In December of that year, I did my first Beer Advent calendar and began to take a little more care in my photos and descriptions. I enjoyed thinking about what I was drinking and with some encouragement from friends, I put a little more effort into my words. I began the blog and videos to add to the initial Instagram page because it was fun. It was a way to express myself even more and as anyone who follows along here, it has turned into a personal journey as well as a beer one. Revealing parts of my life that I had hidden away helped to heal old wounds and bring up emotions I hadn't felt in years. It helped me connect with people on another level and despite some trepidation at the nature of what I was revealing, it was cathartic and did my soul some good.
While craft beer is always my main focus, I began to see how the platform I was on could do some good for other people. I talked about depression, infertility, starting over and alcohol abuse to name just a few. I believe in being honest about everything I write and I think that's why I have made so many great connections over the last 2 years. People who drink good beer are, for the most part, good people. I've encountered few folks I wouldn't want to share a pint with and for this guy, that's the very golden pot at the end of the Rainbow.
I see new craft beer focused accounts and people all the time popping up on social media. Groups of friends are getting together to share a page and even more great beer. Some stunning photography and creative video clips are showing up and it is only helping to promote the community even more. The enthusiasm of many of the newcomers is infectious and the friendships you see being made are awesome, all because we love great beer. But not everyone is doing it for the right reasons or in an honest and straightforward way.
Within any community there will be people who want to exploit and lie their way to a position of prominence. Whether it is to make themselves feel important or for financial gain, it matters not. Paying for followers, acting like you're better than everyone else and generally shilling for free shit is not what the majority of craft beer drinkers stand for and when I see it, I want to call it out. I don't understand what makes a person pay actual money to get fake followers, fake friends and ultimately a fake life. I do what I do because it is who I am. The Drunk Polkaroo was a persona I created as a joke on my stupid drunken days and the promises I would make when I was snackered to do things with people and then flake on when I was sober. I didn't plan out a "brand" or target breweries with promises of increasing their business. For myself and most of the others who share our pics and stories on social media, we do it for fun, to connect with like minded folk and maybe share a pint in real life. Phony accounts run by someone with an agenda or a marketing plan is, in my opinion, the opposite of what the majority of us do. We share our pics and stories because we care about the beer, genuinely want to meet people and enjoy being part of something that allows us to interact with the small businesses we support.
The community of craft beer is at its core a place where we make friends, real or virtual, enjoy the creativity and design of the breweries we love and the people we follow. It has grown so much in such a short amount of time that I can hardly believe it. New styles of beer and amazing takes on traditional ones keep us hoping for a trade or beer saint gift with others. Road trips mean an opportunity to meet up in person and share a pint with those we've become such good friends with online. Being able to communicate our finds and what is new at our local breweries sparks conversation and inspires us to want to visit. We do it with pride and want the beer world to know about the latest release from places near to our hearts. We post old favourites because we love them and enjoy them regularly. But most of all, we just want to share a little bit of our life, the good and bad sometimes, with the world. We want to be part of something bigger than us and we have found that in beer. Stay true to yourself, always share honestly and keep those photos, stories and videos coming, they bring a smile to my face every single day. And remember to always Raise your glass and your standards, One beer at a time.