It’s that time of month again – “The Session” – when beer bloggers around the world get together (not literally) and write about the same topic. This month’s Session is hosted by Glen at Beer Is Your Friend, and the topic is “Compulsion.”
Why do we do this? What is the purpose of Beer Blogging Friday? Why would anyone want to read dozens of beer blog posts about the same thing? What compels us to participate in The Session?
Sometimes I wonder if beer blogging is one big circle jerk. Is there anybody reading this who doesn’t have a beer blog of their own?
My foray into beer blogging went as follows. I was perusing the travel writing section of a book store and found a book called “Hops & Glory” by Pete Brown (I recommend it for anybody interested in beer, travel writing, sailing, or history, all four of which fascinate me). I read the first chapter right there in the store and was hooked, but I was so broke at the time that I kept going back to the book store on my way home from work every day and reading a chapter or two.
And then one day, it was gone. I had gotten about a third of the way through before somebody else bought it. Good for Pete, bad for me. It was their last copy of the hardcover printing, but hey, I could wait for the paperback.
Months went by. I kept checking online or in person every few weeks. I even checked every book store during a weekend trip to the East coast, where a clerk in Charlottetown, who was the first person I’d asked who had actually heard of Pete Brown before, told me that the book had been scheduled to arrive a month earlier, but the Canadian distributer had suddenly declared bankruptcy.
So I waited, and waited, but it wasn’t so bad, because I had discovered Pete Brown’s Beer Blog. It kept me sane during this trying time, and helped me discover the world of beer writing beyond the “guide.” Thanks Pete, I owe you.
That was about two years ago. Since then I have bookmarked dozens of beer blogs, stacked more and more homebrew in my closet, and spent absurd amounts of money in search of the best beers in the world. Beer has been fully established as one of my most deeply-held passions.
For that reason, I keep a beer blog. What concerns me is the fact that, when I started this blog, I wanted to share my passion, and hopefully spread some of the knowledge and excitement I have about beer. Though my blog is still very new, I’ve already noticed an unintentional change in my attitude. I already feel like I’m writing for other bloggers.
Which is sort of the point of Beer Blogging Friday, right? It’s a community-building exercise. I’m charmed by the welcome I’ve already receive from other beer bloggers whom I was reading before I ever started, and “The Session” is a good way to get us all to discuss something together (sort of).
But I don’t want to get trapped in this blogosphere and I don’t want to be writing for beer geeks only (no offence). What I really want is to spread some of my fascination with this ancient, modest drink to others. You may roll your eyes when I embark on a nerdy treatise about what we’re drinking, but I do it because I think that maybe, maybe, you’ll say “Really? Wow this beer stuff is pretty amazing.”
There’s no harm in trying, right? If you don’t care, I’ll stop, I promise. Hell, I know some people who even make me roll my eyes, the way they talk about beer. There’s a time and a place for everything, and usually when you’re sitting down for a drink is not when you want to get all academic. The Beer Moment (trademark Pete Brown) is a time to sit back and drink a good beer in good company and not have to think about those things. As Glen might say, beer is your friend, not your laboratory specimen.
I guess that’s what really compels me to blog. These are things I think about and want to talk about, but not when I’m having a beer. For god’s sake, I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.