That Was 2012: The Blogs, The People
In lieu of a Golden Pints post this year I just thought I’d get some thoughts down in respect of the beers (see previous post), and now, the blogs. I remain, as you’ll see, a staunch optimist about blogging, despite the number of beer blogs out there seemingly increasing day by day. I’m pretty ambivalent towards this, and feel that – as long as people read your work – then you’ve got enough reason to keep going. Blogging, much like drinking great beer, isn’t exclusive. If everyone’s doing it, then surely that means- in a roundabout way – more people are drinking beer – and that’s what we want, no?
I must say, however, that a recent conversation with a friend and fellow blogger revealed that actually, when I think about it, I’m still reading pretty much the same blogs every post that I was when I started, with a few notable additions. Is that a problem? Is it that I’m lazy or stuck-in-the-mud? Am I unaware of a whole new world out there that could amaze me? Perhaps. That’s for me to explore in 2013, I guess. I want quality, rather than quantity, I think.
So (I can hear you asking) – what are you reading?
Well, to reiterate a point that many have made in the Golden Pints, Boak & Bailey’s blog has been wonderful this year. The balance is excellent between stats (and I am not a stat man), insight, grumbles, observations, journal and exclamations of joy. The last part is important. Thanks ,guys, and good luck with the book.
I find myself agreeing with Tandleman more these days. I’m not sure why this is; or whether it’s a good or bad (!) thing. I think his blog has got an excellent balance these days, personally, and I read every post now. Blogs like this and this were incredibly refreshing and really ‘cut through the chatter’ on a thorny, much-discussed matter. I met Pete for the first time at a Twissup, and was pleased to see him at the Beer Blogger’s Conference. We had a good chat, and maybe this has led to me seeing his blog in a new way. It makes a big difference, meeting a blogger personally that you’ve read for a while. Again, I’ll touch on that later on.
I don’t often go in for straight-up review blogs, preferring instead to dip in and out depending on what beer is being featured, but a couple deserve a mention here. CAMRGB’s tasting notes are excellent; ever-so-slightly over the top but in a really ,really good way. Tasting notes that make me want to read. Then go out and buy the beer. Surely that, friends, is the point? Also, Sheriff Mitchell’s commitment to tasting a beer a day has been really commendable; pulling a stunt like that and making something actually readable, informative and interesting is some feat, and he’s pulled it off. Not many do. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s going to do in 2013.
Will Hawkes’ work on the Independent blog has been blinding – this piece on french brewing was possibly my favourite post of the year on any blog. Winning a Guild award for his work on Craft Beer London was deserved, but how his writing got overlooked, I don’t know.
Finally, I find the wide-eyed enthusiasm of Phil and Bierebelle really, really invigorating. These are people discovering beer and exploring it with gusto – something I want to read about and share in, frankly. Dogs in Pubs is not only a blog with a subject close to my heart, but it’s such a lovely, simple idea it makes you wonder why it’s not been done before. An essential document of a particularly singular aspect of Pub life, if you ask me.
I have gripes, yes – mostly about people not blogging enough! Yes, I’m looking at you, Real Ale Reviews, Beer Birra Bier, HopZine (more video interviews, please Rob!) and Beer Reviews. I’ll let Zak off, I know he’s a busy bloke these days – but I do miss his regular blogging.
Anyway, there’s some bloody excellent blogs out there, and I’m always honoured to be a part of the community.
Finally, I’d just like to say that it’s been a pleasure actually meeting people this year – from the Beer Bloggers Conference (thanks to everyone that made the Leeds pub crawl such fun), Twissups, Festivals and various jaunts up and down the country. People seem to generally be as hard working and genuinely friendly in real life as they are ‘behind the screen’ and you’re reminded of that when you’re sat in a pub, laughing and talking about things other than beer*.
You know, as normal people do. That, my friends, is the true test.
*Except Garrett Oliver. Meeting and eating with Garrett was a pleasure, and Christ, can that man talk about beer. And you can’t stop listening – in a good way.