Beer critic

The reality of the beer writer

Oh, you're complaining about being a beer writer? My heart bleeds for you.

Oh, you’re complaining about being a beer writer? My heart bleeds for you.

As a guy who writes about beer for the local newspaper every damn chance he gets as well as this blog thing, I have come to the conclusion that people seem to have a skewed idea of what I do and just how fantastic it is.
So, I figure I might correct this imbalance. And maybe a few other grog writers will thank me too.

‘‘You’re a beer writer? That sounds like a great job.’’
Okay, you’re concentrating a bit too much on the ‘‘beer’’ side of things and not the ‘‘writer’’ side. You’ve gotten stuck on that word and figure drinking beer is so awesome and to do it for a job is more awesomer.
But it’s only half the job. If you want this job, you also have to do the other half. The half where you write about what you’ve drunk. That means paying attention to what you’re drinking – thinking about what it’s doing, trying to put a name to that aroma you’re smelling and taking detailed notes.
Then you have to sit in front of a computer and work out how to turn your scrawled notes into something other people might actually want to read. See it’s not all about getting pissed.

‘‘So you must get pissed a lot.’’
Nope, not when I’m working. I see it as a tad unprofessional to get smashed when some brewery or promo company is picking up the tab. Besides, if I’m at these things, I’m WORKING. Yep, sometimes the job of a beer writer involved not getting pissed.
Especially when you usually have to drive yourself to these breweries and events.

‘‘You must get heaps of free beer.’’
I get some but way, way, way less than you might think. The vast majority of stuff I review in the paper or here on the blog is stuff that I’ve bought with my own money.
I’d love it if breweries sent me free beer all the time, like that guy who runs the Crafty Pint. But they don’t. Though, if any breweries are reading this, please feel free to send me stuff to review in the newspaper. Yes, it really is that easy to get your stuff written about in my column.

“You must get invited to things all the time.’’
Yeah I do, but I don’t get to go to many of them. Firstly, beer writing is a bit of a sideline – transport and workforce is my main focus. So I can’t just say to the boss ‘‘hey, I’ve got to spend the day in Sydney visiting this brewery and drinking their beer’’.
Secondly, I have a family and I actually like to spend time with them of an evening. And it would just be unkind to drag a six-year-old to breweries every weekend.

‘‘How do you keep so thin while drinking so much beer?’’
Okay, I’m kidding here. I wish people asked me this question.

Categories: Beer critic

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