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