Sunday 4 October 2009

Why I write a beer blog

It’s not about beer. It’s about people; beer provides the context.

It’s for me to write and read and think every day. I write so that I can become a better writer, so that I can think about things in a different way, learn different perspectives and put my words to my experiences. That’s the challenge: it’s about describing the sensation of the senses; describing feelings and actions that are so natural and casual that we don’t even know they are there.

I don’t just write tasting notes because I can read them on ratebeer or wherever. I want to write about other stuff because beer is more than just how it tastes. I want to drink more beer, better beer. I’m happy to drink shit beer too, why not.

I love reading other blogs. I read them all. I don’t always comment, but every morning and evening I read them.

I blog to drink. I drink to blog.

I don’t know everything about beer. I don't know that much. I know enough. I’m learning more every day.

It’s a personal thing. A kind-of diary.

I wax lyrical. I write in unbalanced ways, it doesn’t matter. I’m pretty emotive. Nearly always positive. Over-passionate, perhaps. So what? I come up with frivolous ideas, An As-Live FAB POW! anyone? I write first, think second: write with your heart, re-write with your head.

I write things so other people will think. I hope they will comment. Comments are where blogs come alive, that’s where the interesting things are said, the disagreement, differences in opinion, sideways conversations.

I try to be different. I can write in a different style with my beer stuff to everything else that I do; I can be informal, colloquial, hell I can even make up words and generally disregard rigid punctuation. I can swear, if I like. It’s liberating. Or I can sit down and try and be articulate and precise and thorough. I can write what I want and how I want. Freedom of speech, and all that.

I’m not a journalist. I don’t want to be a journalist. I seldom write about news because others do it better. I have no expectations from the blog. I don’t think I’ll make my fortune as a beer writer. But I do take this blog seriously. I won’t put up a post that I think is crap. Sometimes I’ll write a post and then it stays on my computer for months before it’s ready to go. I wrote a draft of this post ages ago. It feels like a good time to get it out.

I just want to write things which people read and enjoy.

Beer means a lot to me, sharing it with people means more; this blog is about sharing.

If you blog, then why?


  1. Great post - well articulated. I write for me - to try and navigate the words to try and describe something almost indescribable. I blog to start conversations. I blog to remember what I thought of something, I blog to see what others thought of something, I blog to get new ideas and new suggestions, and to meet other passionate people. Keep writing :) -The Beer Babe The Beer

  2. Hey Beer Babe, this is another reason I love blogging and the comments - you can always rely on someone saying something that you hadn't thought of earlier!

  3. We're on opposite sides of the spectrum. To this very day, I still don't know why people blog about beer. I just don't get it, thus The Chronicles. There are some interesting characters in the world of beer, I'll give the few, kudos. Other than that, I'd rather have a laugh in drunken mayhem. Sipping beer from wine glasses, beer video reviews, intellectualizing, are all open to a fire ball of rage that would make Caligula proud!

  4. I blog simply because it gives me something to do and stay connected with a broader beer world since I moved to Germany. It's a kind of excuse (not that I really need one) to keep me trying new beers, and to keep trying to get my colleagues to try non-German stuff, and is probably something to do with not going out enough. But I blame anti-social Germans. If I was still in Dublin I would probably not be blogging :D. I kind of enjoy it though, as it takes me away from the technical and work writing stuff I do most every day. I don't tackle news or larger themes simply because I'm far, far too lazy.

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  6. I'm not sure I'd blog if there was a general beer forum like there is Jim's beer kit for homebrewing.

    It seems to be reading and commenting on blogs is how beer nerds mainly communicate with each other.

  7. Why? I'm trying to answer that for myself right now.....

  8. Great post Mark,

    I was pondering this topic myself. You're spot-on when you say that blogging is a way to bring people with shared interests together. It is a way for me to 'experience' beers that I would never hear about in Australia otherwise. I can also get real opinions on beers available here, without having to rely on the brewer's label notes.

    I also feel that if I ever get to travel to the UK, Germany, the States or any other country in which I have made 'friends', I can be assured of some quality company in a decent pub!

    Prof. Pilsner

  9. I blog to fill in the last 15 mins of my lunch hour. I don't put a lot of effort into it, just stream of thought and a quick pass through the spell checker.

    I don't really feel the need to blog just about beer anymore, it gets kind of one dimensional. Its a medium that people take a little too seriously. I never even knew there were other poeple blogging about beer until they stared posting comments on my blog.

  10. Right, compiling the comments I think it ultimately comes down to something this: we blog about beer to be able to drink these virtual pints with each other, ask each other how the beer is and what they've been up to. Simple. Right?

    Prof. Pilsner gets it bang-on: we've got mates all over the world to drink with now.

  11. I started a beerblog to accommodate this passion and the opportunity to learn and share ideas with others ;)
    Actually I started my blog as a sort of "diary of the newbie" recording my own discover of the beer world, homebrewing and great products. Obviously getting in touch with people who share the same goal or "mentors" wo can help and suggest new reads, purchases and so on are greatly welcome :)
    Why don't I blog in a more international english and decided to stay mono-country oriented ? Because the lack of beer culture here is evident, and good beer diffusion ( knowledge and therefore consumption ) really need a "push" bottom up and not the opposite.
    Also, there are a lot of great international beerblogs ( such as Pancil and Spoon ;) ), I read them (almost) all and they give me a nice view of the world beer scene.
    Oh, and I really think comments on blogs are where the fun starts too! :D

  12. Re: "...we blog about beer to be able to drink these virtual pints with each other, ask each other how the beer is and what they've been up to."

    So... beer blogging is a bit like going down the pub for a few beers with your mates, only you don't all have to be at the same pub at the same time. Or even be in the same timezone, come to think of it.

    Sounds great. What's not to like?

  13. I kind of agree with the Beer Babe. I also agree with Barry. I'm retired. It's a hobby really, plus a chance to exchange views and ideas with other people though I'd like many more comments from "ordinary" readers rather than blogger readers. I am also slightly concerned about the competitive edge that is egged on by Wikio. Once you are up there, you don't want to slip - it's a human nature thing - and that puts pressure on which has no place in fun.

    Of course there is the "virtual beer" thing and it's good to make new friends. All the bloggers I've met are good people and we all have a different take on beer and blogging, though one aspect I don't like is too much intellectualising about beer. It can then become to me at least, an exercise in smartarseism.

    So for me a hobby, not a step to a career, or to promote a business or product, though of course by doing it I am I suppose promoting something, if only me. (And, I like to think, beer, cask beer and pubs.)

    Pubs of course. Always pubs, because for me that's the place to drink beer the vast majority of the time, whether it be the quiet contemplative pint, or with a load of friends. Whether exotic hoppy pale ales or just a pint of cooking bitter, I always enjoy the pub most and try and convey that in what I write.

  14. I started blogging in the summer of 2008 in an effort to publicise
    some of my work as a CAMRA Regional Director seen by many as a dark art - I hope that I made evidently clear with that openness that there is no hidden agenda regarding CAMRA pub of the year, Good Beer Guide selection, beer festivals, CAMRA policies etc etc - although there were plenty who did not appreciate such a public airing.
    Now as a former RD, I am having trouble leaving the blog behind. Despite falling from 39 to 40 in the latest Wikio ranking, an abject failure, I still keep writing, sharing my beer life with others and interacting with all of the other beer drinkers on "the scene" Hopefully I continue to have something to contribute. Cheers all. Steve

  15. I've been asked this myself recently, and will be doing a post in few weeks with my response...

  16. Luca, maybe you could put one or two posts in English so we know what you are saying?!

    Darren, beer blogging is exactly like going to the pub with a few mates, just you can drink what you like, say what you like!

    Tandleman, non-blogger comments would be good, I know what you mean. And what's wrong with a little smartarseism?! :)

    Steve, interesting how your blog has developed now and it's a great read!

    Leigh, I look forward to it.

  17. great post Mark!
    I write to promote my beers alot of people would never have heard of Crown if it wasn't for blogging
    blogging and tweeting

  18. I write my blog & tweet my tweets as I want some way of remembering if that good looking bottle of ale really was good.

    I've been burnt too many times by the 'yes, I think this must have been nice' - only to be very disappointed later that evening!

    It's also that supermarket ale offers are quite under-served on the internet and I want to pass on my tips for getting quality bottled ale for bargain basement prices!

    Check it out and let me know what you think at:

  19. It's a hobby, my written English keeps getting better when I blog regularly.
    But, as others ahve pointed out, it is fun to be part of an active online community. Truly international. And I meet up with peole when I travel, people coming to Oslo get in touch.
    I agrre it's about the people. But for me I also use beer as a prism to comment on various topics - it gives a different angle.
    I've been beer blogging for five years. I'd have thought I'd run of of things to blog about a long time ago, but it is actually easier now. Sure, there are dry spells, but it's mainly fun!