Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why I Blog


I have always enjoyed writing, and I hope it is something that I am not too shabby at. I make no claims to be anywhere near the standard of my favourite authors, Umberto Eco, Nick Hornby and Andrei Makine among them. However, in addition to my regular ramblings about beer on here, I occasionally write on another couple of blogs, one about whatever pops into my head and the other about philosophy and religion. Writing has always been part of my life, when I was a practising Christian I had about 30 poems published in various magazines and anthologies, as well as writing music reviews for Cross Rhythms magazine. I have written technical documentation, articles about real estate in Prague and sales proposals, I am even trying to write a novel, though that is going through a major mental revision at the moment.

It is just shy of four years ago that I wrote the first post on this blog. In that first post, I said that my posts could consist of:

"posting pictures and stories about beer, and most importantly the people that my journey brings me into contact with".


When I started blogging there were only two other beer bloggers that I knew of in Prague, Evan Rail and Max Bahnson. At first I read them, then met them and today I feel honoured to call both of them my friends. In various constellations we have shared many a beer, and to this day they are two of the people I miss most from Prague. Many a Saturday afternoon finds me wishing I could send either of them a text message and arrange to meet for a pint at Pivovarsky klub or Zly ?asy.


In November 2008 I realised a long standard ambition to visit Ireland. Mrs Velkyal had a friend that had married an Irishman, and so as we had a long weekend and it was close to my birthday we flew over. The Irishman was to become the author of The Tale of the Ale blog, and since then we have shared several beery adventures. One trip took in the delights of Prague, Brno and Southern Moravia, while more recently me met up in Paris to wander the streets and down many pints. During our initial trip to Ireland we went to Galway and found the most perfect pub on the planet. Sheridan's on the Docks, now sadly departed, had Budvar and Galway Hooker on tap, a peat fire and the rugby on the tv, it was simply idyllic. At the end of the trip Mrs V and I met with the eponymous Beer Nut and Barry, an Irishman writing about beer life in Germany having Bitten the Bullet.


Within weeks of moving to Charlottesville, we had met with one E.S. Delia, and his lovely wife to be, whose blog Relentless Thirst gave me plenty of insight before moving over. Eric had commented on Fuggled before we moved and invited us to his rooftop tasting. Meeting and getting to know Eric has been one of the highlights of life in Virginia.

I could wax lyrical about the people I have met, and friends I have made as a result of beer, but one story stands out. As you may know I work at the Starr Hill tasting room occasionally. Last year, I was there for my one day that month and my colleague asked me to come and chat with a customer, a fellow Brit. A couple of minutes later my colleague asked me where I thought the customer was from. Given the slight London/Estuary thing going on his voice, I assumed he was from the south-east corner. The customer's response was "I'm Scottish", and through a series of questions and stunned responses it transpired that we had both grown up in the Outer Hebrides, from adjacent islands and he had been 2 years ahead of me at school. We know a lot of the same people and happened to meet in the brewery on the one day of that month I was working. He is now my regular drinking buddy here.

That's what beer means to me, and by extension blogging about it. The people I have met. Beer people are good people, and this blog has opened many doors to meet them. That then is what drives me, writing not just for myself, but for the people I have met and hope one day to meet.

This month's Session is being hosted by the guys at Brewpublic and the theme is "what drives beer bloggers?".

Friday, December 17, 2010

Review Reinheitsgebot

It being the festive season, the reviewer in every blogger inevitably makes an appearance, and really, how different is a review of the year from telling people how a beer tastes? In years past I have written somewhere in the region of 10 posts with the words "Review of the Year" in the title, looking at pale ales, pale lagers, dark lagers, stouts/porters and so on and so on.

This year though I have decided to change things around, or to put it in less eloquent language, I can't be arsed writing 10 blog posts about various beer styles, rounded off by a beer of the year. So I intend to limit myself to 4 posts, as follows:
  • Pale Beer of the Year
  • Amber Beer of the Year
  • Dark Beer of the Year
  • Blogger of the Year
Simple really, only 4 elements to a review of year, and I won't even charge you a single pfennig for the pleasure.

Monday, June 7, 2010

How Did We Do?

Back on May 4th, Pete Brown of multiple beer books fame stirred the beer blogging pot by claiming things had started going stale and challenging bloggers to up their game for the rest of the month.

Just a quick look over my posts for May shows that the number of tasting note posts was at a minimum and during the month I also wrote a post which got the highest number of comments in 2010, it was the We Are Not Geeks! post, which accrued 18 comments, as well as the second most commented Fuggled post of the year in Revolutionary Tosh.

I enjoyed writing more thoughtful pieces than just doing a cyber brain dump of tasting notes, my home brew recipes and the occasional multi-media post when I just can't think of anything else to write. Another highlight for me was having John Keeling from Fuller's, and Dave Bailey of Hardknott taking part in my Brewer of the Week series

But having laid down the challenge, the question for Pete Brown now is quite simple - how did we rise to your challenge?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How Not To Blog

Yesterday I flew back from North Dakota to Virginia, with a couple of hours sat around in Minneapolis airport again. It happened to be lunch time, and we happened to go to Rock Bottom Brewery again because we knew the food was good. This time I was planning to go into full tippler mode, out came the notepad, swiftly followed by a pen, I checked I had enough battery on my phone to use the camera and I ordered the sampler tray - my bosses looked on, amused by the level of my preparedness for taking notes about beer, pausing only to comment they were surprised I didn't have a printable sheet instead of regular paper. I have actually thought about it, but then I realised I didn't want to look like some total sad basket case, just a part-timer with a notepad is fine for me.

The samples came, carried on a rather natty metal rack, and placed on top of the info card for the beers, each glass on the description of that beer. There were 6 beers in the line-up, ranging from a witbier to the brown ale I had on Monday. Phone camera in hand, I took pictures, I made my notes, I enjoyed most of all the English pale ale and the brown ale, the other beers were perfectly fine as well, all in all an enjoyable little sampling. I wanted to look at the pictures, after all a mobile phone camera doesn't always take great shots. In this case it had not taken any shots at all. The reason? Quite simply I am a prat, and forgot that with this phone you take the snap and then press "save", unlike my old phone by the same manufacturer where you take a snap and it was saved automatically. So no pictures of the beers to go with the descriptions, so to spare you all a frankly tedious brain dump of tasting notes, I thought I would own up to my dim-wittedness and assure you that if you find yourself in Minneapolis airport with time to spare, hunt down Rock Bottom Brewery and enjoy some decent beers and the excellent fish and chips, which is salmon rather than cod!

You live and learn.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...

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