The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. This month, my good buddy Oliver Gray of Literature and Libation has pulled me out of my The Session retirement asking if I’ve ever experienced a beer-life crises.
As far back as I can remember I’ve always been the type to go all in on the things I like. Whatever subject grabs my attention consumes my brain and then after enough time passes I lose all interest and drop it like a bad habit. The first time I remember something like this happening is as a tiny kid with an abnormal passion for eating my grandma’s lima beans. I ate the hell out of those things and then one day I decided I didn’t want them anymore and couldn’t be bothered to put them on my plate for another decade. That’s a weirdly specific example but that type of love it and leave it attitude has carried over to all my hobbies as a teen and adult.
When I was teenager there was sports. I lived to watch that stuff, but I couldn’t be bothered to talk about it with most people. If you weren’t among my trusted sports talking circle I didn’t want to hear what you had to say because most likely it was just the regurgitated nonsense you heard someone else say on ESPN. I feel like the beer blogging world is a lot of this right now. Obviously not everyone, but most of what I read is a bunch of repeated ideas and themes. There are a million articles about cans (seriously, fricking cans), posts about “beer bringing people together” (guilty as charged), or about how craft beer has become so pervasive that most of us live within 10 miles of a brewery now. We have the “what’s the next IPA” articles, top XX lists, craft beer bubble discussions, and everyone’s favorite — the definition of craft. Formulaic, boring, garbage that is. And it’s not necessarily a case of the people writing about this stuff being bad writers it’s just that the topic is limited. Salsa bloggers would have the same issue. Maybe we should all take our cue from the Salsa blogosphere and ask ourselves if we really need daily coverage of a food stuff?
I used to actively check around 20 beer blogs on a daily basis to make sure I was keeping up with what’s what in the beer world. And that’s in addition to the 2 or 3 magazines I had subscriptions with and whatever beer related book I was reading. Now, I read jack but trending ever more towards shit.
Some people feel like they have to wear their passion on their sleeves for validation. They need to be identified as the person who knows all about a specific topic. I never cared about that type of stuff. The time for daily discussions about beer has largely (but not entirely) come and gone for me. It’s beer. Someone threw barley in a metal thing with some hot water and made sugar. Boil, hops, yeast, package. Yeah, their are social aspects to discuss but so few of us are qualified for this type of coverage why even bother. You’re not an economist. You’re not a sociologist. Stop trying to fool people.
So, Oliver, have I had a beer-life crises? Not at all. I just realized there’s really only a few simple things about beer that matter. As long as I have my little group of trusted beer knowledgeable friends to chat with and a couple good beers in my fridge I’m good. I don’t need the overly romanticized community aspect or the analysis of minutae (mine or others) anymore. I’d rather take a sip and stare off into space.