Here’s to a new blogging project…

As if I didn’t have enough to do, I’ve decided that since I don’t have any travels planned for the near future I needed some other prompt to do some writing, and beer seems like as good a starting point as any.

I owe some credit for the inspiration to my friend (and fellow beer enthusiast) Philip, who spent the last year keeping track of the different beers he has tried, but without much in the way of detailed documentation. I don’t have any specific goals, like a certain number of different beers to try this year, or becoming more knowledgeable about different beer styles or varieties of hops. Nor do I plan on nuanced descriptions of flavor profiles. I may or may not get around to including pictures. Mostly this is a way of keeping track of what I especially enjoy (and what I don’t).

This is not necessarily an easy task because I do like variety in my beer selections and frequently find myself being indecisive when faced with the wide range of choices at a couple of the stores I shop at regularly. I feel like my beer enjoyment is highly situational and not necessarily purely a function of any objective measure of quality. I can, for example, identify one of the most enjoyable beer memories of my life as a plastic cup of Old Milwaukee from an ice-cold keg on a hot summer night in college, more years ago than I would care to admit. So I plan to explore and document how what I like depends on what I’m eating (since most of my beer consumption is with a meal), on what the weather is like, and anything else that I can think of. That makes this project something like a science experiment, which makes sense because chemistry is one of my primary areas of training and expertise.

I definitely have a few preferences going into this project. I am, for starters, primarily interested in craft brews and not the big national or international producers. I can’t recall, for instance, ever in my life buying a six-pack of Budweiser, and even before the craft brewing revival impinged on my consciousness (sometime around 1990) I tended to seek out beers that were more flavorful than the typical American lager. I’m not a big fan of wheat beers, and I’m not always enthusiastic about unfiltered beers. I’m also cautious about non-traditional ingredients like spices or fruit extracts, though I have had some pleasant surprises when one of these shows up in a mix pack. I have a few breweries that I find especially reliable, so they will probably show up frequently.

And finally, a disclaimer about moderation, since some impressionable adolescents with whom I interact on a daily basis might stumble onto this blog. As noted above, my enjoyment of beer is mostly tied to food and I am not an advocate of drinking beer for purposes of inebriation. A colleague once told me that I seemed to really enjoy alcohol “in a good way.” I agree with that description in the sense that I appreciate the good qualities of beer, wine, and a variety of distilled spirits. That enjoyment, however, is tied to not having my faculties compromised by too much alcohol in too short a time, so the accumulation of variety as the blog grows may be steady, but it will also be slow.

In the interest of neatness, I’ll try to start keeping track on New Year’s Day and see if I can manage the discipline to keep going for all of 2014, so look for a first real post sometime in early January. Cheers!

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