— the author
Born in 1979 and raised in suburban Wellington, I’ve mostly lived here in the City, with a few years each in Canberra and Melbourne. I’ve spent too-many years at University, and work as a bartender partially to avoid having to deal with Mornings.
Disclosures: As quickly becomes obvious from reading the site (for example: this Diary entry, and conspicuously-recurring glassware and backgrounds in very many photos), I worked for a long time (July 2008 to April 2012) at the Malthouse, a beer bar in Central Wellington. The Malthouse has majority ownership in common with Tuatara Brewery, the most-local craft brewery. I personally own a single share in the West Coast Brewing Company, purchased for 31¢ from a friend who was going in for a more normal-sized investment and insisted that I (as resident Beer Nerd) join in — though who knows what’s happened to that, given the still-developing news of their liquidation. I worked one shift at Bar Edward (to help out for a very-busy Newtown Fair) and did the photography for the Hop Garden website. After a few months of not actually working behind a bar after I left Malthouse, I wound up as a sort of roster-filling backup-bartender at Hashigo Zake. Shortly after, I (also) landed a full-time job at the Garage Project brewery here in town, more or less as a spare pair of hands for the various random errands that the freshly-upscaled operation had acquired. On the side, I regularly co-host beer tastings for Craft Beer College. Obviously-commercial relationships aside, through my work and otherwise, I’m also on friendly terms with a good swag of local brewers, bartenders and bar owners.
But, as any one of my employers, acquaintances or friends will attest, none of this is likely to soften my criticism of anyone or anything. I’m usefully insubordinate and impolite, in that way. These disclosures of potential conflicts are more for the sake of completeness, and in the hopes that other people — more firmly entrenched in the beer-commentary world, and with much-stronger conflicts — might get in the habit of disclosing theirs.
— the Diary
My Beer Diary started life as an actual honest-to-goodness diary, or at least notebook. It was a component of a particularly-awesome birthday present I got one year from my good friend George while we were both living in Melbourne.
He gave me a chilly bin (‘Esky’, if you’re Australian; ‘cooler’, if you’re American) which contained several beers I’d never had before (from the excellent King & Godfree near our house) and had a notebook and pen perched upon it. His point was that I was just on the turn from Ordinary Person Who Likes Beer into Proper Beer Nerd, and so I should start making some documentation.
The Diary lasted several years, with entries initially rather infrequent owing to my forgetfulness but then accelerating considerably as a) said Nerdiness grew, b) I finally made a proper habit of taking it with me, and also once c) I finished law school and promptly went back to working behind a bar for my sanity’s sake.
It was seriously running out of pages as I neared my most-recent birthday and that struck me as an excellent excuse to transition into a new notebook, which my friend and flatmate Amelia had coincidentally recently bought me. In turn, this finally gave me the motivation to put the Diary online — partially to preserve its contents in case I should lose the thing itself, partially to ease the annoyance of not being able to find things easily among its 300+ entries (or at all, since I now only carry Diary II with me), and partially for the sake of those peculiar few-but-actually-existing people who have expressed curiosity as to its contents when they’ve seen me scribbling in it.
The initial Great Uploading is taking place in late September / early October of 2010, but entries will be back-dated to reflect their actual creation. Despite some potential for embarrassment, they’re going up as-is with verbatim transcripts — though I’ll also add contemporary commentary and additional notes as the mood strikes. Once we’re up-to-date with the original notebook, entries from its subsequent replacement(s?) will continue to go up here.
Keeping the Diary has been a massively rewarding experience; I encourage anyone with a scrap of geekiness about what they’re drinking (or indeed any other subject) to do the same. Maintaining actual, handwritten, on-the-spot notes of something as you explore and learn has an interesting and beneficial effect on the brain.
I hope you enjoy reading along with my particular obsession — feel free to annotate my Diary with your own comments, feedback, quibbles, or expressions of “damn, I love that one, too!”.