I originally intended to write a pretty straightforward piece on the talk, allowing me to distil down what I’d learned (and probably bore my readers to tears in the process). However, on my way home, I got to thinking about why I blog and why I blog about beer in particular.
I’ve been writing this blog for around 7 or 8 months now, and I never really had any particular aim in mind when starting up. It was a chance to have a play with Jekyll (the platform this blog is built on), and also add some grease to the wheels of my increasingly rusty writing skills (I’m a software developer by trade these days, but I trained as a journalist - back when there was a small inkling that people could make a career out of writing words).
However, my updates have been patchy and beyond beer reviews, I’ve been struggling to find things to write about. But then something chimed with me when Neil from Brewdog introduced Matthew’s talk, and spoke about how he wanted to encourage more people to write about beer in Birmingham.
Brum has come a long way in the past four or five years, going from nothing but faceless Nicholson pubs and Wetherspoons, to a fantastically varied bar scene. From the real ale Mecca that is the Welly, through to Cherry Reds and newly-opened Tilt, to every beer geek’s favourite, the Craven Arms. It’s telling that Matthew said there’s absolutely no reason why Birmingham can’t be as valid a beer destination as, say, Manchester or Bermondsey.
But how do we get there? My feeling is this is where us bloggers come in. We need get out there and communicate the passion we feel to spread the word of good beer generally, and the beer scene in Brum and the Midlands specifically.
Most of the bars and breweries in the Midlands that are making and serving good beer (with the exception of maybe Brewdog) aren’t blessed with a huge marketing budget. It’s our job to be the mouthpieces of that movement, to shout about the great things the area has to offer (and, maybe offer up constructive criticism when things aren’t quite right).
Attending Matthew’s talk, as well as seeing a lively blogging scene bubbling up in the form of the Midlands Beer Blog Collective has really got me fired up, and this is probably the biggest thing that I took home with me.
The other thing that stuck with me was Matthew saying not to worry about what people thought about me when blogging. This piece might be a bit stream of consciousness, a bit meta, but it’s something I feel passionate about. I’m going to try and bring some of that same passion to my writing every time I blog, and I’m really going to try not to let my own self-consciousness get in the way.
(Oh, and I’m also challenging myself to write at least one thing a week - if I fall short of that mark, please tell me off!)