The Session #14: Beer People

The SessionIt’s the first Friday in April, meaning that across the interwebs, beer bloggers are all writing about a common theme: yes, it’s The Session.

This month’s topic comes to us from Stonch, across the pond in England: Beer People.

Enjoying beer is as much about people as it is malt and hops. The term "social lubricant" has always seemed a little too euphemistic to me, so lets be honest: having a few pints and getting merry is bloody good fun. That’s why we do it.

It’s ten times better when you’re with good mates, or meeting interesting new people. I’ve made lots of new friends in my favourite pubs and through my involvement in the beer industry. From the most skillful brewers to the louchest boozehounds, they’re the reason why I keep doing this.

On Friday 4th April, the date of the next Session, I’d like you to write about people. Choose someone you know personally. That person might be a brewer, a publican, someone who sups at your local, or maybe just a friend who is passionate about beer. Let’s read some pen portraits of your companions on the path to fermented enlightenment.

I like what Stonch is getting at, but I’m actually going to deviate a bit. I want to write instead about the people I’ve encountered, not just because of beer, but because of beer blogging.

When I started beer blogging, it was mainly with "hobby intentions"; that is, I hadn’t aspired to (or indeed even been aware of) the doors that would open and the contacts that would be made in the brewing world. But—especially over the past several years—I’ve been amazed at just that. It has enabled opportunities to contact and network with all sorts of interesting people I may not have otherwise.

Other bloggers and writers is the obvious first group I’m referring to. I read a ton of other beer blogs, and I’ve corresponded with, or linked to (or been linked to) a number of those other bloggers. People like Stan, and Alan, and Jay, and Sage, and Chris, and Jeff, and Bob, and Chris, and Ron and Al, and Rick, and Nate, and more (sorry if I missed a name or ten!). Without fail, every blogger I’ve had the pleasure of communicating with has been friendly, generous, enthusiastic, and a genuinely nice person.

Blogging has opened doors to people in the brewing industry that I wouldn’t otherwise have known about, as well. "Behind the scenes" folks often involved with PR and marketing for a brewery—I’m sure there will be people who sniff disdainfully at me for calling out marketers as "legit", but oh well—to me they’re as important as the rest of us in the beer world. People like Neal Stewart from Flying Dog, Marty Jones from Oskar Blues, and Jason Randles from local Deschutes Brewery (to name a few) are doing great jobs reaching out and making this an enjoyable field to be in.

(In fact, yesterday I met with Jason from Deschutes and got an insider’s tour of the Brewery and talked a bit about beer, and blogging, and more. Really cool opportunity—more on that later.)

And the brewers? Well, the brewers are the rock stars of the beer world. Some are definitely more well-known that others—we all know who they are—but if it weren’t for all of them—well, we wouldn’t really be here, would we?

Do I sound like a fanboy? Well, yeah, that’s largely because I am.

The beer world is really a tight-knit, friendly community—from the bloggers and writers to the brewers to all the rest of the industry people I’ve corresponded with.

And you know what? Nothing better illustrates this than The Session itself. Yes, The Session is about writing about beer with a common theme, but—even more importantly—it’s about the people from all across the web collaborating and getting together (in a virtual sense) about beer. When I hosted The Session a couple of months ago, I was more excited to correspond with so many great people than worry about what they actually wrote (though the writing was good, too—don’t get me wrong!).

And that is what it’s all about.