Announcement – The Session #86 – Beer Journalism

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Greetings! I’m psyched to announce that it’s my turn to host The Session, a monthly beer blogging get together founded by Jay R. Brooks at Brookston Beer Bulletin and Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer.

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.

It’s time for a session of navel-gazing: I’d like to turn a critical eye on how the media cover the beer industry. And, for a broad definition, I’ll define media as newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, TV, books  and radio.

I pitched this Session idea back in December after seeing a fairly steady stream of griping about beer journalism with little productive conversation about it.

There was this Beer Advocate thread titled “Why is ‘beer journalism’ so bad?“.  Jacob McKean, founder of Modern Times Brewery in San Diego, recently wrote of beer journalism in an opinion piece, “In an industry with an almost total absence of real journalism, the cheerleading is virtually indistinguishable from the “reporting.”

And then there’s this, possibly my all-time favorite comment, from a guy named Gregg: “I absolutely hate beer journalism. And I hate beer journalists – subhumans all of them, no matter how well-written their sanctimonious brown-nosing fluff is, beer journalism has almost always been a tepid affair; a moribund endeavor due to its singular objective to flatter and promote, without ever scratching beneath the surface.”

So here’s what I want to know:

What role do beer writers play in the culture and growth of craft beer? Are we advocates, critics, or storytellers? What stories are not getting told and what ones would you like to never hear about again? What’s your beer media diet? i.e. what publications/blogs/sites do you read to learn about industry? Are all beer journalists subhumans? Is beer journalism a tepid affair and/or a moribund endeavor? And if so, what can be done about it?

In the spirit of tipping the hat when someone gets it right, please also share a piece of beer writing or media you love–it doesn’t have to be recent, and it could be an article, podcast, video, book or ebook–and explain a bit about what makes it great. I’ll include links to those articles as well in my roundup for easy access reading.

To help get the words flowing, check out BeerGraphs’ and  Hey Brewtiful’s recaps and reflections of the recent Craft Writing Symposium at the University of Kentucky, which featured Garrett Oliver, Jeremy Cowan,  The Session’s own Stan Hieronymus, and more.

Want to get involved? Here’s how you can participate in The Session:

1. Write a blog and post it on or by Friday, April 4. 
2. Leave a comment here with a link to your post.
3. Check back on Monday, April 7 for a roundup of all the blog posts.

 I’ll leave off with this inspirational Garrett Oliver quote from the symposium.

Brewing is hard; writing is really, really, really hard.

Cheers, and happy writing!

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45 comments

  1. heybrewtiful · · Reply

    Thanks for the link! Looking forward to participating! Exclamation mark!

  2. […] and hosted a symposium, Craft Writing, on beer writing (and I appreciate the shout out from the session’s host, Heather Vandenengel), I would think I have something (no matter how partial) to say. After all, […]

  3. Great topic! I’ve been hearing a lot about since the Craft Writing Symposium in Lexington. Here’s my two cents:
    http://theroamingpint.com/beer-journalism/

  4. […] month’s topic comes courtesy of Beer Hobo and is “Beer […]

  5. […] This month’s session is hosted by Heather Vandenengel from the delightfully named Beer Hobo, who poses the question: […]

  6. […] month’s Sessions host is Heather Vandenengel at Beer Hobo. Her chosen topic is Beer Journalism and here’s what she writes about […]

  7. Here’s my efforts – had to bash it out in a hurry ’cause I only remembered at 7pm that it was Beer Blogging Friday.
    http://beerisyourfriend.org/2014/04/04/the-sessions-86-beer-journalism/

    cheers for hosting

  8. […] session for April is hosted by the Beer Hobo.  And it might be one of those that stirs up the pot a […]

  9. Hi Heather – Thanks for hosting. Early returns show promise. My entry: Session #86: Beer stories that should be told

    Prosit – Stan

  10. Thanks for hosting and posing a question that should be asked. Here’s what I had to say:

    http://beer-runner.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-session-86-is-it-just-about-beer.html

    Cheers!

    Derrick

  11. […] topic comes from Heather Vandenengel at Beer Hobo who wants to know – more or less – what’s up with beer journalism? A lot, really, but thanks to Oliver for tag-teaming this topic. We both hope to address it soon in […]

  12. […] Vandenengel of Beer Hobo is hosting the 86th iteration of The Session. This month’s very a propos topic: Beer Journalism. Special thanks to Bryan D. Roth for […]

  13. With a little help from my friends, I submit this month’s entry: http://bit.ly/1gtBLiw … welcoming a little bundle of drunken joy into this world…

    Thanks, Heather!

    1. Oh…oh dear…no. This just in: our drunken golden boy has died.

      http://literatureandlibation.com/2014/04/04/session-86-obituary-beer-journalism/

      (Thanks Heather!)

  14. Started out asking a bunch of questions in answer to the questions, didn’t like that, threw it out, re-wrote, and was a little surprised by where it ended up going… et voila:

    http://www.annarborbeer.com/2014/04/whither-beer-journalism.html

    Cheers!

  15. Thanks for hosting. Here is my response.
    http://www.beersearchparty.com/session-86/

  16. I wasn’t going to do it, but got suddenly inspired, so here’s my bit:
    http://www.pivni-filosof.com/2014/04/the-session-86-beer-journalism.html

  17. […] The question(s) in today’s session: What role do beer writers play in the culture and growth of craft beer? Are we advocates, critics, or storytellers? What stories are not getting told and what ones would you like to never hear about again? What’s your beer media diet? i.e. what publications/blogs/sites do you read to learn about industry? Are all beer journalists subhumans? Is beer journalism a tepid affair and/or a moribund endeavor? And if so, what can be done about it? […]

  18. […] over the announcement, and the first few early posts responding to it, I’m afraid that I came off a bit harsh. I […]

  19. […] Beer Hobo, Heather Vandenengel, is hosting The Session this month. Her topic: BEER JOURNALISM. She writes, “There was this Beer Advocate thread titled “Why is ‘beer journalism’ so […]

  20. In the spirit of it all, I give you my “7 must-read points about beer writing.” Cheers!

  21. […] Beer Bulletin and Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer” as my friend and Session idea adviser Heather Vandenengel noted. This project has been going on for years, with 86 derivations, but I’ve never actually […]

  22. Managed to make it under the wire on Friday after all. Here’s my contribution and thanks for hosting! http://growlerfills.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-session-no-86-beer-journalism-giant.html

    Alan.

  23. A day late, and not really about beer journalism, but about an afternoon in the life of one who did practise the art.

    Me and Mr. Jackson

  24. […] is why I was particularly struck by my assignment for last week’s Session post, doled out by Heather Vandenengel of Beer Hobo. Based on the topic of beer journalism, Oliver Gray […]

  25. […] → Finally, a bit of bad news for those of you who find this kind of writing about blogging about writing tedious and navel-gazing: the topic for the next beer blogging session (Friday 4 April) is ‘Beer Journalism’. […]

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