“This report of my death was an exaggeration.” – Mark Twain

Yes, I am still here. It’s been two weeks since I posted, probably my longest stretch since I kicked this thing off nearly a year and a half ago. But the holidays were busy, my wife and I have been enjoying time with our little girl, and I frankly haven’t been partaking in much beer lately. Which is all fine, as I’ve taken the short respite to reflect on where it is I’m heading with this beer soaked corner of the Internet.

I love beer, I love learning about beer, and I love brewing it for friends and family.

But I gotta be honest…while the blog has been a source of satisfaction that’s helped feed my writing bug and allowed me to connect with some amazing people, it’s also felt at times like a meandering mish mash of stories and blurbs with little definitive framework or roadmap. I do sporadic reviews, I talk homebrew, and I very occasionally throw in a few interviews for good measure.

Maybe that’s a simplistic characterization. But despite the blogger doldrums I seem to find myself in at the moment, I think things have generally gone OK. There’s been a decent variety, and folks seem to have appreciated what I’ve put out there.

However, there’s a natural evolution to everything, and this blog is no different. A little bit of introspection is healthy. Which is why I think a slight refinement to the blog and approach I’m taking is in order… a recommitment if you will.

So without further ado, inspired by my friend Jay at Hedonist Beer Jive, my beer blog resolutions for the coming year:

Stop chasing my tail
With the continued growth in craft beer, it seems nearly every week brings a slew of new beer releases from breweries all across the country. Beer geeks far and wide wait with bated breath, hang on every cryptic Tweet from a brewer, fuel rumors on Beer Advocate forums, and drive endless miles to sit for hours in a line with other beer nomads in hopes of scoring their loot.

As a self-respecting beer blogger, I’d be remiss in not paying attention to some of this, especially releases from the more notable brewers out there. But the endless amount of energy (and expense) required to keep up with it all can be debilitating. My overflowing basement beer cellar is testament to this…my wife likes to say I don’t have a drinking problem, I have a collecting problem. In the process, we sometimes forget about the fantastic offerings already at our disposal…the beers we ignorantly brush by on the liquor store shelf looking for that latest and greatest hype monster.

One of my original goals for the site was to provide education, recommendation and discussion of beers that anyone in the Twin Cities could easily procure, no matter if you’re a hardcore beer geek or someone just looking for something nice to pair with dinner. Consequently, my attention this year will shift to some of these lesser talked about but equally worthy beers, a more robust mix of stylistic hallmarks and local offerings, with of course the occasional overhyped limited release tossed in.

More people, more features
Reviews are fine, but the good stories reside with real people that work in and support the growing craft beer industry. I’d like to showcase these brewers, homebrewers, and beer experts as a way of celebrating our local and national craft beer culture, and hopefully learn a few things along the way from the folks making it happen.

I’ll also be making a concerted effort to include more feature articles on beer styles and homebrewing topics focused on technique, recipes and my own experiments. And how could I forget event coverage…whether it’s the Autumn Brew Review, Winterfest, or GABF, I’ll do my best to offer a hopefully informed take on the experience.   

Focus on food
The relationship between food and beer is something I’m endlessly fascinated with, spurred on by my love of homebrewing and growing interest in cooking at home. Whether it’s matching food and beer, cooking with beer, or finding ways to brew beer with nontraditional ingredients, I’ll be exploring the topic more thoroughly.

Cut the shitty artwork
Not sure if it’s user error, the fact my camera completely blows, or a combination thereof. But any site worth its proverbial salt needs to provide compelling imagery to complement the copy. Out of focus, dimly lit, proportionally challenged pictures aren’t cutting it. I’ve been painfully aware of this shortcoming for a while, and intend to remedy it.

Building on the artwork theme, I’ve also been contemplating a design change to the blog as a whole, allowing me to more effectively incorporate images, video and other multimedia to hopefully provide a richer user experience. This is one of the loftier goals for the year, so more to come on that…

Get certified
I think my palate is already pretty well refined thanks largely to my homebrewing experience. And I’d like to think I have a pretty solid grasp on beer history and style, at least enough to be dangerous. But you can never learn enough, which is why I’ll be exploring the Cicerone and BJCP programs to build on the knowledge I’ve gathered on my own.

I’ve already passed the Cicerone Beer Server exam, the first step on the road to Cicerone certification, so I need to step it up and start studying for the real deal in the coming year. I’m also hoping to get involved in beer judging, and will ideally complete the required BJCP coursework to gain certification and start building some experience on this front. Combined, I’m hopeful the knowledge I gain will enhance my sensory evaluation and understanding of the beer spectrum, ultimately making this a stronger resource for beer lovers out there.

Looking forward to a good year.