April 6, 2012

The Session #62 | What Drives Beer Bloggers

This month's Session comes to us from Brewpublic, one of a handful of beer blogs that inspired the mission we undertake here at BeerPHXation. Angelo asks that we explore why we beer blog.

I remember very clearly why we started because we had a clear vision as to how it would end. This may be the only beer blog that started with an exit strategy.

The web had always been a beer and brewing resource. As a brewer, Homebrewtalk became the place to learn techniques from some of the finest homebrewers in the country but I discovered that I was becoming more and more interested in beer culture. I wanted to understand the reasons for the robust beer culture I was seeing in Portland, Denver and San Diego. I wanted to understand the rich brewing history of Belgium, Great Britain and Germany and learn its impact on present day life. I wanted to learn the factors that made those places burst with life. Surely Phoenix had some of those factors. I know that we here in the Valley have a great many things that other cities have. It's the case that those things spread out over 500 square miles. I needed to know where our beer culture was strongest. I needed to know where the pieces were. What needed to be built.

Who had these answers?

I was willing to settle for. "Who is asking these questions?"

During this time, I had been reading and commenting on several beer blogs. I quickly lost interest in blogs that review beers, bars and events. (I understand why people write them, I don't understand why people read them.) I gravitated towards those that were centered on analysis and opinion. These were blogs that spoke of local communities or communities of interest. I was positive that there was already local blog here in Arizona like Appellation Beer, Beervana or Brewpublic. I was sure there was a writer here in Phoenix like Lew Bryson, Stephen Beaumont or the dour and insightful Alan McLeod. I wanted to find that place, learn from that individual, comment on their blog and have a conversation.

In June of 2010, David Schollmeyer, a fellow ASH member asked, "Why not start a blog with me?" I replied that I didn't want to write a blog, I want to read one. I want to read the blog of the person that knows the answers to my questions. I want to read the writings of the people that know more than I do. I want to learn from these people.

"We can write it until we find those people."

We'll write the opinions. We'll highlight the best. We'll be critical. We'll ask the questions. We'll offer perspective and analyze trends. We will tell the stories that won't otherwise be told. We will tell people what needs to happen in this city until the real experts find us and tell us we're idiots. They will tell us we're wrong and we will learn from them. I know. It seems like an arrogant and egotistical premise.

We're still writing.

But the plan has evolved.

Writers know that you can learn by writing. You can also learn by helping others learn and they can teach you things that you hadn't considered. We've also come to realize that beer culture is influenced as much by the larger culture. We've learned to broaden our perspective. And I am personally very proud and excited to announce that we are bringing on 4 new writers to BeerPHXation.

Ben Norris is a copywriter and homebrewer who had his craft beer epiphany at NAU. Mike Lauersdorf is also a copywriter by trade and is a member of the Arizona Trappiste Club. Corey Rial is a musican, homebrewer and amateur horticulturalist with a strident local first attitude. Bethany Helvie is an Arizona native that has traveled to Prague and Munich. It inspired her to brew beer (4th batch fingers crossed).

We hope that you learn from their perspectives through their writing. I am planning on it.


  1. Welcome new PHXation writers! I'm so glad to see there's a lady in the mix. I think Maureen, Kristine, Alyssa and all the Girls Pint Out organizers have shown that the women of craft beer have a different and vocal perspective on the culture in Phoenix. I'm looking forward to reading more.

  2. Thanks for such a kind introduction! I'm really looking forward to this project. And being a representative for all the beer-loving girls out there!