Tag Archives: the beer counselor updates

Why I Write

I see them come in every day to the bar.  They are all like greyhounds chasing a fake rabbit around a track.  They are on a track chasing a goal they’ve been told they should want.  They set goals, hit benchmarks, and achieve things.  We are taught this concept at an early age, and then it is reinforced by a whole industry dedicated to teaching and perpetuating that across almost every business.

That approach did not work for me.  That is not quite accurate.  That approach might have worked if I had been setting goals that I wanted to accomplish and not the ones I was told I should accomplish.  After a series of not quite failing but not getting what I believed I wanted and going broke, I had to find another way for me to be content.

I was flailing and working at a job I knew I could do in my sleep that had no real future for me.  I found website zenhabits.net.  The author, Leo Babauta, had a similar story as I did in not finding happiness in the traditional goal setting manner, so along with deepening his Zen Buddhist practice, he became a proponent of living a goalless life.

The first blog post I read from was to imagine the perfect day.  The day where you are living your life the way you want to.  What are you doing and who are you with from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.  From that, you know what you should be doing every day.  If you start doing the things you saw in that vision right now, you will begin to live the life you want and begin reaping the things you need for a content life.

After I started that, I then started reading more about Zen Buddhism and found another concept that has shaped how my life has moved.  It goes hand in hand with the goalless life and it is the idea of doing the thing to do the thing.  You dig a hole and fill it up.  Why? To dig a hole and fill it up.  Zen meditation isn’t about achieving enlightenment, it is about sitting and breathing.

This appealed to me because it had been my experience in life.  The times I tried to do X solely to accomplish Z, I failed.  The times I did X for the sake of doing X and did it to the best of my abilities I found I gained much more then I could ever have imagined.  I did X and I still accomplished Z.  No expectations and no goals work for me.

This Christmas season I had lost the idea of no expectations and no goals.  I forgot that doing the thing, to do the thing was how I have made the life I’ve made.  I have lost a lot of weight in the last year, and part of that was because of running every day.  Somewhere in the last two weeks of dinners, weird work hours, going out with friends, etc. I lost the idea of running to run and running began to take on the weight of losing weight.  I forgot that I ran because I like it and it is fun.  By thinking about it as solely a way to lose weight it took on too much and I couldn’t make myself run for the last week.  The same thing happened with my mediation and my writing.  I sit and just breath to sit and breath.  I write because I like writing.  The outcomes of any of those actions are uncontrollable.  You can only control the things you do and not really what they accomplish and certainly not how others react to it.

So, why do I write? I write because I like it and I write about beer because the things around the American craft beer market are interesting and ever-changing.

Living with no goals and no expectations works for me.  I think, my life will see great changes over the next year.  However, I don’t expect it.  I am simply going to keep running, keep meditating, keep writing.  I know if I do those things every day, I will get the things in my life I need.

The Beer Counselor 3.0 or something like that

If you know me or have seen photos of me over the last year, you know that I have undergone a significant weight loss.  I abhor taking medicine, and when my doctor told me I could lose weight or go on high blood pressure and cholesterol medicine, I decided to change my lifestyle and lose weight.

This past week, I went shopping for a new winter coat and had to buy a medium.  I was shocked.  This time last year I was comfortably wearing an extra large. This is a change I like and it is a change I intend to keep.  Again, it isn’t just about weight loss, it is a change in lifestyle and mindset.

This is where the beer part of losing weight comes in to play.  This weight loss means I have to drink less beer then I did before.  I have chosen as my profession, selling and writing about craft beer.  By definition, I have to drink craft beer.  However, I am treating it not as a sacrifice, but as an opportunity.

Two things about losing weight and drinking less.  The first, it makes me a cheap date.  If I drink more then one or two beers over 6% ABV, I might not be drunk, but I can definitely feel it.  The second thing it means is I have to drink beer in a way that gives me maximum enjoyment.  That means drinking really good beer (already doing that) and ensuring every interaction between my beer and my food is as good as it possibly can be.

Yes, I’m talking about beer and food pairing.

This blog has always been a living thing to me. It has changed to reflect the changes in the craft beer world and the things that most interest me in that world.  This is the next evolution of The Beer Counselor.  In this iteration, I endeavor to write 2 reviews, 1 beer and food pairing specific post, and 1 general (sometimes kvetching into the internet void) post.

Also, I have a new accomplice to assist me with my food and beer pairing.  Plus, in the very near future, there will be a new project hitting the interwebs with me and Aaron Gore.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 12/29/15

Until I started looking at the news every day to find articles to post here, I had forgotten how little news happens in the days right after Christmas. Let me change that, I had forgotten how little news gathering happens the days right after Christmas.  This is especially true this year with Christmas and New Year’s being on successive Fridays.  Many people are taking almost two weeks of vacation this year.

So, instead of reading another round of year-end lists and speculative “what will happen in the beer world for 2016” columns of varying quality, today’s Five Articles will be Five Things to expect from me and the blog this coming year.

  • I will do more reviews this year. The goal is one review per week.  There are two reasons for this.  One I will cover in a bullet a little further down, but the other is to continue to add content to the website.  Tasting is also fun.  I get to drink a beer and tell others about it.
  • I will also get back to writing, at least, one (hopefully two) Beer Counselor blog posts. Again, these are fun to write.  They are hard work, but fun work. I want to travel and do more non-work related beer stuff this year and write about them.
  • I will take the Cicerone exam. My goal is to take the August 17 exam in Asheville.  I want to study and prepare for it for a few months before I take it.  If I don’t feel I’m ready by then I will probably wait until the exam at GABF this year, but my goal is to take it and pass this year.  This is another reason I want to do more reviews.  I need to expand and exercise my palate.  The tasting portion of the exam is the one that worries me most and the one I will have to work hardest at.  Also, prepping for the exam will hopefully give me more material to write about.
  • I will go back to the GABF. As much of a shit show, Saturday night at GABF can be with (a bunch of people with no responsibilities getting drunk and stoned in a confined space) the rest of the week is great.  The first night is the beer geeks night.  We are all wondering around trying to taste beers we’ve only heard of and trying to find the next great brewery.  Also, you are in Denver for a few days.  You get to go around to all the breweries and bars that respect craft beer.  It is just a wonderful working vacation.
  • I will provide you with more chances to read things I write outside of the blog. I will active seek out more opportunities for freelance beer articles this year.   This is actually in part goes back to GABF.  If it is at all possible, I would love to go to GABF with a media pass.  I don’t think I can express how big a deal that would be for me personally.

So, there we are.  That is a lot of words to say that my two goals this year are to pass the Cicerone exam and get media credentials for GABF, but there you are.  Also, there is one other thing I want to work on to take my mind off of the exam and other beer stuff that will remain secret until I get a little farther down the line with it.  If you know me well, you can guess what kind of project it is.  Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll be able to scrape together five news articles from the past few days to pontificate over.