Sunday, 9 December 2012
Rob's Beer Quest Celebrates Blog Post 300!
Well I finally made it to post 300. You could say for over four and a half years it's not a great number of posts. But hey I made the score and I'm still blogging, call me the Geoff Boycott of beer blogging. But I can tell you it's been quite a journey.
A lot has changed since the early days of beer blogging. Beer blogger numbers seemed to have multiplied several fold, and plenty of them have thrown in the towel. Subject matters have changed and the hype and fanfare the beer-blogging world used to have about it seems to have faded off a tad. Beer blogging it seems almost had its period of adolescence, a period of thriving. Back when it was all about the next new Brew Dog release, the next new Thornbridge brew. Collaborative brews. Beer and food FABPOW! Why CAMRA have got it all wrong, why the government has got it all wrong, why these Brew Dog gimmicks are getting so tiring. Why beer should be featured on more TV shows like Saturday Kitchen and hey it's Christmas what beer is the ultimate pairing for Christmas dinner? What are we brewing this week? Pete Brown knows the score, he reads between the lines (Wikio ranked number 1 undefeated champ and overall beer blogging messiah) BACK DOWN GOVERNMENT SCUM! Cask vs Keg, Wine vs Beer and that old time Punch and Judy like pantomime between Woolpacker Dave and the legend that is Cooking Lager.
Since then things seemed to calmed down. The UK seemed to have been swamped with such an array of new brewing ventures and new beers that it's hard to keep up. For most of the old pre-2009 bloggers it's all 'seen it before' or everything's similar to what's already gone before. What would once be a big boundary-breaking, innovative brew to capture the imagination of the beer blogging community now gets a fraction of the limelight a 'well that's interesting' and then we move on. But at the end of the day it was always about improving consumer choice. Recently I've seen a few veterans turning back to appreciate non-contemporary orthodox beers.
But aside from blogging things have changed massively since way back then in 2008. Back then I was a Heriot-Watt post grad with a notebook reviewing beers and taking head brewers autographs. Now I am the head brewer, and for a local brewery I have always been fond of with my own personalised side project in Panda Frog and a contingency plan in young future assistant brewer baby Susie (the brewing force is strong). The notepad and the autographs are no more (the ultimate turning point was getting my own autograph back in post 200) and I've grown to understand more and more that a head brewer does way more than just turn up, brew beer and go home. Over time I find myself thinking more and more like my old mentor Craig from Daleside (although when things go wrong there isn't stream of hot steam coming out of a bald patch at the back of me head).
My job is cool. Double brew day, 4:30am. Rain, ice, snow. The almost therapeutic influence of the brewing process. The nice warming effect of shovelling out hot spent grain from the mash tun. The office staff are great fun whilst the two brothers Matt and Gary make all the decisions. Although if both decisions are contradicting the lights go down, we go to deadlock and turn to the public vote.
Wash some casks, count some stock, fill some casks, empty another fermenter and oh look a film crew have randomly turned up. I once remember poking my head out from the mill area to find Matt introducing a crowd of 30-40 college students to me. All forty odd pairs of eyes staring up at me expectantly I was tempted to come out with "He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!". It's all great fun and at the end of the day it's all about the beer.
Anyway, enough of that, back to the twelve (slightly more budget than previous years) beers of Christmas.