is the answer."

After that, he dropped the proverbial mic, and walked out the way he came, leaving us all slack-jawed, and stupid-eyed. I can not wait for the rematch.


The Session #90: Beer Fight Club

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. Bill, The self proclaimed "Pittsburgh Beer Snob" was your host last month, and much like his chosen topic, he is now history.

I am Hipster Brewfus. A lot of you know what I'm about. What you don't know, is that I am incredibly bored by the happy-go-lucky nature of beer blogging. This is my opportunity to force you out of your comfort zone, and inject a little bit of hostility into this beer-laden world of sunshine and rainbows. It's time to knuckle up.

The idea for this session stemmed from a couple of few places. The first being my first experience with a bottle of Stone Brewing Vertical Epic 11-11-11. I have never wanted to punch a beer so hard in its glassy face before. The second item is my growing frustration with the general acceptance that all craft beer is good beer, and that any hint of negativity will do damage to our burgeoning scene. Lastly, a lot of the topics on The Session lately have been pretty unimaginative, uninspired, and uninteresting. 

The premise is this:

Have you ever drank a beer that became a battle, more than an enjoyable experience? Maybe a beer that was far bigger than you had anticipated? Something you felt determined to drink, just so you can say you conquered that son of a bitch, and you are all that is powerful. Or perhaps it is something that is just so bad, all you want to do is slap it around a bit. Or maybe you were on the verge of passing out, but you just wanted that one last beer, and the valiant struggle between taste bud fulfillment and the velvety embrace of sleep that ensued.

You picking up what I'm putting down?

It's time put down whatever praise you were about to dole out, and serve up a nice can of ass whupping.

More info can be found here: The Sessions


Super Ticket Giveaway So You can get Drunk Outdoors And Pass Out In The Hot Sun

I'm keeping this short and sweet. I have a buttload of tickets to giveaway to this years Annapolis Craft beer & Music Festival.

Every Friday until September 12th, I will be giving out pairs of tickets. You win, your name goes on a list, you pick up your tickets t the event office the day of the event, and you have a great time, at a great beer fest.

Here is the schedule as of now, for the giveaway MADNESS

July 11th (2 Tickets) - Beer Haiku Winner picked!

July 18th (2 Tickets) - Brewfus Drawing (Draw a one panel caricature of me. Make it stupid as hell, I don't care. not looking for incredible artistry, just something funny. It could be a stick figure for all I care). Tag #hipsterbrewfus on Instagram, Twitter or post the picture to my Facebook page! Winner Picked!

July 25th (2 Tickets) Random drawing! Winner Picked!

August 15th (2 Pairs Of Tickets) - All I want is your best anagram of "Hipster Brewfus!" And you cant use "Burp Fewer Shits" because I already figured that one out, and it's totally awesome. (2) Winners will get picked today!

August 22nd (2 Tickets) - ???
August 29th (2 Tickets) - ???

September 5th (2 Tickets) - ???
September 12th (4 Tickets) - ???

As you can see, I'm still in the "how should I give stuff away??" phase. All entries are viable through e-mail (, Facebook (/HipsterBrewfusBlog), Twitter (@hipsterbrewfus), and Instagram (@hipsterbrewfus).

Good luck!

More info about the fest can be found here:

And my Roundup of last years event:


Brewfus' Definitive Food Pairing Guide

Now look, for the last two years I've been trying to get you all to realize that I do have a semblance of seriousness when it comes to this whole craft beer thing. To do this, I decided to go on a bit of a hiatus and really dig down deep and try to lay a finger upon what it is I need to do to show that I am indeed a force to reckon with in this industry. So what conclusion did I come up with?

Food pairings, yo!

Seriously, what better way to show you that A) craft beer is serious business, and B) I know what the hell I'm talking about!? To do that, I spoke with all the experts in the world, and broke it down by which style best pairs with which kind of food item. I put a lot of man hours into this, but now you have a quick reference guide when you're out and about and think to yourself "what will go well with this sweaty 7-11 hot-dog?"

Kölsch, Cream Ale, Blonde Ale:

Try a burrito.

British-Style Bitter:

Try a burrito.

Pale Ale:

Try a burrito.

India Pale Ale:

Try a burrito.

Double/Imperial IPA:

Try a burrito.

Amber/Red Ale:

Try a burrito.

Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy:

Try a burrito.

Brown Ale/Altbier:

Try a burrito.

Abbey Dubbel:

Put this in your mouth and eat it.

Abbey Tripel, Strong Golden Ale:

You could try a soft taco, or a "Burrito that couldn't commit."

Old or Strong Ale:

Though nachos might be more appropriate.

Barley Wine:

Nah, fuck that. Burritos.


I don't care what's in it, as long as its wrapped in a warm tortilla

Dry Stout:

Haaaaave you met my friend Burrito?

Sweet or Oatmeal Stout:

And his friend, burrito?

Imperial Stout:

When I'm done eating a burrito, I like to wash it down with another burrito.


You know what burritos pair well with? More burritos.

American Wheat Ale:

For now on, all future beer reviews will earn a score from 1 to 5 burritos.

American Table Beer:

My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen burrito, I said "No, but I want a regular burrito later, so "Yeah."


Oh burrito, you so fine, you fine you blow my mind.


Halfway through writing this, I went and got lunch.


And then I got a burrito.

Classic Pilsner:

"A burrito is just a sleeping bag for ground beef"

Helles, Dortmunder:

Have you ever met someone who doesn't like burritos?

Oktoberfest, M arzen, Vienna:

If you have, you should bludgeon them to death.

Amber Lager:


Dark Lager, Dunkel, Schwarzbier:

You know who hated burritos?

Maibock/Pale Bock:

Hitler. That is who.


So eat a burrito, with all of your beers.

Oud Bruin, Flanders, Gueze, Wild Ale, Lambic:

Because even little hamsters love burritos.

Because the only way to get credibility in this game, is to put some food on that shit. Beer is as good as wine, right?

I got fries on it.


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I Want To Break Free

"I've fallen in love
I've fallen in love for the first time

And this time I know it's for real
I've fallen in love, yeah
God knows, God knows I've fallen in love."

When I first emailed Justin Bonner, the owner of Jailbreak Brewing Company, I never thought that inside of a year, I would be able to bear witness to the birth of a brewery that will certainly break free from the confines of any other normal brewery. But it's true. When Jailbreak opens its doors to the public, the craft beer scene in Maryland is going to become it's bitch.

Their tap handle!

I've had the luxury of being invited to Justin's house, and spending time with him and the rest of the Jailbreak crew while they practiced nailing down some recipes. It was here I was able to see what Ryan Harvey (Jailbreak's Brewmaster with an impressive resume) had "brewing" in his mind. Turns out...It's a lot. And not only is it a lot, it's so different. I was able to sample things like a blackberry wheat, a chocolate coconut porter (my personal favorite), and...well...these:

That Carrot Cake beer was unlike anything you have ever had. I promise.

Look, how many breweries have opened and you've thought "Yeah, awesome! A new brewery!" Only to go and see nothing special. A pale ale. A stout. Maybe a porter. But nothing with any real spirit. No real heart. Nothing to get really excited about. But at their new location, they already they have their batch of "Made Wit Basil" (a witbier brewed with fresh, chopped basil) kegged and ready to go. They also have "Big Punisher" their Double IPA, and while I was there last, they were finishing up brewing their Jalapeno IPA, and there was a blow-off bucket bubbling away with what I'm told is some cherry stout concoction. Yeah, I said it.

"Made Wit Basil." See, they even appreciate a good pun!

You and I both know that these are the kinds of beers that an established brewery will put out after its already gotten itself solidified. And these guys are having these on tap, at opening. That is ballsy. And I stand behind them 100% in this decision. Jailbreak is coming out swinging.

Look, the truth is, I started writing this blog post a long time ago. This is one piece I have struggled with. I want nothing more than to highlight Jailbreak in a light of positivity that they absolutely deserve. Am I kissing their ass? Maybe. It's hard to tell. I've developed a friendship with each person (Casey, Ryan, Erica, and Justin) involved in Jailbreak, I've shared beers at the owners house, I've been privy to seeing Jailbreak develop and grow, and even helped out with some CAD work so they can move along with the approval process from the state. I've put a lot of my own personal time into helping them. And I couldn't be more happier than to have done that, and I would again in a heart beat. And with all that, while I don't have anything to lose when it comes to Jailbreak, Maryland and Craft Beer as a whole, have everything to gain from their existence.

Do I love Jailbreak Brewing? Yes. And I will defend them with a fervent belligerence I save for only my most intoxicated and passionate rants on Twitter.

And before you try their beer, go to the bathroom and wash your hands.
Their faucets are magic.