I write about beer, write on beer, write with beer in mind, write with a beer to hand, drink beer and then write about it; I go to pubs and write about pubs and what people say in them and what they eat and what they drink and what the pub looks like; I write about breweries and what they look like and about the beers they make and about the people who work there and about the history of the brewery that stands wherever it stands. So I write about beer and am pleased and proud and punch drunk to write about it. I don’t dance.
Do wine writers feel the need to analyse what they write about, to defend what they write about, to bat off half baked jokes about the best job in the world, thus implying that the beer writer is permanently pickled (if that was the case I’d get nothing done). Of course not, their trade has a history going back a long time, there’s a reverence and a religiosity about what they do, but hold on a minute you could also say that Alfred Barnard was writing about beer, that Julian L Baker was writing about beer, that Andrew Campbell was writing about beer, so writing about beer does have a history, albeit a history that is hidden.
It’s no longer a hidden history though: this year sees the 25th anniversary of the founding of the British Guild of Beer Writers, whose first meeting was in a pub (the Horniman, Hay’s Wharf, you can read the minutes here). As far as I know none of the current members know how to dance to anything, never mind architecture, but they do know how to write about beer, to write about pubs, to write about breweries and for that I give much thanks to the Guild.
I’m the Secretary of the Guild but this post came about because I had the first line and wanted to see where I would go with it rather than any desire to plug the Guild, that’s the beauty of blogging, you never know where you’re going to end up when you start with that empty page and a sequence of letters that eventually form words that eventually shift themselves into sentences. It’s a bit like making music, which brings us around to dancing once more.