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The Session #111 recapped, #112 announced

The SessionHost Oliver Gray has recapped The Session #111 (part one, and awaiting part two), and in the process noted that rather than calling what he was experiencing a mid-life crisis perhaps it should be called a mid-hobby crisis.

And host Carla Jean Lauter has announced the topic for The Session #112 on June 3 will be “The Other Beer Economy.”

Growing alongside of the boom of breweries are many small businesses that are supporting, or supported by the craft beer industry. Maine is now home to a malt processing facility, and several hop farms. There are multiple beer tourism-focused businesses that help connect visitors to the state’s best beer offerings. There are companies that create beer-related apparel for beer fans, some that have designed unique bottle openers and manufacture them in-state. Maine is also home to a company that manufactures and installs brewing equipment, and another whose sole mission is to clean the lines that serve up that beer to thirsty beer fans.

I would suggest that Ben Keene, managing editor at Beer Advocate, might be mining Session #112 for ideas. BA has an occasional “Will Work for Beer” feature (disclosure: I’ve written a couple) that covers basically the same territory.

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Session #111 announced: Beer mid-life crisis

The SessionHost Oliver Gray has announced the topic for the 111th gathering of The Session on May 6. He writes, “I’m having a beer mid-life crisis, yo.” And so …

All that talk of beer bubbles might prove true, but instead of a dramatic *pop* we’ll might see a slow deflation followed by a farting noise as some of the air leaks out and the hobbyist move on the spend their time and dollars elsewhere. It’s impossible to see the future, but if my fall from rabid beer fanboy to dude-who-drinks-beer-and-sort-of-wants-to-be-left-alone is indicative of a trend, I’ve got some signs to make a doomsaying to do.

What say you?

Do you find it hard to muster the same zeal for beer as you did a few years ago? Are you suffering through a beer-life crisis like I am? If so, how do you deal with it?

I don’t mean to pick on Oliver, but when I saw his tweet — “I’m hosting the Session again in May. Topic? Beer Mid-Life Crisis. It’s exactly what it sounds like.” — my first thought was, “Mid-life crisis? You are a pup.” I do hope some bloggers in his age class, as opposed to mine, tackle this question.

The Session #110: What would the Beerhunter tweet?

The SessionThe topic for Session #110 topic is Twitter. And, among other things, host Sean Inman suggested considering “brevity and how it affects writing about beer.” I’m not sure the example Inman uses, a long thought that Ray Daniels broke into tweetable parts, is the best example. He didn’t try to condense it into one 140-character passage (or even two or three).

In another life, I was briefly in charge of a newspaper photo department. Photos are often a better way to tell a story — you know, the picture is worth . . . thing — but newspapers have a finite amount of space. So there were conversations with questions like, “Can you tell this story in five pictures? Three?” Some of the most powerful stories turned out to be just a few photos, or even one. Or consider the first time we saw Joe Ely perform Robert Earl Keen’s “The Road Goes on Forever” and he introduced it as a novel in 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The lyrics fit on a t-shirt. I know; I own one.

Twitter can work that way, striking a blow for brevity. But often a tweet includes a summary of something longer and a link to the rest. So is that really brevity? For the Craft Writing conference in Lexington, Kentucky, a couple years ago I put together these pseudo tweets from Michael Jackson. Pardon the less than perfect artwork and the fact that they don’t include links to longer articles. I think you get the point.

Michael Jackson Beer Hunter tweets

The first excerpt came from a story Jackson wrote for Slow magazine (from Slow Food) that no longer seems to be available online. The second from his last book. The first gets a lot better within the context of the story, but the second stands alone.

Here are three more that could stand alone, but also make you want to read more:

“Ales are a persecuted minority.”

“It was a great night of drinking Gose, but I am not sure it did much for my sexual potency.”

“Is alcohol good or bad? We have had it for thousands of years, and still don’t seem to know.”

And so I am left wondering. Should a tweet leave you wanting more? Or should it stand on its own?

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To confuse me further, there was this in The Beer Nut’s contribution to The Session: “I’m a big fan of the microblogging platform and it has certainly had a huge impact on the beer scene, even though a lot of that is to the detriment of blogs.” Is that true? Or true some places, not others? Is it function of form or function? John has given me plenty to think about.

Session #110 Friday: Tweet it or blog it?

The SessionI’ve been absent from the last couple of Sessions — I point this out because I doubt you noticed — but plan to be on hand Friday when the topic is Twitter.

You may recall that Twitter’s 10th anniversary was last week and in the months before there were suggestions it would lift the 140-character limit on tweets. Not happening. That announcement came after Session No. 110 host Sean Inman had picked the April topic.

So, before the 140 letter limit is lost, how about us in the beer blogging realm take one last crack at “original” Twitter.

Some possible routes to take:
-write your own beer theory in multi-parts. Be it 1/15 or 1/20
-use Twitter for your own craft beer April Fool’s Day prank
-channel your inner web troll and go all negative on a topic
-debate or applaud the points made by Daniels in under 140 characters
-talk about brevity and how it affects writing about beer

The references to (Ray) Deniels and a multi-part beer theory are explained in the announcement. He suggests posting on “Twitter or on your own blog or both. Just no Instagram.” However, I would think Storify would be an option.

Session #109 topic announced: Porter

The SessionMark Lindner has announced the topic for The Session #109 will be Porter. Before you say “That’s so 2007” hear him out.

Possibilities include:

  • Contrast and/or compare two or more of the styles
  • Contrast and/or compare two or more beers within/across porter styles
  • The history and development of the style
  • Your love/hate relationship with any porter style
  • Baltic porter – ale or Lager or a mixed fermentation?
  • Is hopping the only difference between English and American styles?
  • Food pairings with your favorite porter or style of porter
  • Review the porter(s) you are using as a creative springboard
  • Construct a resource along the lines of Jay Brooks’ Typology style pages, see for example American Barley Wine or Bock.
  • Recipe and procedures for brewing your version of a great porter

“Porter” always conjures up thoughts of beer history, and unfortunately history misunderstood. And the thought further occurs to me that anybody who chooses to write about porter in the historic context may wish they first saw Martyn Cornell’s presentation at Ales Through the Ages next month: Industrialization in the British Brewing Industry 1720-1850: The Rise of the “Power-loom Brewers.”

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