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Why we suck

IMG_2521Recently there has been all kinds of nonsense going on in the “professional beer writers” arena.

It seems that those who write about beer for a career are jealous pissed off at losers amateurs like ourselves.

I suppose too many people musing about beer on the inter-tubes diverts the attention of the already “super niche” audience from the professional beer overlords.

Now while I have no idea what this beer nut was even talking about in the column that started this whole controversy;  interpretations of the article by some other beer bloggers and writers have made it clear that some of these “pros” don’t want us amateurs playing in their pool.

Funny part is that most of the audience of these “professional” beer writers is comprised of the same geeks that they are bitching about.  So in essence, they are calling their own audience a bunch of losers and telling us to shut the fuck up and listen to them.  Alright dad.

So if we bloggers suck so badly, why are you reading our work?  Are you reading this right now?  I know you are…

Time for a reality check.  You are writing about BEER.

If we were talking about nuclear physics or structural engineering I would totally get it – leave it to the experts.  But what the fuck?  I  am writing what I think about BEER.  When did beer get so high and mighty that all of the sudden I need to be a published author to talk about it?  Did you ever think that perhaps it’s that pompous attitude toward BEER that drives people to look for a more familiar opinion?

There was a very timely article this week in the Washington Post talking about Sam Calagiones (from Dogfish Head) presentation at SAVOR about Beer Geeks vs. Beer Snobs (thanks to another loser beer blogger for pointing this out).  The part that I think sums it up best is:

…a beer geek loves beer because he or she loves beer, and they want to learn more always, try new beers, and share that with the people they love. Whereas beer snobs try to know as much as they can about beer as a power point and to lord it over people, or to stick out as an expert in a field of neophytes.

Bottom line is that I love beer and enjoy sharing my thoughts with friends.   I know that I am not going anywhere anytime soon (except the GABF, thank you  Brewers Association).  And lets face it, if you continue whining about us – you will likely alienate your existing audience and get them to come read what we have to say – which we all know is far more entertaining anyhow.

So do yourselves a favor, recognize that there is plenty of room on the inter-web for all of us.  Separate yourselves as professionals by providing informative and captivating content.   Report on beer – that’s a far cry from what I am doing.  And hell, if that doesn’t work for you, give your editor my name – I’d be happy to write your 400 words for a case of beer and a by-line…

26 thoughts on “Why we suck”

  1. No jealousy. Reread it. It ends with “Keep writing.” People need to read more closely.

  2. Unfortunately this post was written pre-part II, of Georges articles. Although it was actually some of the follow up chatter in comments that inspired my post.

    The “suck” part is all mine – I was not implying that anyone specifically said we suck…

    Perhaps my next post will be “Reading sucks”…

  3. We’re cool Tim. I’m glad you now get what I was getting at. The only people threatened by my columns will be those who are guilty of 1)trying to pass their subjective opinions off as objective and 2) People who have axes to grind with ceratin beers/brewers. etc and use blogs to do so.

    Keep writing AND filming. You guys rock.

  4. I don’t think anyone will confuse our opinions with anything objective :) nor do we have any problems with any brewers or beers (although not being able to grab a bottle of exit 4, MY exit, has my 2 typing fingers tingling)…

    We would love to do an interview video with you sometime – lets grab a pint and chat!

  5. Lets do it. I’d love to do one that foucsed a little on this very subject. Maybe doing it Q&A style would make it easier for others to understand. But I’m up for any topic.

    I know I sometimes challenge readers to up their game a bit, which is not what papers often do, but I have faith that they’ll get it in the end. The positive reactions I get when I’m out and about prove to me I’m doing the right thing. I even get a lot of compliments from people who don’t drink much craft beer but are tempted to try it because of my column. To me THAT is why I do it.

    The aftermath is often nasty, which actually proves my point. The columns called for restraint and civility, and I KNEW there would be a shitstorm about it, whioch again, shows that people need to hear what I was saying. The irony is priceless.

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  6. As we’ve discussed George I think it’s not so much that you blew people’s minds with your logic but confounded them with your lack of clarity. I haven’t yet seen someone write or heard someone comment, “Oh yeah, he’s totally right, I get it.” The contrary perspective appears to dominate. The column was actually sent to me by one your readers in … Read Morethe NoHo area (a neighbor of yours actually) and it was a complaint about the inside baseball aspect and the lack of clarity. If you were trying to create some sort of meaningful conversation, I’m not sure you achieved your goal. And I think the ironic aspect of the situation is pretty minimal actually…I’m still not quite clear on the point you were making with both pieces as your comments seem to diverge considerably from the text of the columns. Just my thoughts, Andy

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  7. A neighbor? You know where I live?
    Sometimes lack of clarity is on the part of the reader. Sometimes, as David Foster Wallace said, the reader should have to work a little. Many aren’t willing to put the time in to do that. The writing is exceptionally clear if you don’t try to read it like a FB post. Take some time, read each sentence, slow down and read it as a whole. I’ve reread it, as have several friends and everyone says it’s a bit nuanced and not the easiest read, but certainly clear and well-written–if one takes the time to READ it.

    The irony is that people’s harsh reactions (or that type of blogging) were (partially) exactly what i’m complaining about.
    … Read More
    Andy, you and I will never see eye to eye on most things. Let’s leave it at that. Your need to knock me down when you have the chance is kind of odd. But I get it.

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  8. I also must correct you Andy: You say in your (inaccurate) blog post that I don’t like beer bloggers.
    I never said that and it’s not true (bu hey, don’t let the facts get in the way, right?)
    But you certainly made it clear YOU don’t like them with your “who does?”
    Where’s the outcry about that? There will be none because you are a real insider.

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  9. Hey Tim: See what I mean? Luckily most of my readers “get” me (despite Andy’s anonymous, anecdotal and hearsay evidence to the contrary). I think this is exactly because I am NOT a beer snob and I’m willing to take on those who are. I have heard that many times from readers who can’t stand the inside baseball nonsense that sometimes occurs in craft beer circles. I find it hilarious that someone thinks *I* write inside baseball stuff. If anything, I’m a populist when it comes to beer.

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  10. No idea where you live but your neighbor apparently does. Far be it from me to get in a public pissing match with you, especially in a forum as ludicrous as FB (and sorry to poor Tim and Amy), but your comments about readers and how they are all the ones who don’t get your enlightened prose are really something. Not to mention the sly analogy between yourself and DFW. I don’t think I really need to add much to these gems. But take a second, read them slowly again, and think about how others must view those particularly insulting statements.

    And as we’ve discussed in the past, our disagreements are not personal and should not (as I’ve told you before) be taken personally. You wanted the conversation, correct?

    As I said in the comments section of my website, speaking of irony, I was joking with the not-liking-bloggers comment. As you know, I have feet firmly planted in both worlds so it would make little sense to make fun of something I participate in…… Read More

    Best again,


    **from facebook via fbconnect

  11. Your need to misrepresent my statements is pretty desparate. I never compared myself to DFW. I quoted him (paraphrased, actually.) There’s a difference. ANd you knwo that. But when you can’t rebut me, make something up that you can, right?

    I also said SOME readers might not take the time to read the columns carefully (and clearly some didn’t–you certainly didn’t: you say I don’t like bloggers. show me where I said that agin?)
    Sayingh some folks won’t take the time isn’t an insult, it’s a fact. And I know how busy folks are and I don’t blame them. Howver, if you don’t take the time (Andy) then don’t shoot your mouth off about it 9especially if you have to fabricate things I NEVER said in order to make me look bad.

    And most of my readers are smart, down-to-earth folks (I’m basing this on the hundreds I’ve met or who have written me ove the years). But again, since you can’t refute my actual statements, go ahead and make some up.

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  12. BTW, I have nothing against Andy personally, just in case anyone is reading this and thinks that. He is the author of a fine book on New England brewpubs. We simply represent differing camps in craft beer. I represent the avergae Joe and Josephine who may not have tried a lot of craft beer and are put off by the elitism some people show when talking about it (and I’m not referring to Andy here, btw. As far as I know, he’s not a beer snob).

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  13. But I am put off by Andy’s need to misrepresent my beliefs. It kinda sucks, ya know?

    **from facebook via fbconnect

  14. George, I’ve just been through all those posts and having spent some formative years working for my town newspaper in Winnemucca while in high school, I can understand the desire to have real reporting. But, I don’t see this limited to things like our beloved beer. I watch certain mainstream “news” channels and see the exact practices you mention. … Read MoreI do like the emergence of people looking at beer from all different points of view and like anything else on the interwebs, there is always going to be the flammable bits. Anyway, the columns are fun to read.

    **from facebook via fbconnect

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  16. I’ve been called worse than a loser on my own site!

    Its just my opinion about beer. I try to keep it simple, honest, and have fun with it. Methinks people in beer world need to chill. Perhaps a beer summit is in order.

    BTW. Lots of Exit 4 in my area! :-)

  17. I agree Derek and thanks.
    But again, i NEVER said there shouldn’t be blogs etc. I said SOME people should take better care writing them. it amazes me that someone can misrepresent what i write and everyone accepts it. My last paragraph said KEEP WRITING. KEEP THINKING and KEEP DRINKING GOO BEER.

    I think saying “keep writing” kinda makes the point I’m not against anyone doing so.

    **from facebook via fbconnect

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  19. I wish there was a better way of rebutting George than polluting the blog here, but:


    I don’t think people are misrepresenting what you wrote any more than you’re misrepresenting what they’re responding. You said, “Keep Writing” in two words at the end of the column, but the rest of the column had an entirely different message.

    Just in case you don’t understand where the vitriol is coming from, when you say things like “SOME people should take better care of writing [blogs]” without providing examples, then it feels like a broad attack on everybody that might possibly fit your description, rather than a targeted attack on whoever it was you might have been thinking about. It’s the kind of thing that raises hackles across the board.

    You might say that you didn’t mean to attack blogs, but in that case I’m not sure who the audience of your column was supposed to be. It certainly wasn’t the neophyte beer-drinker of Western MA. If you weren’t trying to criticize amateur writers (which, at this point, are largely bloggers), what exactly were you trying to do?

    You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see your next column talk about the beer blogs that you enjoy, think are well-written, and think your readers would benefit from reading – all in positive terms.


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