Blogging and writing

Reviewing pubs and beers without looking like a geek

A mobile beer review
A mobile beer review

I’m always a bit self-conscious about taking notes in pubs, and generally don’t bother. But what do you do when you come across an interesting beer that you really want to write about later?

Text messaging is the answer. Just write your review in a mammoth text, and save it. You look like you’re a cool dude with loads of mates, rather than a sad sack looking for blog material.

Paul Garrard has a PDA, which could also work to review anonymously.


17 replies on “Reviewing pubs and beers without looking like a geek”

I’m one of these hopeless cases that insists on texting in full/proper English therefore my PDA for me is quicker. I don’t feel as self-conscious with it as I did with a notebook.

I do this too! Though I usually use the Notes feature of my phone (or even PuTTY to a terminal-based text editor on my server) rather than an SMS. I write pub (and restaurant) reviews rather than beer reviews, so I’ve got quite good at looking casually around the room to note things like specials written on blackboards, what’s on the pump clips at the bar, etc, and then pausing for a sip of my drink to throw any observers off the scent before going back to the thumb-typing. I’ve only been rumbled once, as far as I know.

I have got used to the strange looks you get in a pub for taking notes and sticking your nose in the glass, not to mention taking pictures of the beer with the camera in my phone – though generally I use my normal camera now. What would be cool would be a notepad based on the Cyclops system.

We’ve been doing this for years! I shudder at the thought of scrawling on a notepad in a pub – but a sly text message to evoke jealousy from the non-present members of the collectiv works a treat 🙂 Only problem is my girlfriend sometimes moans that I’m being neglectful when I’m texting away rather than talking to her!

I try to keep my beer reviews succinct and squeezed into one text message (160 characters). Pan-C goes as far as to later transfer his texts onto his scooper’s spreadsheet but I refuse to cross that particular line of geekdom.

I’ve done the text message method from time to time. More often than not I don’t bother at all though. However, there have been times when I’d carry in a classy moleskine notebook, and on a couple occasions have gotten inquiries as to whether or not I’m a journalist.

So in that case, with the proper equipment, you can look like a savvy intellectual or a deep, misunderstood poet. Although no dates have come my way as a result of this thus far.

I also love spreadsheets – how sad is that?
I actually use them to generate some of my html code around my beer tastings it works a treat and is so fast once set up.

I’ll get me coat!

I think Bailey is trying to imply I’m a Massive Geek. Just coz I like to organise my life via spreadsheets.

I’ve never taken it as far as putting beers I’ve drunk on one, though…

Someone came in my pub and started taking notes. I took the liberty of looking over his shoulder to see what he was scribbling. He was writing poetry. Bless his cottons.

Taking notes about pubs and beers is very odd unless you’re acting as a journalist.

Ah, the old “page of poetry” trick. Bet he was really rating your landlord.

Sometimes I do want to get detailed facts straight. Usually I can rely on my memory (and the internet) to remember the name of a beer, but I’ve missed writing about a couple of corkers because I couldn’t remember the name of the brewery and google let me down.

oh god…yeah, that’s me. Feverishly sipping, no matter if alone or with company, texting in my ‘drafts’ setting and saving the texts…i have done pen and paper at one point! and then there’s taking covert pictures of the pump clips or bottles! that’s a whole different world.

I have snapped pump clips with my mobile phone camera before. If I get a quizzical look I just explain I want to remember the beer’s name so I can try it again. Easy.

At a festival near Prague I was taking pictures of the beers I had bought from a small brewer, when asked why I told him straight – I have a blog and I am going to write about your beer on Monday. He wouldn’t let me pay for another beer all day.

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