A trip down the Fermentation Superhighway
Isn’t it great, living in the information age? We have an entire world of knowledge at our fingertips. Anything you need to know about anything is a couple of clicks away. What awesome capabilities that gives us!
Like the capability to learn about beer. in the olden days, before the ‘World Wide Web,’ serious beer journalists like us would have to actually travel, visiting bars and breweries, not to mention spending considerable time in the library to bring you a fine column like this. Now, we can do it in an hour, with no research time whatsoever!
Seriously, the Web is a great place for someone who wants to learn more about beer. Brewers and beer lovers are passionate about their beverage, and hundreds of websites and blogs exist to teach, entertain, and make you thirsty. Here are some of the best.
It’s easy to get hammered with your brother and talk about starting the Web’s premier beer-oriented website. Jason and Todd Alstrom of Boston, Massachusetts actually followed through. Drawing on their backgrounds in advertising and, um, airport baggage handling, the Alstrom brothers created Beer Advocate.
And what a website. Beer Advocate has sections that teach you the basics about beer styles, hundreds of thousands of reviews which cover any beer you’d conceivably run across, beer bar suggestions for any city in the freakin’ world, and a huge forum for those inclined to discuss beer or share event information.
More than the work of two men, Beer Advocate has grown into a community of thousands. It gives people who are passionate about beer and brewing a place to connect, share knowledge, and swap stories. This is an invaluable resource for beer newbie and veteran commercial brewer alike.
California beer journalist Jay Brookston is another tireless champion of craft brewing. His site, the Brookston Beer Bulletin, demonstrates through sheer volume of information how the line between website and blog can blur.
In his pages, Jay takes us on a firsthand tour of the US craft brewing scene. His writing transports readers to beer events around the country, introducing us to a cast of idiosyncratic characters along the way. Brookston is a true journalist, digging through legislation and analyzing all the boring behind-the-scenes stuff that makes this industry tick.
Probably most enjoyable, however, is Brookston’s taking to task of journalists that diss beer. Many disparaging wine snob and neo-prohibitionist have felt the effects of Brookston’s pen, which he must keep in a scabbard at his hip.
Finally, brookstonbeerbulletin.com provides links to hundreds of blogs and beer writers. Anyone interested in the craft can get lost for hours among the esoterica of craft brewing this site provides.
Finally, for a multidimensional and multinational perspective on the world of beer, there’s the simply named A Good Beer Blog. It’s a collaboration of writers from Canada, the USA, Europe and Asia. The proximity to Western New York of Editor Alan McLeod and contributing writer Gary Rith means Rochester gets more than its fair share of press in this content-rich website.
The articles on A Good Beer Blog are great for beer neophytes. Accessible and conversational in tone, they guide the reader deeper into the beer world without lobbing around terms like “alpha acids,” “lauter tun” and “decoction mash.” Considering the geographic separation of its collaborators, there’s a real sense of continuity and community in the tone of the content.
We use these sites daily, even though we already know everything about beer. If you have so much as a passing interest in craft brewing (and you must, because you’re reading this article), then you should put down this magazine, boot up your trendy Apple MacBook, and get to reading.
After all, what else could you possibly use the internet for?
Bruce is a certified beer judge and commercial brewer. Mark owns a laptop and likes beer. For more on beer, check out the beercraft blog, updated regularly, at http://beercraft.wordpress.com. Send your questions, suggestions, or comments to email@example.com.