Thursday, January 6, 2011

Know Your Beer Blogger

Beer bloggers writing about beer blogging and beer bloggers is about the most indulgent thing you can do, but who else reads these things anyway? To prove there is literally no beginning to my originality, I present smallbeer's guide to the various species of beer bloggers that may be found making their home in the dense undergrowth of the webbynet.

Anyone who reads beer blogs, or blogs devoted to any subject really, quickly realizes that an abundance of motives, character flaws and mental illnesses drive people to write these things. This typology is in no way complete. I have omitted the most boring categories: namely those smart, witty, balanced folk who regularly turn out delightfully entertaining blogs with some true insights. And you may not find many bloggers who totally conform to each species, but admit it, we all know people who fit these descriptions to an extent. We may even recognize ourselves somewhere in this motley bunch...

The Narcissist
These fey folk stare longingly into their beer glasses, transfixed and in awe at the beauty of their own reflected images, haloed in lovely yellow bubbles. Beer is an accessory designed to display the captivating plumage of their own impeccable tastes. Often sad inside, they intersperse cutting-edge beer reports with appeals to their followers for love, attention and affirmation. 
How to spot: The narcissist will generally flock to whatever's hot, but can be found practically everywhere for fear of missing out on the latest "underground" beer trend. Their blogs will be linked on all the coolest breweries' websites, even if the narcissist had to hack the server to get it there. Spouts terms like "artisan", "cottage industry" and "pastoral" — always inappropriately. 
Natural habitat: Twitter, social net-working sites, any web-medium where their avant-garde appetites can be flaunted instantaneously.

The Trophy-Hunter
Beer reviews are this species' specialty, and LOTS of them. Their blogs are shrines to gluttony, and the reviews read like a FHM-reading bachelors' list of sexual exploits.
How to spot: Trophy-Hunters' blogs will feature a comprehensive list of reviewed beers that may be sorted by brewery, style, and percentage rating. Beers from all known brewers will be reviewed, and from time to time mysterious brown bottles marked "#37" or "prototype X" will surface, as the Trophy-Hunter's exhausted food supply is supplemented by as-yet-unreleased beers scavenged from fellow trophy-hunters and homebrewing friends.
Natural habitat: BeerAdvocate, Ratebeer, untappd, basically anywhere where conquests may be displayed, or 90x90 pixel beer-achievement medallions may be earned to post on your profile.

The Entrepreneur
A most nefarious, deceptive species — the entrepreneur beholds the craft beer movement as an untapped resource to exploit in its quest for riches and celebrity. Expect this blogger to post, tweet, and comment with nothing but vacuous, simpering, all-too-positive remarks about everything to do with beer, in an attempt to ingratiate itself with as many craft-beer folk as possible.
How to spot: The Entrepreneur will quickly seek to capitalize on its ill-gotten following by plastering its blog with advertisements, releasing a mobile telephony device "app", and developing "synergistic partnerships" with other people who view the craft beer scene as a "loyalty infrastructure". Expect endless tweets, retweets, exclusive tweets, limited edition tweets, all designed to increase traffic and boost blog's performance on all manner of corporate influence charts and whatnot. Refers to self as a "brand", "scene-leader", or "facilitator".
Natural habitat: Twitter, networking sites, and get-rich-quick seminars.

The Beer Geek
The love for beer is genuine and strong in this sturdy breed, but some deep compulsion drives the Beer Geek to obsess over knowledge and detail to the detriment of sanity, relationships, and personal hygiene.
How to spot: can identify any beer from its bottle cap or a 1cm-squared section of its label, and is likely to be able to give the year of its release and the full name of the person who put the cap on. Owns more bottles of beer than it could ever drink, yet considers its collection "woefully incomplete". 
Natural habitat: lurking on forums, accessing strange government archives about 1920s barley taxation, attending cask events alone.

The Redeemer
Reconciled to a fairly permanent addiction to the sauce, this creature has hit upon the idea of beer blogging as way to regain some dignity from their hopeless predicament. Like Paul Giamatti's character in (the excellent) Sideways, the redeemer is capable of great sensitivity and insight with regards to craft beer, but would gleefully neck Olde Englishe from the bottle if he thought no-one was watching. Tends to disappear from blogging for weeks at a time due to "blackouts". 
How to spot: The redeemer's blog will take on a rambling, inconsistent style. Promised blog posts may fail to materialize, and bursts of enthusiastic daily posting will be followed by terse, depressed tweets, and occasional lashing out at other types of bloggers in convoluted blog posts in order to feel better about some deep personal pain...
Natural habitat: chat-rooms populated by other career-drinkers, any medium that may result in a freebie, holding cells. 


  1. I think I may borderline on the redeemer. I dunno Doc, what do you suggest?

  2. Same prescription as me: a daily dose of denial, plus bouts of odd behaviour that you hope will be interpreted as genius.

  3. Haha, these gave me a good laugh. I think I'm a Beer Geek, with some hints of Entrepreneur.