Part of what I do as a certified beer geek is travel to breweries and bars and restaurants and festivals and distilleries and liquor stores and under bridges (troll grog is to DIE for) in search for exemplary beer, food, and people (and of course trolls). Sometimes these forays are extremely successful. Othertimes they leave me sobbing into my beer-shaped pillow I carry with me at all times to soak up my tears (which I then use later to brew beer – it’s a vicious, if tasty, cycle).
One of the intentions of this blog is to record these little adventures and my thoughts about them. As such, I wanted to lay out some rules that I (the writer) intend to follow and for you (the reader) to somewhat understand the terrifying mystery mountain that is my brain.
1. I walk into every experience with the highest of possible expectations. Beer (and food) costs money and calories (I’m a girl, what can I say?) and I have no intention of wasting either on crap. Likewise, visiting breweries takes time and effort. Why would I go out looking for a bad time? I am not a snob who goes in someplace saying to myself (or outloud – I’ve heard it) “I’ve heard this place is horrible! Let’s see how bad they really are.” If I’ve heard a place is crummy, I may give it a bit of a wide berth and some time, but I always hope that I have received bad information – or that something has changed for the better. If a review starts of negative, it’s not because I want it to be bad, it’s because I was left with no other options.
2. My reviews will only be based off of what I, myself, or someone in my party have experienced. To make sure my reviews are well-rounded, I may bring in past experiences – but I will always let you know when it’s a flashback (unlike certain movies. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Memento). I will also make sure that if the opinion is not my own, I say it’s not my own. If the Bearded Brewer likes his piney hop, 7,000,000 IBU googtuple IPA, then I will make sure I say why he liked it. And why he is wrong. And if I’m drinking a beer in a tasting that I adore, and that particular sample sucks bollocks, I’ll be sure to delineate that, too. One thing I hate about beer contests is that they only go off one sample. And if that sample was not kept in great conditions, it can be total crap, even when the beer itself is actually really good. As with my post about Lugene, I don’t feel comfortable giving it a real review until I’ve had it on tap because of the overwhelming evidence that I got two bad bottles. Then again, there are some beers that you can just tell are wrong – not because of storage issues – but because something went off the rails in brewing or packaging. I will totally call that shit out.
3. I never intend my words to be mean, however, I do write with snark and sarcasm. Because I care. And because I amuse myself that way. But mostly because I care. If I don’t particularly like something, I’ll say it, but it’s because I so want it (the subject of the review) to be good and enjoyable. When someone asks me “where can I get a good beer in ______”, I want to have such a crazy-extensive list that I can’t narrow it down to a top 10, let alone a top 5. I want to be able to recommend 3-4 beers at every brewery, 20 different breweries at every fest, 67 different spices in every chalice of grog. I want an abundance of awesomeness, a glut of decadence, an overwhelming wave of delight. If you feel I’ve been unfair to any brewery/bar/restaurant/beer/bartender/town/troll/et cetera, please let me know. Give me reasons I should give them another look or why I got the wrong impression. If you have had a less-than-delightful experience someplace I review, please let them know about it. The only way for a business to improve is to know that there is something they need to improve upon.
4. My reviews may not be written while sober, but I will edit them while sober. This was advice given to me by a good friend who is a professor at Virginia Tech. She said that she always tells her students to never write their thesis paper inebriated, because nothing good ever comes out. I quibbled with this, pointing to several famous authors who are also famous drunks, and that the better rule would be to write drunk, edit sober. She agreed, except that she is dubious that her students ever edit anything. Fair point. So, I guess the better rule here is that I promise to edit my posts. Unless I post remotely from a brewery or fest or troll bridge, then all bets are off.
5. I totally dig suggestions. Please. Seriously. Is there a beer you want an opinion on? A brewery you’ve heard about that I may have visited? A beer fest that everyone raves about, but you’re not willing to shell out $60 a ticket without being sure (you know what I mean…) Send me a tweet or message me on Facebook or leave me a comment here. If I can get the beer or drive to the brewery or attend the fest or nosh at the restaurant or whatever, I will make it happen. This is also a great way for me to learn about new beers/breweries/bars/fests/troll holes. I do my best to keep up on the latest beer news here in Colorado via Facebook and Fermentedly Challenged and on national beer news by the usual sources (magazines, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook), but I get the best information word-of-mouth. Especially when it comes to new brewery openings – of which there will be ~6359 this year in Colorado – I need the help!
6. I’m silly. I just am. I like non sequiturs and absurdity and a little bit of dada in my everyday life. Sometimes I’ll talk about the world’s best crab cheese wontons (Wild Ginger in Littleton, by the way), and sometimes I’ll talk about how I carry around a snake named Harold in my purse to keep my company while I wait for my friends to show up at breweries. I’m weird and not afraid to let my Freak Flag fly. I don’t intend to curb this insanity in any way here.
7. I will do my best to give credit when it’s due. Whether it’s a particularly friendly beer slinger or a website I’m using content from, I will do my absolute best to give the appropriate credit. If I screw up or use a piece of your work inappropriately, please let me know and I’ll fix it right away. I never intend on abusing anyone’s property (physical, intellectual, or otherwise) and will make things right if I ever make a mistake. It’s the whole do onto others thing. Pretty good idea, that.
8. I write what I would like to read. If it’s boring me, it’s probably boring you. Some of the technical blarghity bluh is dry and just can’t be helped, but, like taking cocaine with ambien, I will do my best to counteract it. One of my favorite books of all time is Are You Dave Gorman? about a bar bet gone horribly, amazingly, perfectly wrong. It’s written by two different people and is a perfectly silly travelogue. I bought it my sophomore year of college while studying in London because the local bookstore had a 3-for-2 promotion on certain books. The cover was silly, so I picked it up. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it and am very sad that I lent it to a college friend who moved to another state – with my book. I know that it’s selling for one cent on Amazon, but I’m lazy, what can I say? But the point of that terrible story about the book is that I want a blog like that book – funny, engaging, weird, and something you want to read again and again. I know that pining over several cans of dunkel to be Allie from Hyperbole and a Half or Jenny the Bloggess will get me nowhere. But maybe being inspired by their unmitigated brilliance will…
9. I will be honest. If I’ve been compensated for a review, I’ll let you know. If a link is going to net me a little passive income (COME ON passive income, mama needs a new pair of growler koozies!), I’ll make it obvious. If I have received special treatment in exchange for something here, I shan’t keep it a secret. I think not disclosing those details is dishonest and more than a little sketchy. I would be wary of anyone giving you advice if they aren’t willing to say why they are giving it. Most of the time, I’m giving it because I like the sound of my own typing, but y’know.
10. I like lists and ellipses and run on sentences and sentence fragments the Oxford comma and and… I know that my writing is often grammatically incorrect. It’s not because I don’t know the rules, it’s because I am choosing to break them. I prefer a conversational tone which neither the AP nor Chicago Style Guidelines seem to be in to. They can have my Oxford comma when they forcibly come and take it.
There you go. I guess that’s it. Tenish things that you can expect from me from here onward. We’ll see how well I can stick to this list (especially no. 4). Also – don’t you think no. 4 looks so much more elegant than #4? I feel so much more French when I type no. 4. No. 4. No. 4. Okay, it’s lost its magic.
The real point of this post is to prepare for my next post. The Bearded Brewer and I just got back from a long weekend to the Roaring Fork Valley and Western Slope to celebrate his birthday. We visited 12 breweries, a distillery, and a bunch of eateries. The post about our trip will be forthcoming as soon as I get my ass in gear and edit the photos. So, look for it sometime later in January. Of 2015.