Beer Guy

Call me the accidental beer guy.

Not that it’s an accident that I love drinking beer.  That was probably inevitable.  But writing about it as a kind of job? That required an involuntary loss of regular employment, which occurred for me in early 2009.

Not long after, the venerable Ann Arbor News folded, and its parent company announced that AnnArbor.com would rise from the ashes and offer writing opportunities to any non-journalists with the temerity to approach them with an interesting idea.

Why don’t you have someone write about our amazing local beer scene? I asked.

Tell us more, they said.

Well, I gushed, we have Arbor, Blue Tractor, and Grizzly Peak brewpubs. Then there’s Ashley’s, the bar with the most beer taps in the whole freakin’ state, and soon Jolly Pumpkin of Dexter is gonna open a café right on Main Street. In Ypsilanti there’s the Corner Brewery, Milan has Original Gravity Brewing, and Liberty Street Brewing graces Plymouth. And I haven’t even talked about Ann Arbor’s well established homebrewing community.

You seem to know a lot about it, they said. Why don’t you be the beer guy?

And the rest is history. In the more than two years since I became the AnnArbor.com beer guy, the local beer scene has only gotten bigger, with the addition of Wolverine State Brewing and a huge new Adventures in Homebrewing store on Ann Arbor’s west side, Witch’s Hat Brewing in downtown South Lyon, and the ever-increasing interest of area restaurants and bars in hosting beer dinners, special tastings, and other beer-centric events. (Good brew, it seems, is contagious.) At the same time, I’ve also picked up regular gigs at Great Lakes Brewing News and Michigan Beer Guide, along with occasional appearances on beer-oriented sites like MittenBrew.com.

But a confession is necessary: All this fun beer writing does not keep the wolf from the door.  As a freelancer in a constant scramble for enough to pay the rent each month, I sadly don’t always find time to pursue all those grandiose ideas I have to become, say, the Hunter S. Thompson of beer. (To be honest, I also lack the requisite level of insanity.)

So beer blogging is necessarily (for now) a part-time and somewhat amateurish effort, despite my punny take on the New York Times’s pretentious old catch-phrase. But I do the best I can trying to keep good beer lovers in and around Ann Arbor up to date, and I hope that what I do do encourages you to keep exploring the marvelous and ever-growing craft beer bounty we’re blessed with right here in our backyard.

See you at the bar!

Updated: January 2012