Beer critic

An award and a reward


A little award I won in Melbourne last week.


It’s safe to say my visit to Melbourne for Good Beer Week was short and sweet.

Very sweet indeed. That’s largely because I somehow came away with the tag of Australian Beer Writer of the Year, after winning the AIBA Beer Media Award. I had entered the requisite five stories months ago and thought “wouldn’t it be ace to win” while at the same time not figuring I had much of a chance at all.

I still thought the same when the organisers contacted me a few weeks out asking to supply a blurb and logo. I still thought the same a week out when one of the key sponsors of other awards started following me on Twitter out of the blue. Still thought it when, two days beforehand, I got a call inviting me to the awards.

Slow on the uptake? Nah, I prefer to look it it more as not being arrogant enough to assume I had it in the bag. Because, some of the other people who had nominated for the award write about beer for a living – me, it’s a sideline that I keep doing because I enjoy it. To think I was going to win anything under those circumstances seemed presumptuous in the extreme.

And yet somehow I did win.

When they read my name out last Thursday night I was genuinely shocked. I’m sure I had a stunned look on my face when award sponsor James Smith from The Crafty Pint handed me the trophy and shook my hand. I know I had a short conversation at the time but I can’t for the live of me remember what it was about.

A flood of congratulations followed on Twitter  – which will always make a person feel good – that night and the following morning as well as surges in followers and web stats.

I was humbled at the time I won and I’m still humbled nearly a week later. The night I won, I put the trophy in a place in my hotel room where I could see it when I woke up and realise it wasn’t a dream. At home it sits on a bookshelf and, at least once a day, I pick it up just to look at it.

When you write online you can never really be sure that what you’re doing is any good. Sure, there’s the webs stats but it’s hard to tell if the people clicking on stuff are doing it because it’s entertaining or just because it finished high up in a Google search they did.

So it really means something to have a group of judges to say “hey, you’re doing okay”. Or more accurately “Your entries were engaging, approachable and varied with some great originality” (that was an actual comment from the judges).

If you’re curious here are the pieces I entered:

History in a Bottle #5 – Random Breath Testing
The Beers We Drink Round Here
Brewing a Beer with Redskins
The Man From GABS
Barellan Along as One (via the Crafty Pint)

And the reward mentioned in the title of this post? Well, that came in the form of a hug from Jayne, the brewer at Two Birds. Regular readers will know of my fondness for Two Birds Taco, which extended so far as to write them an open letter begging that they bottle the beer. So the brewery knew me via the internet but I had never met any of them face to face.
So when I saw Jayne at the GABS Two Birds stall I introduced myself. She walked around from behind the beer taps and asked, “is it okay if I give you a hug?” (Presumably because of the nice things I’d said about Taco).

Of course it was.

PS I’m hoping this year’s Two Birds GABS beer Jam Donut ends up in bottles too. I want to drink that again.

7 replies »

  1. Being a longtime follower I can assure you the award is truly deserved.

    A balanced view with what is happening in the beer world interdisbursed with humour.

    Congratulations, Damo

  2. I only stumbled across this blog in January after returning to Aus after a year in Colorado. The USA opened my eyes to the wide variety of truly excellent beers that were available, and seemed to be rather harder to find here. You have me dig a little deeper in the Australian market, and I have enjoyed what you write regularly. Well done mate.

  3. Congratulations! This blog for me is like one of those old guys who only drink VB, I’m not interested in trying any others.

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