I had this great idea about spending time on becoming a beer expert and writing about it. A nice journey, accompanied by some friends. Didn’t life and work get in the way of that.

We’ve had several amazing months at the office, adding a few more people, another festival, setting up the restructuring of the magazine, not to mention a few zillion contracts. A year ago at this time we had four people here.  Now we’re up to nine.

Recently I found myself sitting in a hotel in Boston after a day and a half of the Alstrom Brothers’ American Craft Beer Festival, trying to get my bearings. (That could be ball bearings, not navigational bearings, now that I think of it.) I spent a bit of time with Anat Baron of Beer Wars fame. My father would have described her as a dame — bright, confidant, successful and beautiful. She busted me for not posting and insisted I post frequently and briefly. So here I am. (You know, I still think the largest contribution that movie made, aside from setting new production standards for beer movies, was introducing consumers to Category Captains.)

Quick observations about the ACBF, other than all should come. I steered clear of the stalwarts – Dogfish, Alagash, Harpoon, etc. – looking for the lesser knowns of which there were plenty. Small breweries dot the New England landscape. Most had a simple, elegant range of beers, trustworthy and pleasant. A few really stepped out. Pretty Things has some exciting flying-without-a-net beers, each a unique story.  

Once again I was stymied by note taking, the lack there of. I did try, in sequence, three different interpretations of Saison with very little in common. I’m sorry but I just don’t remember the tiny brewery that was in love with Perle hops, which I think gave each of their beers a very intriquing, but unusual finish.  

Speaking of finish, finish Hops and Glory I did, early Sunday morning. Pete Brown’s latest romp is both adventure yarn and deep history revolving around the birth, life and death of India Pale Ale, the ale that created the Empire, and his attempt follow the 19th century ocean voyage with a cask of authentic 19th century IPA. What a rare combination of brilliant scholarship, amazing creativity, and blistering wit. The guy can move you with his passion or slay you with his jokes. Either way, Hops and Glory is a must read for beer lover or book lover alike.

I’m still working on notes from Siebel course.