Category Archives: Going meta

Posts about posts (my own; for collections of and reactions to other peoples’ work, see the Mediawatch section), and my beer writing-and-rambling career (such as it is)

A rededication; a short rant elaborated

There are few things more banal and trite, in this strange world of unpaid keyboard-rattling, than the ‘Apology For Not Posting More Often’ post. So let’s not have one of those. In any case, I’m not really sorry; the time off was more than called-for, in the circumstances, and oddly enjoyable, in its own way. Besides, I was hardly on another planet and out of the loop entirely; shorter-form stuff on Twitter and Facebook kept me entertained and let me vent when necessary. But the combination of the extended sabbatical and a recurring pattern of responses — that I both observed and (apparently) provoked — that left me wanting to plant a flag, of sorts, on my way back home; to point at something that’d been murmuring unpleasantly in the background a while and say down with this sort of thing. As I vented once, late last year, in lieu of a proper table-flip:

As a way to deflect negative attention, I’ve been seeing this (and its close relatives) quite a lot — i.e., way too much. To me personally, it happened most bewilderingly when I pointed out some pretty bloody basic grossness by the guys at WilliamsWarn; and a version of the same popped up, perhaps more inevitably, a few times when I’d given Moa a gentle prod for whatever was their nonsense de jour. Geoff Ross, their CEO, eventually retreated to some bizarre form of economic patriotism rather than listening to people who would perhaps quite like to buy his company’s beer but can no longer bring themselves to reward him with their money. The impulse to see criticism as an attack is apparently strong one in us humans,1 poor bewildered monkeys that we are.

Really, though, it’s your closest friends who’ll tell you when you have schmutz stuck in your teeth. Acquaintances and strangers probably couldn’t give enough of a fuck to bother, and usually can’t be relied upon to point out when you’re behaving like a bit of a dick. In a more-perfect world, your friends wouldn’t hesitate. In any particular domain, it is entirely possible — likely, even — that the infamously grumpy curmudgeon or recidivist ranty bastard is, at heart, a disappointed optimist, pissed off that some frustratingly tenacious crapness is marring something wonderful. The beer business / community / scene / whatever is an excellent place; there’s a reason I’m still here after a decade-and-change — I just can’t fathom why the fuck we’re still dragging along boring old sexism and other miscellaneous bullshit.

The world — the “beer world”, sure, but also, you know, the world-world — is a delightfully morally complex place. This bites in two interesting ways, for present purposes: 1) carping on about one action or aspect of a company while praising another is perfectly possible — I’ve raved about Yeastie Boys’ beers and business model for almost exactly as long as I’ve kept poking them in the ribs about better-labeling where everything comes from2 — and 2) you don’t have to back any particular dog in a fight to comment on the dust-up as it happens. Hell, you don’t even need to cheer for “your” dog, to the extent that you have one; in my time at Garage Project, I had my disagreements with decisions of theirs both minor and major and voiced them as best I could.3

Moa Pale Ale, in its aluminum bottle
Moa Pale Ale, in its misbegotten aluminum bottle — rather neat, but made (at silly expense) for the airline market and now suprlus to requirements

More generally, there just isn’t always a side worth cheering for. To take two recent examples from — who else?4 — Moa, their clashes with Air New Zealand and Cloudy Bay are perfect illustrations. When Moa’s contract to supply the national carrier’s flights was terminated early, their detractors had predictable Schadenfreude and could be seen engaging in few celebrations, but the airline’s decision wouldn’t have had anything to do with rejecting Moa’s longrunning grossness and instead everything to do with a dumptruck full of money from Lion and a sadly backwards way of thinking about how to put together a beer list; nothing praiseworthy, there. Likewise, it was impossible to have any sympathy for Moa in their struggle to get resource consent for their brewery expansion; they wailed about how key its location was to their identity (while happily contract-brewing their flagship beers elsewhere), aggressively pissed-away the money from their IPO that was earmarked for the project, constantly fudged the truth about its scope and made obviously-bogus comparisons to the winery up the road. But Cloudy Bay / Veuve Cliquot, in turn, acted a bit the bully and were also bullshitting pretty hard themselves about their operation and its neighbourhood — they’re hardly a quaint little Château in an unspoilt valley: this was two large-scale corporate booze-producers trying hard to play the underdog. Why pick sides?

There’s plenty of room left for more criticism and more optimism. They make a great pair, and together can do some real good. This is, like I said, an excellent little corner of the world — in terms of geography and market share — but pretending it’s perfect, that every actor has the best of intentions, and that we’re “all in this together” to an extent that people feel obligated to speak only in niceties just won’t help anyone. If you see something5 — good or bad — say something.

1: Us New Zealanders in particular, perhaps. It’s certainly a trait you hear speculated-upon quite often, and the Eleanor Catton Fiasco earlier this year would probably count as evidence. But I’m honestly too much of a Mongrel Cosmopolitan to much notice or comment on border-by-border variations among us. 
2: Serendipitously, I noticed yesterday that the new labels now wear their provenance proudly. I claim precisely zero credit for this. 
3: Although not well enough, I think, on reflection. At least not well enough in public. The incredible awkwardness of saying things against the people who sign your paycheck (even in the wider context of obviously being a fan) is my only real excuse, here, and I guess my meta-point is that awkwardness shouldn’t exist
4: Wait. Am I their nemesis, or are they mine? (Neither, of course, really; they’re just a seemingly never-ending source of Useful Lessons and Examples.) 
5: A phrase with unfortunate ties to an MTA / Homeland Security campaign that sits way too close to useless scaremongering and which carries an utterly insane trademark symbol everywhere, but still; is catchy. 

Station Ident: Reboot

Even sillier fireworks (Wellington, 8 November 2014)
Pictured: fireworks commemorating something even more absurd than arbitrarily incrementing the calendar.

So it’s that time of year again; the nominal end. I’m coming to you now — with some difficulty, since there’s an unresolved glitch in my blog software and the app-plus-tablet workaround is clunky enough to spawn whole new profanities1 — from an excruciatingly welcome holiday. 2014 turned out, shall we say, sub-optimal in a number of ways from trifling to towering. Grand plans were, as a result, sidelined momentarily or thwarted entirely and it proved tricky to find the brainspace and the peculiar timing required to get much done here.

But no matter, right? Because you’ve all been reading Dylan’s ‘The Bottleneck’, and Jase’s ‘Brew Hui’, and Jono’s articles, and Dominic’s rants, and — I could go on. Any number of things through the year reaffirmed the notion that (to invert Hunter’s Maxim) beer people are good people2 and kept me interested, enthused and passionate about this stuff as a topic, a subculture, a pass-time — and an enjoyably-elaborate way of lightening the wallet and filling the bladder — even as I’ve been bystander more often than partisan. I’m also stubborn enough, and sufficiently unfazed by deadlines, that I’m happy just transferring most of 2014’s To Do List over into next year, anyhow.

However you choose to mark the calendar-change this evening — if indeed at all — I hope you have excellent company, delicious solids and liquids to enjoy, and that your next twelve months are an improvement on the last, whatever kind of baseline they proved to be. And if you’re out and about, be extra nice to your bar staff; odds are they’re overdue a good break. Cheers!

1: Though it’s still awesomely futuristic, I have to admit even as I write-off proper linkages and footnote formatting as utterly beyond me. Sorry, style-guide pedants; I hope you still count me as one of you  and it only took me 12 days — nary a blip, in geological time; let’s have some perspective, here — to find and (it seems!) fix the bug, and regain finer fiddly-bits control. 
2: With special mention to Emma and George, who first transcend “beer people” and then also belong in the smaller-still “best people” category. 

Station Ident: Anticipation

'I Want You Inside Me' (outside Trunk bar, Melbourne, 24 My 2014)
Neon sign outside Trunk bar, Melbourne. (And my Golding’s Free Dive Beer Goggles entry, incidentally.)

So,1 as may or may not already be obvious, Beervana is nearly upon us. As it does every year, now, it’s brought a swirl of beautiful madness with it — the City is brimming with beer geeks and the calendar is crammed with things for them to over-occupy their time. Working in the beer business, though, can complicate the enjoyment of this week a little precisely because there is such a glorious mountain of stuff going on. Spare an extra thought for your barpeople; they’re likely pulling long hours and achingly envious of your ability to flit from spot to spot.

There’s a lot going on in my little corner(s) of the industry, as well: flinging beer hither and yon — slowly driven bonkers by the cautious ordering of restaurants unaccustomed to the enthusiasm of the beer-drinking public this time of year, and so requiring re-up after re-up — and lending a minor hand in the pile of other projects entailed by a day job at a brewery that goes utterly batshit on the events and special releases fronts. So I’m mostly hanging out for the festival itself, since I’m missing out on most of its satellites.

And I am, admittedly, superkeen. I stand by my sympathy for people who’ll now skip Beervana — feeling it’s outgrown them or they’ve outgrown it — in this rich ecosystem of ours, but I always enjoy it as pilgrim, participant, hypercritical observer, and raving evangelist. And as performer again, this year, with the Beer Diary Podcast: Live! on each evening, which should be buckets of fun — and the audience is open to all comers.

This is the big week in beer, in New Zealand. It’s our Christmas. Imagine how run off your feet you’d be, if you were an elf, and bolt that to the giddy excitement you felt when you were a kid. It’s both at once, and it’s bloody marvellous. Bring it on.2

1: If this post’s title earworms you as quickly and strongly as it did me, I make no apologies. 
2: Meanwhile, I should reiterate that the placeholding ‘Station Ident’ idea is one shamelessly stolen from Honorary Friend Of The Show Warren Ellis. If you’re not reading his notes at, you’re missing out on some of the best short-form stuff around. (And that really is a valid URL, now; the third age of the internet is really going to be strange.) 

Station Ident: Out To Lunch

Emerson's Sunday Lunch (LBQ, 20 July 2014)
The set-up for a fantastically decadent Emerson’s Sunday Lunch at Little Beer Quarter, about which more soon

It seems I inadvertently supersized my GABS-related sabbatical and wound up taking two months off this here blogthing.1 Such as happens from time to time, I suppose — and such as is probably warranted and wise. But that’ll do. It’s dawned on me that it’s less than a month until Beervana, that Season 4 of the podcast is overdue for its début, and that I have a lot of half-finished rambles and things to talk about sitting around on my laptop. There’s no shortage of wonderful things happening in the beer business that deserve celebrating, and (let’s face it, even after a healthful break, I’m still me) plenty of temper-spiking, rage-inducing bullshit in dire need of calling-out, too.

Some Technical Difficulties were holding me back a little, as was an Obnoxiously Lingering Winter Lurgi; both now seem on the rapid wane, at last. A few exciting new projects and Very Special Podcast Episodes are coming together, too, and will get fanfared in due course. So the lunchbreak — both metaphorical and literal, as I write this at work — is over.

1: I kept myself vaguely occupied on Twitter and on Beer Diary’s Facebook page, meanwhile. If you’re after more short-form spur-of-the-moment stuff from me, those are always a good start. 

Station Ident: Sabbatical

Frankie's Pizza taplist (Frankie's Pizza, 20 May 2014)
Taplist at Frankie’s Pizza — and a sign indicating that my dinner was yet two orders away

I’m over in Australia again for a bit of a break and the damn-near-obligatory pilgrimage to the Great Australa— let’s just say GABS, shall we? A few days in Sydney has been buckets of fun, and (despite the FOMO) it’s been nice to have a blank time a few hundred kilometres removed from the Way More Awesome Good Beer Week Things Than I Could Ever Afford Let Alone Endure. I managed to visit a few more of those small bars that have sprung up recently: the sublime Frankie’s Pizza, the charmingly mad Spooning Goats, Baxter Inn (for a whisky) and Barbershop (for a gin) — though I also had a beer at the latter two; huzzah to the humble Boilermaker, I say, forever and always.

And so tomorrow down to Melbourne, and then all-damn-weekend at the festival. In the spirit of Full Disclosure, the organisers included me on their apparently-rather-generous (and generously-defined) Media Pass list, so I get a ticket to each session and (I think) a handful of tokens. Which is delightful and hugely appreciated, of course, but also worth explicitly saying for completeness’ sake — and not just as a humblebrag — since I’m otherwise here own my own dime and as Me From This Thing You’re Reading Right Now, rather than the “me” from my day job (nor various of the non-day jobs that fund holidays like this one). Granted, I’m already looking sideways at them over this nonsense with Moa and Shane Warne, so it’s hardly going to colour my ‘coverage’, but still.

I’ll be posting various bits and pieces on the usual short-from outlets — you can find me on the Twittermachine, the Bookface, Google+ (in the unlikely event it ever takes off), and logging my drinks that in that great beer-related memory aid, Untappd — and will try to get something up here either during or shortly after. At GABS itself, I’ll be sitting down with Luke & Dave of the ‘Ale of a Time’ podcast at some point during Session One on Friday; we’ll let you know when and where when we do. Otherwise, I’ll be wandering the Hall and the City in general, almost certainly wearing a nerdy (non-beery; something of a 2014 Festival Resolution) t-shirt and an interrobang badge: feel free to say Hi if you’re around and you spot me. It should be a lovely long weekend — and may yours be, also.

Station Ident: Exhale

Cult Beer sign from Hashigo's portable bar (X-Ale at ParrotDog, 21 April 2012)
Cult Beer sign from Hashigo’s portable bar at the inaugural X-Ale

It’s Sevens Weekend here in Wellington and that makes for a massively-stressful couple of days for a lot of people in this town, unfortunately. What could be a genuinely excellent two-day tournament has descended into a dress-up party that involves depressingly-much obnoxious behaviour, street harassment, and general carnage. A lot of it will get blamed on the booze, of course,1 but I’ve seen too much crap even in the a.m. before the pre-loading can really kick in and I subscribe to the Bartender’s Hypothesis: no one really acts any different when they’ve been drinking — they just act more. It’s not the drinking that makes people behave like dicks, it’s probably their own underlying dickishness — which gets let off the chain even more in the anonymity of a group costume. And I worry about how much we exacerbate the myth that alcohol causes bad behaviour the more we freak out about the drinking of badly-behaved people, anyway. But I still owe you all a long-form piece on the Moral Panic, and I’ll get back to that another day.

Because — as we mentioned in the most-recent podcast — George and I are heading to the relative sanctuary of Hashigo Zake’s X-Ale mini-festival. The bar will be closed off for a tickets-only tasting session of some pretty weird and (hopefully) wonderful beers, which will skew strong enough (as is the trend, still) that it’ll probably count as a “binge” drinking session in the hysterical technical parlance. But this is Beer Geek Church; gross behaviour is unlikely, and wouldn’t be tolerated if it arose. Just as appalling dickishness is possible when stone cold sober, so is it possible to enjoy a heady dose of incidentally-intoxicating and delicious beverages and still remain fucking civilised. It’s really not the chemicals, it’s the character and the surrounding culture — as I, and several-dozen others, will hopefully demonstrate today.2 Consider it my own little protest.

1: Then there’s the grotesque double-dealing and hypocrisy wherein the media celebrate the event, laud its “vibrancy”, use pictures of costumed groups to sell papers and garner pageviews, and pimp the (seriously dubious) economic benefit — only to wring their hands about the “excesses”. Plus the fevered misdirection of blame at the bars in town when the Stadium itself features a level of carnage that’d see any other venue lose its license. 
2: And then I’ll probably just retreat straight home, because — former Courtenay Place bartender and all — I think I’ve seen more than my share of the post-Sevens mess. Though it is tempting to head back in to town and see how the universal 4 a.m. close goes… Yikes. 

Station Ident: Beached

Disappearing handrails at Dee Why beach, Sydney
Disappearing handrails at Dee Why beach, Sydney

I’ve taken temporary refuge1 in a country so emphatically beachy that it resists any attempts us monkeys make to lay infrastructure on the shore. There’s always plenty of “research” to be done while I’m here — I can confirm, for example, that Toohey’s Extra Dry (“Ted”, to its friends) does have contexts in which it’s perfectly fine and lovely,2 and that the Murray’s bar in Manly has morphed significantly since my last visit (though not obviously to the worse, at all). More-exotic explorations to follow, and possibly also some things to upload here while I’m away, since we have a podcast in the bag and I’ve got several drafts (some ranty, some rapturous) I may find time to hack away at.

But mostly it’s a holiday, in that particular time of year rich with people-to-see and plenty of food and all sorts of idiosyncratic traditions. I’ve just indulged in one of mine, re-watching Seinfeld’s ‘The Strike’ episode,3 and so should take the time to with you all a happy Festivus and a bloody marvellous holiday season all round. Since I always used to work right through what everyone else called “the break”; I always have to ask that everyone be especially nice to their bar staff and everyone else who keeps the world ticking over — and if you are one of those people, I hope you have a munter-free and convivial week. Stay safe and as stress-free as possible, and may there be plenty of lovely beers — to have, and to give. Cheers!

†: Indeed, it occurs to me — closer to the writing of this post rather than (you know) this one, hence the un-numbered footnote — that I’m in a town that’s basically built on fossilised beach. The sandstone around here, a sprawling coastal metropolis very-fond of carving motorways about the place, is gorgeous. 
1: If you can call it that. Given my kegtris-technician cold-weather constitution and the heatwave Sydney’s having, a lot of effort has to go into simply not spotaneously combusting. 
2: It’ll come as no great shock that these mostly involve a) extremes of temperature outside and b) Ted’s prior existence in the fridge. 
3: No bagel no bagel no bagel

Station Ident: Changeover

Beer Diaries, etc.
Beer Diaries (plural); backup notebook; holiday reading (equally relevant and excellent); and a cup of tea

So, Beer Diary II is dead — or at least about to embark on its mostly-bookshelved (but never abandoned) retirement — long live Beer Diary III. I’m in Sydney for a few more days, having one of those holidays1 wherein you stop wearing your watch, stop wearing even shoes, and swiftly lose track of what day it is. Procrastinating somewhat from a “Sydney Reading” post (to which I’ll return tomorrow), I realised that I’d (again) gotten way behind in transcribing my scribbled notes into the “real” (but only slightly less scribbly) Diary, and so spent a few minutes catching-up, only to discover that I’ve filled it up. Luckily, Em found the supercute blue one pictured above on her European holiday, and it’s ready to take over.

Diary II started on 6 September 2010 with Yeastie Boys ‘Her Majesty’ 2010 and ended, damn near bang on three years later with the adorably-mad Yeastie Boys / Firestone Walker / Panhead collaboration ‘Engelbert Pumpernickel’ as its two-hundred-and-seventy-seventh entry — which means I’m having a beer-related moment2 worth scribbling about every four days, on average; a steady (but not unhealthy) acceleration from the first Diary.

This is my Beer Diary;3 it really does exist primarily as an actual diary. Thanks for joining me.

1: i.e., a really good one. 
2: As may already be obvious: an “entry” isn’t necessarily a ‘unique’ never-had-before beer, nor is it necessarily a single beer; it’s pretty-much as all-over-the-place and random as a personal notebook should be. 
3: And yes, I’m shamelessly borrowing the ‘Station identification’ trope from Warren Ellis

Desert Island Beers

Yeastie Boys 'Gunnamatta' (at Gunnamatta, NSW)
Yeastie Boys ‘Gunnamatta’ (at Gunnamatta, NSW)1

Desert Island Discs is one of those inelimably British British cultural institutions.2 It’s been going since WWII, and is likely responsible for all those brilliant scenes in High Fidelity3 wherein the record shop staff assemble their Top Fives for various (increasingly random) scenarios. The idea is simple: imagine yourself cast-away on a remote but pleasantly habitable island. What records would you wish were there with you? What would you summon to keep you company, if you could? Pausing to take stock of enduring favourites is a genuinely worthy meditative experience — especially with a memory like mine.

Anyway, Desert Island Beers is an ongoing project run in collaboration between the All Gates Brewery’s blog and Real Ale Reviews. Recently, they embarked on a bit of an Australasian Excursion, inviting a bunch of Antipodeans to participate and ponder what they’d want to have with them on their hypothetical island. I was chuffed4 to be asked to join in, and spent an enjoyable evening at the Malthouse, perched on the bar with laptop and beer(s), flicking through my Diary and contemplating my options.

In no particular order — by which I mean to say this isn’t a ranking or a table of medals, this is just the sequence in which I put them on the list — my Desert Island Beers were:

  1. Little Creatures Pale Ale (my Fallout Boy)5
  2. Hallertau ‘Minimus’ (for sessionable loveliness)
  3. Liberty ‘Never Go Back’ (a mandatory B.A.M.F.)
  4. Rochefort 6 / 8 / 10 (a Big Belgian Trappist Thing)
  5. Yeastie Boys ‘Gunnamatta’ Earl Grey IPA (as my “weird”)

My full write-up went up on the All Gates Brewery website over the weekend — my phone beeped and notified me as I arrived at Gunnamatta beach, as featured in the above photo, fittingly enough — and includes elaborated reasons for picking each of the above, as well as my attempts to choose books, an album, a meal, and a luxury item to take in addition to all that lovely beer. It was heaps of fun to participate, and reading around the other entries is a great little window into the personalities of other ‘beer people’ that you might not otherwise hear a lot from; I wholeheartedly recommend you have a wander through their collection and keep and eye out for new local castaways over the next few weeks.

Little Creatures Pale Ale
Little Creatures Pale Ale
Liberty 'Never Go Back'
Liberty ‘Never Go Back’
Rochefort glass
Rochefort glass

1: Which is the wrong Gunnamatta — it’s named for a song which is, in turn, named for a surf beach a thousand kilometers away in Victoria — but the beer-and-beach-matching was gloriously nerdy enough to justify a minor diversion to end my recent (i.e., it finished yesterday) little roadtrip around the NSW South Coast. To compound the matching (and to atone for being in the wrong state, perhaps), we were listening to the song, at least.
2: The Beeb’s website isn’t massively helpful — for slaves-to-copyright reasons — to those of us in further-flung parts of the world. But there’s a rumour, you know, that, apparently, I hear, you can download these things through, um, unofficial channels.
3: In both the book and the film; H.F. is a very-rare instance of a page-to-screen adaptation that works brilliantly well, if you ask me — especially considering that the latter translated the story forward in time and to another continent. The Wikipedia page for the novel — in true fantastically-geeky style — includes the lists, if you’re impatiently curious. 
4: Which felt suitably British.
5: Not, I hasten to emphasise, my Fall Out Boy. The story goes that the band were nameless and called for audience help, whereupon someone suggested the name of Radioactive Man’s sidekick. The band fucked up the spelling / typography, evidently having missed the reference — which, to me, amounts to proof of a deprived upbringing and a possible cause of their relentless crapness.

On blogging, and not blogging, and such

James Squires / Mad Brewers 'Ginger Chops'
Mad Brewers (a.k.a. James Squires) ‘Ginger Chops’; a recent nightcap

Well now. It has been a while.

I’ve said that kind of thing more than a few times in the course of this ongoing Beer Diary project, and here I am again. I was probably due a bit of a break, but I’ve been meaning to get back to hacking away at my keyboard again for a few weeks now. I just haven’t found the time — by which I mean not just the amount, but also the right kind of time with the right mood and everything else that goes with it. It seems just to be a brute genetic oddity that my most-productive writing hours are those between midnight and four a.m.. Perfect when you’re bartending; not quite so convenient when you have beer to sell, to keg, and to move around during daylight hours.1 So there’s that. Plus, it’s belatedly occurred to me that writing — anywhere on the spectrum from Effusive Praise to Heapful Scorn — became a way to pfftrp a little pressure out of the Work Stress Valve. A change of scene, a bunch of new things to learn, fresh ponderings to ponder, and a whole swag of interesting new tasks with which to fill my working hours has pushed me more toward being one of those contended souls who comes home to mooch and relax and settle into some state halfway-between vegging out and geeking out.2

Sprig & Fern (Thorndon) tasting paddle
Sprig & Fern (Thorndon) tasting paddle

But never entirely. I do love to write, and I’m delighted that a not-at-all insignificant number of people ask me why I’m not, when I’m not. And there’s been a bunch to talk about, since I was last here — in roughly equal doses of things that inspire Praise and Scorn, as is always the case. I’ve had some utterly marvellous beer-related experiences in the past few weeks, and it’s with continual regret and wishes for more writing time that I condemn them to the perpetual pile of things to be written about later. Though with the way my memory works — i.e., alarmingly poorly — I always, at least, get to look forward to discovering these things almost-anew through my own notes and photographs before sharing them with the rest of you. Then, oh yes, the Scorn. I was dead keen to rant about the multiply-confused clusterfuck that is the approximately-annual “Am I getting a proper pint?” Misguided Consumer Whingefest & Misinformed ‘Did You Know’ Piece In The Paper, which re-appeared recently and in a few different ways. Then there were the multiple contemptible elements wrapped into John Key’s appearance at the official launch of the new Tuatara Brewery H.Q. — him, of the pseudo-craft necked from the bottle, taking the chance to continue the Usual Denigration of beer (as opposed to classy and not ever problematic at all wine, of course) and to swing a needless swipe at his opposite ideology and promote the myth of the entirely self-starting business (in a country where our gorgeously distinctive hops, used to fantastic effect by the brewery at which he stood, were developed by publicly-funded science). I’ll come back to those, I’m sure.

8 Wired 'C4 Double Brown'
8 Wired ‘C4 Double Brown’, from a jar

On introspection,3 an element of my ‘holiday’ has also been a hesitation about opening up the rant valve while I’m also settling into my new job. It was never an issue in my former gig, so I suppose I’m being overly change-wary, but I can get over that, and it’s time to. I’m a fanatical stickler for disclosures of merely-potential conflicts of interest — and I thought things were improving in this little writing-about-beer niche of ours, but I’ve seen things slipping again in too-many quarters; I’ll have to make another fuss (he says, putting another rant on the To Rant Pile) — so I’ll always be sure to do so early and often. This is me; my name’s in the freakin’ URL. If anyone was endorsing this or — heaven forbid — funding it, they’d tell you (and so would I). Inevitably, though, it’s a rant that’ll get me back into the swing of things. A little high-amplitude warm-up for the vocal chords (or, I suppose, whatever the relevant keyboard-striking muscles of the fingers are called) to blow out the cobwebs. Moa, arch-peddler of brandwank and perpetually-disappointing habitual engine of bland and obnoxious stereotypes that they are, are at it again. So we have them to thank for knocking me out of my slumber, I suppose. I just wanted to say Hello again before I took a run-up and threw myself bodily at their multiply-depressing IPO document.


1: Not that I have any grounds to complain; I’m not brewing — they seem to all (including Garage Project’s Pete) start at Truly Absurd O’clock in the morning. My hours are still mercifully gentle, given my Genetic Nocturnality. There are very-occasional pre-10-a.m. meetings, but mostly I can still time-shift by a few hours.
2: I’m a Big Nerd, after all; I don’t often properly veg, in Stephenson’s sense. Re-watching the West Wing in its entirety while poring over minutiae of the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election has accounted for a chunk of my leisure time, lately. And if you needed three words and a number to sum up a bunch of the rest of it, you could do a lot worse than “Skyrim” and “Mass Effect 3”.
3: I did a Philosophy degree, after all. Introspection is one of the few things we’re actually qualified for.