When I first started writing and reviewing Craft beer, I had no idea what I was doing. The flavours were new to me and I would research and agonize over every thing I said. I wanted to describe what I was tasting but lacked the knowledge to find just what that was. So I took to the internet and sites such as Beer Advocate, Rate Beer and of course, Untappd. I would drink my beer and read the reviews of other people, acquiring the descriptions of what it was I was tasting and training my palate to find them each time. It took a lot of trial and error, experimenting with actual citrus fruits, dark chocolate, black coffee and other foods to grasp the notes in my beer. It was that kind of insatiable quest for information that helped me to pursue the path I have. I try to learn more every day because it is in knowing that we can understand not just the beer, but why we drink it and what it can say about us.
Many people have written me and asked how to get started or to ask questions about my reviews or larger journey. I always love to talk beer and life with anyone who takes the time to ask and it is a real pleasure to help people discover their own specific voice.
Want to write in depth, critical reviews? Do that. Why not go get the proper Ciccerone or Prud'homme training and become the master of beer.
Want to share what beer you're drinking in a fun and less informative way? Do that and speak with enthusiasm about everything you do.
Just want to be part of the larger craft community but don't want to get into rating or describing your beer? Do that, share your pics on social media and just be yourself.
My point is always the same, do what brings you joy, not to please anyone else. I get the odd person who criticizes my flavour description or rating but I don't let that interfere in my process. I taste what I taste and so do you. Beer ratings are highly subjective and while many people don't do it, I will continue because that is what I like to do. Don't feel pressure to rate a beer 1 to 5 or 10 or 100, in the end it only matters if you liked it or didn't. Someone challenges what you taste, tough on them, it is your beer, your palate and you taste what you do. I am always open to an honest discussion about my rating, tasting or love/hate for a beer. If someone wants to have a genuine talk and help bring me information, I am all for it and you should be too. But there is nothing that I tune out quicker than negative or angry people.
At the end of the day, it is just beer. Great beer, but still just a beer nonetheless. I do wax poetic on the subject and feel an affinity for the industry because it has truly changed my life. But you should never feel like your review or sharing of your thoughts or pics doesn't matter. It is a community that thrives when there are more voices, more stories and more opportunities to learn and grow.
So take that picture of your beer on the table while you watch TV, head outside and get arty if you want or just drink it, it's really up to you. Sharing your beer and thoughts on social media is a great way to meet new people, it encourages you to find new and different beers, explore the local breweries for the latest releases and become part of something that is bigger than you are. I love it when someone is just starting out and they connect with me, I want to be the voice of happiness and encouragement for anyone who is brave enough to share a piece of who they are and if you follow along on my Facebook page (click here), you will see that I am constantly sharing the blogs, videos and reviews of other people. I am a firm believer in the people of Craft beer and am overjoyed to help them spread their voice to a wider audience.
There are those who have an opposite view, looking only to themselves and leaving the wider community in the background, insisting on their own perfection or omniscience as the only beer writer/reviewer that matters. I see this and know that not only are they setting themselves up to be left behind but they are missing out on all the amazing people in the craft beer world. My life has been made infinitely better because I share so much of who I am. I believe in being humble, open and friendly because that is what I want in return. One of my favourite beer writers, Ben Johnson, told me to always be honest and that is exactly what I try to do. Give people an unblemished account of your beer experience and they can see that right away. Be not afraid to say what you mean, but try to be a good person about it. Negativity, sexism and anger only bring more of the same into your life and while I have made mistakes, I recognize, apologize and change with the acquisition of more knowledge. Grow, learn and always give the best you have to anything you share.
It is the beer that brings so many people of different background and lifestyles together under one hoppy roof and I have met people and done things I couldn't even imagine. So if you're thinking of starting a blog, video, Instagram account or any other social media to share your love of craft beer, I encourage you to do it.
Don't do it because you think you'll make money, get famous or are better than anyone else. Do it because you love great beer, the folks who drink it and the people who make it. Give a little of yourself to this wonderful community and it will come back tenfold.
Below is a list of some of 20 of the writers and beer reviewers I love to follow and share. There are literally hundreds of great people but I wanted to keep it short, so my apologies to anyone I missed. Check them out, follow along and then join the craft beer world yourself, it's such a great place to be!
Beer Writer - Website (2 other social media)
Some of my Instagram friends who are just killing it with their photos and reviews -
Phil C. - Keltic Devil
Sean A. - Moonstone Brewer
Brett H. - I Find Beer Enjoyable
Michael K. - Michael Kras
Ryan, Nathan, Dave - RND Blast
Robin C. - Beer Core Droid
There are so many more, have a look around and you will find your own favourites.
Raise your glass and your standards,
One Beer at a time.