Reasons to be Cheerful

We don’t generally cast ourselves as cheerleaders but today, with the sun shining, we wanted to take a minute to ac-cen-tu-ate the positives.

1. There are loads of great pubs and bars still to dis­cov­er. We’re 143 pubs into our #Every­Pu­bIn­Bris­tol mis­sion and still find­ing gems like The Beau­fort

2. And new ones are open­ing or re-open­ing all the time in unex­pect­ed places, such as The Pur­suit of Hop­pi­ness in Exeter, or the Bar­rel at Bude.

3. Even with our Every Pub mis­sion, and hav­ing been in var­i­ous small towns, sub­urbs and vil­lages, we haven’t had a real­ly rank pint in months. We can’t recall the last time we felt the need to com­plain and ask for a replace­ment.

4. There’s more choice of beer and beer styles than most of us have the time to do any­thing about, even out­side the hippest cen­tres of craft beer cul­ture. For exam­ple, Marks & Spencer announced a new beer range this week which includes a Sai­son from St Austell, and our local CO-OP has a choice of canned ses­sion IPAs, all per­fect­ly decent. The aver­age small-town Wether­spoon can usu­al­ly do you a dou­ble IPA, a choice of stan­dard IPAs, a choice of wheat beers, one or two Trap­pist beers, and that’s with­out even look­ing at the taps.

The beer garden at The Pirate.

5. It’s near­ly beer gar­den sea­son! The evenings are draw­ing out, the grass is grow­ing over the mud­dy patch­es, and the pic­nic tables are being sand­ed down. If we don’t get to sit in the sun drink­ing pints of lager in the next fort­night, some­thing will have gone dread­ful­ly wrong.

6. There are people out there just dis­cov­er­ing how inter­est­ing and excit­ing beer can be, drift­ing towards the thrill-ride of becom­ing a Five. Some­one out there will drink their first West­malle Tripel today! (Fur­ther read­ing: ‘Dare I Say Wine for Wives?’)

7. Adnams, Fuller’s, Harvey’s, St Austell, Tim­o­thy Tay­lor and a ton of oth­er respect­ed fam­i­ly brew­eries are not only still going strong but (a) con­tin­u­ing to brew clas­sics such as ESB and Land­lord and (b) brew­ing gen­uine­ly inter­est­ing side project beers, includ­ing a flood of porters.

8. There is beer on TVIt seemed impos­si­ble a few years ago but now there’s beer most week­ends on Chan­nel 4’s Sun­day Brunch, brew­er Jae­ga Wise has joined the crew on ITV’s The Wine Show, and ‘Jol­ly’ Olly Smith is cur­rent­ly work­ing on series 3 of Ale Trails for the Trav­el Chan­nel.

9. Every week­end for the past few years we’ve man­aged to find enough inter­est­ing writ­ing about beer and pubs to pop­u­late a blog post with links. There’s more good stuff in 2018 than there was in 2014, cov­er­ing a wider range of top­ics from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. Recent­ly, for the first time, there was so much going on we had to resort to bul­let points to get it all in.

10. Beer in gen­er­al con­tin­ues to be real­ly tasty, and get­ting tip­sy with friends and fam­i­ly is still great fun.

Com­ments are turned off on this post but feel free to email or Tweet at us if there’s some­thing you need to say.

Staying excited about blogging

Empty beer glass.
Beer blog­ging – time for a refill?

In mark­ing his 1000th post, fel­low beer blog­ger Tan­dle­man sug­gest­ed (as we read it) that beer blog­ging was in the dol­drums at the moment – that Twit­ter had stolen some of the con­ver­sa­tion that used to take place in the com­ments sec­tions of blogs and that beer blog­gers were there­fore less moti­vat­ed to write new posts. Oth­ers sec­ond­ed that emo­tion. (© Smokey Robin­son.)

Speak­ing for our­selves, we’ve nev­er had more ener­gy and enthu­si­asm for blog­ging, but we do know what they mean. With that in mind, here are a few things that keep us keen, which you may or may not find use­ful.

1. John­ny Five needs input!

Read a book, vis­it a pub, drink some­thing new, go to a muse­um, watch a film… It doesn’t have to be direct­ly beer-relat­ed: we’re suf­fi­cient­ly obsessed with beer that even the most mun­dane and tan­gen­tial expe­ri­ence can trig­ger an idea for a blog post.

2. “You’ve got to have a project.”

An acquain­tance of ours used to say that with ref­er­ence to his love life, but it applies more gen­er­al­ly. Maybe it’s a book; maybe it’s a self-imposed ‘mis­sion’; a con­tri­bu­tion to the col­lec­tive wis­dom; or a record of a trip abroad; but it doesn’t real­ly mat­ter. The point is, if we have a goal, we have a rea­son to write a post, rather than putting it off until, sud­den­ly, it’s been six months since we last wrote any­thing.

3. Try some­thing new to spice things up.

Yes, this has all gone a bit Dear Dei­dre. When we’re bored of writ­ing, we take some pho­tographs, make a graph, dig up some videos, paint pic­tures, cook some­thing. We write in a dif­fer­ent voice to the one we nor­mal­ly employ. We make a list. Go off top­ic. Blog about blog­ging.

4. Avoid the blog­gers’ equiv­a­lent of Dar­ti­tis.

The longer the gap between posts, the more seems to be rid­ing on the next one. We try not to ago­nise too much about whether to post some­thing: we write quick­ly, read it through, and bung it up. If peo­ple don’t like it, so what? You win some, you lose some. It’ll be for­got­ten tomor­row when we put up the next post, and the one after that.

5. Take a break before you quit.

It’s always sad when blog­gers quit. When we real­ly lost enthu­si­asm in 2010, and thought about quit­ting, what we actu­al­ly did was take a break. We decid­ed how long it was going to be and announced it, with­out feel­ing the need to apol­o­gise. At the end of that peri­od, our note­books were bulging with ideas for posts we want­ed to write. (If they hadn’t been, then that would have been the sign to call it a day.)

Please for­give us for blog­ging about blog­ging – we don’t do it often, rel­a­tive­ly speak­ing.