What I have always found to be true in five years of writing is that beer is about people. Sure, the same could be said of any industry, especially in food and beverage. Farming, winemaking, fishing — those involve people, too. But there are so many people who have their hands in a single bottle of America’s most ubiquitous beverage that it’s impossible to separate craft from craftsperson.
The stories of these people — barley growers, hop farmers, microbiologists, water treatment scientists, brewers, packaging technologists, blenders, bartenders, beer educators, among infinite others — are the essence of beer and of blogging.
And when it comes to storytelling, I’m privileged to know a group of bloggers who are dedicated to telling beer stories. Keep in mind that blogging isn’t glamorous, cheap, or even easy. Many talented writers don’t often get paid for their work. So let’s give the best of the best a little, much deserved, glamour.
Consider these folks below to be authorities in their own communities and beyond.
Leslie Patino // Not My Father’s Beer // Monterey, California
Not afraid of: macro beer // Passionate about: progressive politics
Leslie is a force for good in the writing sphere. She hails from California but prides herself in her world travels. I love her honest origin story: “When it comes to beer, my first exposure came from—who else?—my father. Dad drank mostly Pearl, Jax and Schlitz. (Hence the name of my blog, “Not My Father’s Beer.”)”
Her immaculate writing stems from her love of reading, and her natural, conversational approach is refreshing.
Huck // Huck’s Beer Buzz // Blacksburg, Virginia
Weakness: a good cigar // Signature: a slapstick joke that leaves you with more questions than you’d care to admit.
No profile of influential beer bloggers would be complete without the mention of Huck. When it comes to blogging, this guy only has a first name. Huck (given name Jeff Bowles, but don’t tell him I told you), of Huck’s Beer Buzz, has gained notoriety among conference attendees, as well as in his home state of Virginia.
Considering that next year’s conference is in his home state, there’s no chance of missing his shenanigans next August.
Dan Beaubien // Beerploma (Co-author) // Minneapolis, Minnesota
Can quote: the majority of Seinfeld episodes // By day: the coolest teacher on earth
What can I say about my hometown boy, Dan? We’ve been fast friends since the day we met, so I’m quite biased, but this guy knows his stuff. He traveled the majority of Michigan at the conclusion of this year’s conference and he has some encyclopedic knowledge about where he has been. He sees the good in both people and beer, and we are all better for it.
Jeff and Chris Estes // Bottle Makes Three // Denver, Colorado
Surprisingly cool with: selfies // Strength: a sleek, readable blog layout that’s modern yet classic
Jeff, along with his other half, Chris, sends his dispatches across the mountains in a state with quite a beer reputation. The two have been blogging for as many years as I have, and I’m struck by Jeff’s positivity and enthusiasm. The two are always up to try something new despite their constant interface with some of the best of the nation’s craft beer. Jeff believes that the phrase, “I’m just not a beer person” holds no weight — it’s just a matter of time before every person finds a beer to fall in love with.
Lucy Saunders // Beercook // Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Author: Cooking with Beer // Author: Grilling With Beer // Author: Dinner in the Beer Garden
Without question, Lucy Saunders has written the book(s) on food and beer. Not only does she respect beer pairings and dispel the myth that beer isn’t refined enough for finer foods, she advocates for beer as an ingredient. She has authored multiple books on cooking with beer and has garnered a much-deserved respect among the brewing and culinary industries. She hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Eric Jackson // Uncap Everything // Atlanta, Georgia
Enthusiastic about: involving everyone in craft beer // not afraid of: real conversations
Eric writes about a craft beer culture that is very different from the inward-looking one here in the Midwest, and he is very proud of the legislative headway that has been made in his home state this fall. Eric is extremely passionate about putting a beer in everyone’s hand, regardless of their perceptions about what craft beer is or who it is for. Keep an eye on this guy, people. He’s going places. And if you ever meet him, ask him about Green Eggs and Ham.
Carla Jean Lauter // The Beer Babe // Portland, Maine
No one commands the Twitter stage like Carla. She’s a consummate professional with a level head, a wide lens, and something important to say. Known as The Beer Babe, her cheeky nickname stems from a time when she began to explore craft beer out of sheer curiosity and decided to document her experience. Much of her writing is Maine-focused but her topical posts strike a wider chord. Follow along at @beerbabe
Greg Washington // Daddy Porter // Madison, Wisconsin
favorite beer style: porter // goal: to become a Cicerone (while remaining a stay-at-home-dad)
Greg’s recent blog launch is more goal-oriented than many. He is on his way to becoming a Cicerone and he is using his surroundings in Madison to do so. His bright personality embodies the philosophy that beer is about people — somehow I just can’t picture Greg drinking alone.
There are, of course, many more faces of beer and beer writing. I encourage everyone to learn a new beer story today, whether at your local stop (how did you acquire enough hops for this wet hop beer?) or while on the road, where questions come naturally. You just might hear an unforgettable story.
Thanks to Rick Didora for his excellent photography.