Archive for the ‘beer blogs’ Category

Down the Rabbit Hole
January 20, 2011

The European Beer Bloggers Conference?

Now that I have escaped London I can look on it as Alice might, wandering past the rabbit hole.  The six years I spent there are more solid than a wild dream, but no less strange.  London still holds for me a kind of bland terror spiked with moments of thrall. Often my time there felt as if I were pleading my case to an unseen tyrannical force full of whimsy and danger, not unlike the King and Queen of Hearts.

But was there ever such a labyrinth of surprises as London?  Not in my life.

So it was with a keen sense of timing that I sampled BrewDog’s version of that quintessential of London brews, the porter.  That it’s named it after the blue-skirted adventuress, Alice, makes it all the more fitting to sample before my return.  Alice Porter is as surprising as I’d hoped, with a big tart cherry nose straight out of the bottle and shifting notes of bitter chocolate, pollen-like hop florals and a bit of pleasant mineral tang all topped with a bruise-dark cherry sweetness.

I’m going back to London Friday for a day, hopefully having a pint or two at the Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington and saying hello to a pizzled dragon or two guarding the city before making my speedy return.

And I will return again, certainly, in May, for the Beer Bloggers conference.  Now if I could only find the right rabbit hole to get me to the conference in Portland in August…

The Meta Post
May 5, 2010

I have let this blog atrophy.  I’m not a competitive person but I’ll admit I was a little sad at not even making the top 20 wikio rankings this month. (If  Stonch can have a zombie blog, why can’t I?) The very inclusion in that list denotes a closed circuit: other beer bloggers must read and link to this blog for it to be included, and I need to keep writing.

But do I?  This is not a plea for inclusion or encouragement, but a searching aloud.  I never intended this blog to be read by other beer obsessives.  To my delight I have found the community of UK beer bloggers to be really welcoming, fun people, but my purpose with this blog as it grew was to turn casual beer drinkers or even non-beer drinkers on to the marvel that is beer by communicating the context– the specific social moment.  Beer is a genius locii– to drink it is to get to know where ever you find yourself.

I have written about bottles I’ve drunk in my flat all alone, but is it interesting? And for a time I was starting a new career which was quite physically and emotionally rigorous– the exact opposite of an office job.  The last thing I wanted when I was done for the day was a drink that I then had to write about.  Though also during that time I would look at my neglected Google feed and see 500+ beer posts I hadn’t read and I would despair.  I had completely fallen away from this community I’d really come to love, but it also made me wonder where everyone found the time to read all the other blogs and continue to write themselves.

There is an unhealthy notion that if you have a blog you must keep it current.  The  “Blog or Die” attitude is a problem.  Why keep talking if you have nothing to say?  What is an online persona anyway and why do I need one?  If you stop talking, does your persona die?  In any blogging sphere there is the fantasy that a blog can be a stepping stone to some other media opportunity, some professional gig, instant internet stardom.  If that ambition can’t involve productive silence every once in a while, then something’s wrong.

As I wonder about all of this, beer bloggers get a challenge from Pete Brown to up the ante, take risks and make the beer blog matter.  I’ve never shied away from a challenge.

April 21, 2009

2433560912_60e29d1dd0_oA year ago I started this blog after the prompting of my friend Milla.  At the time I thought I would only be documenting my beery adventures in Europe and the UK for a few friends back in the US.  I hadn’t yet considered brewing my own beer.  I wouldn’t have forseen the possibility that a year in, an international group of beer hounds might be reading.

Daily I’m amazed at the traffic this blog receives, and the wonderful people I’ve met through it.  Though it was a rocky start with some surprising hostilities, I’m grateful to the beer blogging community, most notably Jeff/Stonch and Pete Brown who originally pointed readers my way.  Beer lovers remain in my mind a group of eccentric sensualists who pursue their strange love in fascinating ways.  Just when I think I’ve run out of things to say about beer, I’ll read Boak and Bailey, Mark at Pencil and Spoon, Ron at S.U.A.B.P. (He might hate this acronym) or Wortwurst and they will renew my wonder at the ways we can talk about this simple drink.

I never wanted this blog to be a list of tasting notes, or some kind of culinary meditation on the good life.  Other people do that much better than I. Beer is a forbidden fruit, something some would say that as a woman I’m not supposed to like or be seen drinking.  It’s the contrarian in me that has continued this blog even when it was unpleasant to do so.   In searching for the infinite variety of this ancient brew I’ve ventured to places I never would have found otherwise: pagan pub crawls, dodgy taverns, village fetes and even the desolate cliffs of the Outer Hebrides.  Along the way I’ve met many kindred souls who’ve made a life drinking, making, and chasing the stuff. I’m glad to know you.


September 20, 2008

Since around May of this year this blog has received countless comments basically telling me I’m stupid and that I should just shut up.

Some friends have said publishing these comments exposes the commenter as the jerk they are.  Some fellow beer bloggers have even implied that not posting comments is censorship. But this assumes these comments are part of a discussion, which they are not.  Trolls never want to discuss anything.

I’ve considered shutting this blog down a few times because I’m tired of dealing with it.  But then I realized this is the state of the blogsphere: comments give space to small people with typing skills, cowards who are threatened by the voice blogs give to people they normally don’t have to deal with, and though the “controversy” may make the hit count soar, I’m not interested in that.

Apparently this is not an isolated case:

Internet Harassment of Women

Feminist Bloggers Face Online Harassment

Misogyny Bares its Teeth on the Internet

How the Web Became a Sexists’ Paradise

This is my blog, and it is public, but it is also private: it’s about me, an actual person– a woman who likes beer and who’s going to keep writing about it.