Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Rob's Beer Quest celebrates post 100!

With another beer...

Ahh, delicious wholesome beery nectar.

Meet Blue Monkey breweries Three Wise Monkeys. The pump clip depicts the faces of political party leaders Cameron, Brown and Nick Clegg. A rich amber in colour, with delicious bready marmalady nourishing depth neatly intertwining with resiny, citrucy hops. A beer to celebrate this 100th post, it sure fits the bill. OK its not aged in berry filled oak casks and spiked with brettanomyces. Or triple fermented with a Belgian ale yeast before being freeze distilled. Or matured with banana, vanilla pods and clove in lagering vessels. This is a straight forward well crafted cask conditioned pint, and I find it rather delightful.

When I first started blogging I thought there was maybe a dozen or so other beer bloggers out there, and the great blogs from Ed, Woolpacker Dave and a few others were the main ones. But it turns out there are hundreds of them maybe even thousands. Every week I seem to stumble across another few beer blogs. Reviewing beer, pubs or musing about the industry. There have even been recent blog posts about why different people blog about beer. For me my beer blog is an outlet for both my passion and desires to occasionally write random bollocks about stuff I find mildly amusing.

Before this blog I could only ramble on to friends, family and others about beer/brewing and the beer industry in a kind of 'I'm the only beer geek/obsessed nutter in this village' kind of way. But as it appears, there are more beer obsessed folk out their than I first thought, finding them on the Internet is good, but finding them in real life is far more interesting.

The beer blogging world moves like soap opera, sometimes the bloggers are part of the story, like when Woolpacker Dave finally sold his pub to get his own brewery (very moving). Other times it's various bloggers opinions on big industry news. Recently I have noticed a little turbulence in the blogging world spurred by a recent post by number one rated blogger Pete Brown. This post opens with the Wikio beer blogger rankings before basically going on to assume that the beer blogging world is stagnating, becoming too repetitive. But then the backlash from numerous other bloggers to this was huge.

To me this situation reminds me thoroughly of a similar power position encountered by the character of heavyweight boxing champion Mason Dixon, in the recent 2006 film 'Rocky Balboa', the sixth instalment of the Rocky saga. In the film the seemingly unbeatable Mason Dixon feels unchallenged, king of the hill, like everyone else has something to learn from him. That's until the retired boxing legend Rocky Balboa steps up to the highly controversial challenge. I won't give away the ending, it's gripping stuff.

But the main exception between the film and the blogging world is there is no character comparable to Rocky Balboa in beer blogging, unless our highly influential but deceased Michael Jackson beer hunter came back to life in some kind of undead form to create a beer blog so popular in so little time it knocked Pete swiftly off number one spot. This may be possible with the help a Shaman and some dark voodoo rituals, or maybe signing up to weraiseanydeadperson.com. But I don't think it's gonna happen. However we do have Mark Dredge, too young to be a Rocky but from recent debates seems more like the happy friendly blogger, the blogger for the bloggers, a kind of blogger ring leader that doesn't really lead.

But hell what am I talking about. I don't wanna diss Pete Brown, I actually like the man. His blog is not number one for its concise well written depictions of the industry. But its writing style. Like his books Pete writes for everyone and anyone with the slightest interest. No elaborate tasting notes, or numerous pictures of different beers to make the average Joe glaze over. You see where I'm coming from?

So to reflect on this milestone, this 100th post, what exactly have I learned so far on this beer quest? Sure I have tried many more different beers and learned a bit more about the industry. But a big thing I have discovered about beer blogging is it's more than just about running a stand alone blog, it's almost like becoming part of an ever changing society of beer bloggers. Each one with his or her own opinions and ideas. From this world of beer blogging, the 'blogoshere' some may call it I have learned the following;

- Stockpiling expensive vintage beers away for years and years just for the value of being able to show off about what you have in the cellar has less meaning than opening and enjoying the stuff in its best form.

- From the other bloggers I have learned taking beer drinking too seriously isn't always best. Once you have good beer and good company, you're basically sorted for a night.

- That the real enemies of craft brewing are the prohibitionists and governments that support them, not the big brewers. The multinational mega brewers can knock out multimillion pound advertised bland product after product all they want, real beer has a real following, from real people.

- Well crafted beer pairs extraordinarily well with artisanal cheese. A well underrated partnership.

- Beer means something slightly different to different people. To some it is a luxury product, others a staple drink, others feel more deeply about its meanings. Not everyone takes it so seriously, but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy it.

- Advocating beer is not about arrogance, it's about letting others gently into the world of craft beer and communicating beer knowledge to those interested.

- Embracing great beer is not just about embracing great beer. Great beer is but a jigsaw piece amongst artisanal food, culture, entertainment and other beverages. It's about good food, good drink, great company, living well and enjoying life.

A while back I considered trying out as proper beer writer. Technically I am as I write beer reviews for the Northumberland Gazette supplement on a monthly basis. But maybe write a book, like '10,001 beers to try before your twent five' or something. But to be honest I prefer brewing and drinking beer than writing about it. I hope you have enjoyed my 100th post. To finish I will leave you with my favourite short video of all time. I apologise to all bloggers that this is a totally dated video, but to me, it's timeless and good to watch when I feel inspired.

I Am A Craft Brewer - Keynote Version from I Am A Craft Brewer on Vimeo.

I totally helped brew one of these beers!


Ed said...

Congratualations Rob!

Mark said...

Nice post Rob! I like the "a big thing I have discovered about beer blogging is it's more than just about running a stand alone blog, it's almost like becoming part of an ever changing society of beer bloggers." That's nice.

Good points raised too and the final line totally works!

Rob said...

Cheers Mark. The Brew-I force is strong with you I know it.

ChrisM said...

Congrats, Rob. I particularly enjoyed your summing up of what you've learnt, especially 'Embracing great beer is not just about embracing great beer. Great beer is but a jigsaw piece amongst artisanal food, culture, entertainment and other beverages. It's about good food, good drink, great company, living well and enjoying life.'

As an aside I posted a photo of the Blue Monkey pump clip here: http://pubsandbeer.blogspot.com/2010/05/pump-clips.html

Rob said...

Cheers Chris. But I didn't know you were a blogger now aswell. Good move.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.

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