Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Aspirational Lambic Awards 2014

I'm here to amuse myself so I'm doing these again this year. By all means be boring and do a Golden Pints award(sounds like you're enjoying your piss too much though), these are the real awards people have been waiting for; the Raspberries to your Oscars, the AVN's to your Golden Globes, the Johnstons Paint Trophy to your FA Cup...

This year was particularly difficult as i was struck by the challenge of looking at recreating last years categories or creating completely new ones whilst not actually giving a shit about any of them! Eventually I decided that a mix of old and new would probably be more interesting for me er...you, Fearless Reader, so without any further ado, here are The Aspirational Lambic Awards, 2014!!

The Shia LeBeouf Award for Originality goes to : Anyone that's grown a fucking beard this year! and yes, I am jealous that my naturally Peter Pan looks don't allow this!

Best Bullshit in 140 Characters : The double act of @totalcurtis & @ChrisHallBeer has been particularly relentless this year.

Most Boring Beer Style : Craft Lager of course! Especially the Indian Pale Kind!

How Many Craft Breweries Do We Have To Buy Before People Realise We're Craft? : AB Inbev or whatever it's called now.

Best Deserter of Normal Job For Job in The Beer Industry : NateDawg OF COURSE! Congrats dude, you'll have no life in no time!

There Must Be A Way To Use This Brewery As a Front For Illegal Activities... : You might know already, I couldn't possibly comment.

I'd Rather Have a Carling : Than anything from Greed Kerching.

The Dinosaur Award Because This Is All A Bit Tongue-In-Cheek : In A Pub Magazine and those toilets.

You Might As Well Read His Blog, Everyone Else Keeps Giving Him Awards So I Will Too! : Martyn Cornell.

The UKIP Award For Not Really Being Beer Nazis : Ratebeer.

So there they are, as i said last year, if you feel left out and really want an award, i'm unemployed now so cold, hard cash will work.

Peace and goodwill towards those who are less intelligent than you. i.e me.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Calling Time on Tipping?

So i read this article by someone i'd never heard of, this morning and whilst he says is all for the creeping Amercianism into British culture, he doesn't seem to like Americans and apparently he's a bit of a tight git when it comes to tipping bar staff.

Alan Tyers even claims to have worked in a boozer although the line 'Come on. Many of us have worked in a boozer at some point' is more of an implication rather than a statement and he goes on to say that it's not very hard work. We'll pick up that point later though.

Lets have a look at paragraph one, which ends with this sentence 'but we all have to draw the line somewhere and one thing that Americans can absolutely, definitely shove up their 'ass' is the growing menace of tipping in pubs'. Since when is it a menace to tip staff? It's a nice thing to do if you think you've had good service! Menace? Really? Over-react much, Tyers?

Tyers continues that he's discussed this phenomenon with men, British men, no less and that they didn't seem to have the same problem with tipping the bar staff that he does, they were more worried about the amount to tip. That's probably because they are nicer human beings than you, Mr Tyers!

My advice if you feel like tipping your bar tender is give what you feel is right, in the states it's a dollar a drink and whilst it can add up for the person being served the tips they get make up a large portion of their wages. We have a minimum wage in the UK so a safe bet would be ten percent of the bill, it's something i work to when i'm tipping anywhere but generally any tip (within reason) will be accepted as it shows a recognition of work being done and something that my bar teams used to do is collect towards a team night out so the tips, no mater how big or small would go into the pot.

Then he starts banging on about the wages of bar staff, something which as a former Bar tender, Supervisor, Manager and Operations Manager in the last 22 years, i can say with some authority is still a contentious issue for many employers and employees in pubs and bars up and down the UK. Let's face the fact that most bar staff in the UK get the minimum wage. This is partially down to how the job is viewed by many people in the UK. It's seen as a very transient job rather than a career. People in the UK just don't have the respect for the job that people in the states do. The work is just as hard, the hours are just as long and at time, the customers can be just as vile. How can someone who claims to have worked behind a bar be against tipping?

Let's have a look at the national minimum wage in the UK. Currently, for people over 21 it is £6.50 an hour, just £6.50! If you're younger than that the rate goes down to as low as £2.73 for apprentices! I'm all for a minimum wage, it can be a vital tool for smaller companies, helping them balance their income and expenditure more easily and is reasonably fair although personally i think the rate should be slightly higher so tipping your bar staff can be very helpful to those staff. i'm not for one minute advocating tipping shit service but £6.50 and hour isn't close to what some of these hard working people should be earning for the job they do. We lose hundreds, probably thousands of potentially great staff because in the UK service industry because the wages are terrible, why shouldn't we try to hold on to a few of them by tipping them a bit extra?

Moving on to the last paragraph of Alan Tyers nonsense, i might well say, to each their own in regards to tipping and i'd be right, if people want to tip, let them. If they don't feel they are able then they should not feel obliged to do so. obviously i don't want to hand over a tip to a sullen bar tender, no matter what country they are from, you gave away your UKIP tendencies there, Mr Tyers but lets also make the point they've probably been serving a massive arse like you all night.

Note : It has been pointed out in the comments below Alan Tyers article that he may just be spouting someone else's horse shit philosophy simply for reaction and blog hits. Being the old cynic i am, i find this eminently believable. So if this is the case lets not be too harsh on Mr Tyres, or maybe you should, i will leave that entirely up to you. To each their own.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

CBC Beer & Food Matching at Beerhouse

Afternoon all.

last night Mrs Rabidbarfly and I had the opportunity to go to a beer and food matching at one of our favourite Cape Town hang-outs, The Beerhouse on Long.

The Beerhouse crew were hosting Master brewer Wolfgang Koedel and some of his team from the CBC, that's Cape Brewing Co, with a seven(yes seven) course beer and food matching evening and with all due respect to anyone that's done one that i've been involved in or sampled, Chef Roy MacAskills pairings were, hands down, the best yet!

Course one was CBC Lager paired with a Salmon Rissotto. The beer is a fresh, light and clean lager which is very well balanced and the mildly sweet caramel notes from the malt really worked well with the sweetness of the risotto. I'm not the biggest fan of risotto usually but i really liked this a lot. Spot on and a great start!

Course Two was CBC Pilsner paired with a curried sweet potato and ginger soup with a parmesan crisp! Now this pilsner is fast becoming my go to beer over here, it's hop character and mild bitterness is so easy to drink and it's perfect for hot days of which you get a lot over here! The soup....THE SOUP! Wow, this was absolutely stunning! The sweet potato and ginger work so well together in a soup and the pilsner really cut through that sweetness and again between them Wolfgang and Roy had come up with another winning combo! Perfect!
Sweet potato & ginger soup w/parmesan crisp
Course Three was Krystal Weiss paired with Foie Gras Creme Brûlée with salted tomato and tarragon shortbread. This was only the second time i'd ever had Fois Gras and it was extremely good having been 'creme brulleed' by Roy and his team. The Krystal Weiss pairing was ok, the richness of the Foie Gras was offset nicely by the clean taste of the Krystal Weiss. The shortbread was as you'd expect, quite sweet and i'm not convinced it was required but it looked fantastic! Additionally it came with a cheeky shot of Grappa!

Foie Gras Creme Brûlée w/ salted tomato & tarragon shortbread
Course Four om nom nom nom, Amber weiss paired with Banoffi pie and an Amber Weiss and Apple sorbet! wow wow wow wow!! This was one sexy pairing and a dessert halfway through a meal? AWESOME! I could taste the bitterness of the beer in the sorbet and these two small things on one plate worked really well. The beer ain't too shabby either...

Course Five was CBC's Oktoberfest beer paired with weisswurst, bretzel and sweet mustard. I know i know, you purists will say this isn't a real Oktoberfest beer but with 16 years as Paulaners Brewmaster I think Wolfgang can call this beer whatever he likes! It's a very good Oktoberfest beer too as you would expect and paired with the bretzel and the weisswurst sausage it was something very special indeed. One of the nicer Oktoberfest beers i've tried in a long time and i'm not a massive fan of the style.

Course Six. Now when i looked at the sixth course i may have done a little excitement wee! CBC's IPA - Mandarina Bavaria, a beer i've had a few times now and is as good as any IPA around, paired with baby back ribs!! IPA and Pig! O.M.G. Seriously chaps, my cap is well and truly doffed and i may want to have your children! Sweet juicy ribs with a (excuse me, Chris Hall) sweet juicy banger! For. The. Win!
Baby back ribs & Mandarina Bavaria IPA
Course Seven was another exciting pairing for me, not only because it was another dessert but because i hadn't tried the beer until yesterday. It was the Imperial IPA paired with Lime posset and salted caramel!  The beer wasn't nearly as bitter as i had expected, even at 85 IBU's it didn't come across as too bitter for me! Paired with the sweet and fresh lime posset and salted caramel it was the perfect ending to a spectacular event.

What a great evening! Luckily we were sitting at the same table as Wolfgang for the event and he was a genuinely nice guy who clearly has a lot of passion for what he does. I hope that Cape Brewing co continues for a long time to come and i hope that one day they'll start exporting to the UK because these beers are very good indeed.
Special thanks go to Murray and his team at Beerhouse for accommodating us at the last minute, it's a very special bar in a city who's craft beer scene is just on the point of exploding, exciting times!
As i said at the top of the blog it's one of our favourite hang-outs and i cannot wait for the next MTB event!

As an addition here are some Cape Town based Twitter accounts you should follow :


if you're ever in town these folks can hook you up with some amazing beers!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Blaming John...

Well, if John is the name of your head of marketing, JW Lees, I would blame him, i'd flog the fucker publicly if i were you. Let's all just take a moment to actually read this and take it in.....

Ooh how we laughed......


According to JW Lees it's just a bit of fun. Actually, it's utter rubbish, JW Lees, sack your marketing team, get with the 21st century and act like adults for a change instead of a bunch of naughty schoolboys.

Whilst i'm here, what the fuck is with that glass!!??

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Time to Grow Up?

In the last week or so I have read a couple of links posted by people that are young, intelligent and know quite a bit about beer.

The first was a blog post by Rowan Molyneux about the now infamously recalled CAMRA young members recruitment leaflet and how sexism is still going strong amongst the ranks of CAMRA members.
Had CAMRA actually paid any sort of attention to the young people it had asked about how to portray potential members in the leaflet would have been very different and almost certainly not have to be recalled over a very public shaming of the organisation.
The young CAMRA members told the HQ that the leaflet was not fit for purpose but HQ went and ran with it anyway. Putting it as kindly as i can at this point....Muppets.

Secondly was a link thrown onto twitter by Matt Curtis. The link was about a local CAMRA branch defending a pub that was putting on racist entertainment and Matt made the point to me on twitter that CAMRA HQ probably had no knowledge of the event and wouldn't have known about the branch defending the 'entertainment'. Fair enough but as a Branch Secretary and Festival Publicity Officer he's probably helped book the entertainment, of course he's going to defend it!
The language used to defend it is interesting too, it's quite belligerent and unapologetic, not an image that the membership(in my eyes) portrays generally.

Now as you may know, i am not a CAMRA member and i never will be, it has no real appeal to me and i cannot see that changing so you may see this as a bit CAMRA-bashy but i'm really trying not to be.

That said, isn't it time that these sorts of occurrences became an odd slip-up rather than an almost weekly event?

Considering the average age of the membership i find it ironic that the organisation needs to grow up, not just a bit either, quite significantly in my view. If it doesn't the organisation will be marginalised in the very beer industry it worked so very hard to help save.  Let's face it, without CAMRA the beer scene in the UK would not be anywhere near as interesting as it is at the moment!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Castle Milk Stout

So Thursday is apparently one of the two days a week that the cleaners come into the apartment so i had to make myself scarce for a couple of hours this morning and off i went to the shops.

I had to buy some milk for Lucille anyway so it all worked out well. She'd also pointed out a bottle shop to me and said that they sold beer as well as wine so in I ambled.

The fridges for the beer were decidedly disappointing but something caught my eye as i looked at the rows of six packs of bottled of Fullers ESB and London Pride the cans of the much maligned Castle Lager....Castle Milk Stout...?

What is this canned creature that dares rear it's ugly head in the fridges of a posh little bottle shop? I mean look at the picture below, that is one UGLY can! It's like it hit every side of the canning line on the way out! ;-) ok that didn't work but it's a horrible looking thing.

I was hooked though, I couldn't look away, I really wanted to try it but I didn't want to waste any of the money in my pocket. What to do? What to do? Intrigue got the better of me as I reasoned with myself that as someone who professes to love beer and keep an open mind I should buy it. So I did.

I don't even really like Milk Stouts I said to myself as I meandered home. Its a style that I generally find too sweet.

It says on the tin: Rich, Dark, Smooth. Rich yes, dark certainly, smooth it aint. It's just too fizzy to be smooth. It's not unpleasant though and i'm really, really glad about that because I like a good stout from time to time and I thought that somewhere so hot and sunny(most of the year) might struggle to produce a decent one. I was doubly glad because I'd also found a Milk Stout that I liked that wasn't made by Left Hand Brewing Co!
The head collapsed in the glass a little too quickly and as I said it was a bit too fizzy but i'll be drinking this again without a doubt!

Tasting notes : Rich, lots of burnt malt in there, little too fizzy with a sweet, cloying after taste that lingers just long enough to not be unpleasant. Pretty nice actually.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Two Days In, Two Excellent IPA's Later

As I sit here looking at the table cloth of cloud cascading off the mountain overlooking this wonderful city I'm struck by one thing.


Not only have I quit my job and told everyone I'm going to write a book, I have no fucking clue how to accomplish this.

But I'm here and I have time on my side; I'm going to have to start the research again because the last lot was shockingly amateur but then, avid reader, you'll know just how shite my writing is so why should my research be any better?

My plan is to write something everyday and it may come across a bit diarised but I need to get the old grey cells working. You may with to tune out some(or most) of it will be garbage!

At least I've found my writing spot. Somewhere in the apartment that I'm comfortable.

I've had two IPAs from two different breweries and both were excellent. The first one was Skeleton Coast IPA from Jack Black's brewery which at 6.6% abv and in a 440ml bottle it packs a wallop(no nobody hit me over head with one!). They recommend that you pair it with lamb or spicy veg curry so I might try the 2nd bottle with dinner in that case as we're having ostrich chilli!

The second I had was so good I had a second pretty quickly after the first. it was from the Devils Peak brewery and it's called The Kings Blockhouse IPA. What sprang to mind whilst drinking this was 'Wow this could fuck you up so very perfectly!' It's so very drinkable that you don't realise you're drinking a 6% beer which, incidentally is better than Goose Island IPA(another favourite of mine).

Anyway my better half is on her way home so i'll leave you for now.


Thursday, 25 September 2014


Now, as you're aware i'm not one to have a rant.....ok that's a lie, here's a rant.

I got a bit angry this morning when a brewer who is trying to break into the London market told me that he had a 'gentleman's agreement' with another wholesaler. Previously i had contacted him about putting the brewery on our wholesale list and he'd been quite open to it. Now this.

Personally, i never ask for exclusivity on a brewery; why? because i think it's unfair to the brewer to restrict their trade in a city the size of London. Also we don't supply every bar, pub, hotel or offie in London as we're not the biggest of companies and it would be unrealistic to try. I find that wholesalers and indeed bars who do want exclusivity are a bit small minded and not really looking after the customers best interests. Breweries that do so are cutting their nose off to spite their face by showing such a lack of foresight.

Also, don't tell me one thing, one week and something else literally two weeks later! It's bollocks, it's stupid and it's bad for your reputation!

Exclusivity is one of the reasons we don't stock one of Britain's best breweries very often and one we get asked for a lot at wholesale and retail and no i won't name them because despite their decision to go with one wholesaler they are still nice people.

Thankfully instances like this are few and far between but it does make me glad i'm getting out of the business, at least for a little while.

Rant over.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Good Guys

This week amongst getting filthy in the warehouse and doing my usual ordering nonsense i've been putting together a list of suppliers for whoever takes over the purchasing role for Utobeer when i leave in 5 weeks time.

I have also been putting together a list of suppliers that i would never use and should never, ever be contacted.

I'm glad to say that the list that IS used is almost 20 times longer than those who we will never use and that really brings it home that beer and the brewing industry is generally one of the friendliest businesses to work in.

It does restore a bit of my faith in humanity, at least in some small part of my cynical, blackened soul.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Drinkaware App

Well my notification of this app was through my daily morning update on the PMA website. As someone who's never going to get on with this sort of thing i thought i should give it a chance to at least prove me wrong.

It didn't.

First off you have to set your average levels of what you may drink daily. So if you have 2 pints of 4% beer on a Monday and 7 pints of lager on a Friday then you enter those figures into the app. At that point you can also enter 'No Drink Days' where you'll get a reminder on your phone that you are about to have a no drink day (on the appointed day) and it asks you the day after whether or not you were able to stick to that, in a totally non-judgemental way of course!
If you're like me and you like having a good time with your friends rather than try and drunkenly enter what you may have drunk into a phone that may or may not have signal, then this app is not for you. After all, you can catch up on Untappd the morning after and look like a total legend for drinking such hardcore beers that early!

The really annoying thing about this app is the lack of precision. When you are entering what beer you've had you can enter specific brands but it won't let you enter them manually so you may have to chose a beer that's nothing like the beer you've just drunk and may not even have the same abv! That's the main issue with this app, inaccuracy. not unlike the way Drinkaware tend to publish results, no?

When you're putting in your results you get given a risk (Lower risk, Increasing risk or Higher risk) rating by the app which obviously tells you what risk you are at of being an alcoholic (i think) although the correct terminology is like this 'If you drink no more than this amount there is (whatever) risk of alcohol affecting your health.

You can also set goals for yourself which could help you keep track of how awesome a drinker you are.....sorry, I meant 'help you cut down the amount of alcohol you drink'.
These goals are set out in three categories...

No drink day.
Drink one less.
Drink within guidelines.

Just like apps like Untappd you get awards for sticking to the goals that you set yourself.

I find the first award you get to be a major hippercritical one because it awards you for making your first entry. Basically what it's saying is if you're a non-drinker, you'll never win anything!

The app will also help you identify 'weak spots' or places where you may require a little extra support from your new best friend, the Drinkaware app. You can tell the app your weak spots and it'll make sure it's right there with you, or you could stop being so fucking unfaithful to your Untappd app, delete the Drinkaware app and get on with enjoying life one drink at a time.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Cape Town Bound

Anyone that knows me well enough (or stalks me on twitter) will know that between October 2013 and May this year Lucille had a TV job in Cape Town, this was a great opportunity for her and i fully supported her decision to do the job.

Anyone that actually knows me knows that i did not enjoy the experience in the slightest and I know that Lucille struggled with it at times too. Being apart from your spouse for that length of time puts a strain on your marriage and your sanity! I'm quite lucky in that i have very good friends that i know i can count on to help keep me sane and the dinner invites and couple of pints in the local (as crap as it is) really did help keep me going.

So Lucille is doing the job again this year and we decided because being away from your husband/wife/significant other/better half is utterly shit that i would go with her....to Cape Town....for seven months...So after 6 years working for Mike and Rich, my resignation as Operations Manager of Utobeer was accepted on Friday and I leave on October 10th.

*Lets that hang there for a bit*

It was a case of do I take a sabbatical or resign and my post will need to be filled for 7 months and if the replacement does well then it's only fair that they get given the opportunity to continue with it. I may be back at Utobeer in some other capacity when I get back and i may not be back at all, it really is exciting times!

My family, friends, colleagues have reacted positively although one brewer said on twitter 'Hang on, who's going to order beer off me? *panics*' Well, there are other people within Utobeer who can do this and so i doubt you'll even notice the difference IN FACT it'll probably be better for my absence, after all i was just making it up as i went along!

What will i be doing? Writing a book, I hope and exploring another exciting and burgeoning beer scene in another part of the world. Cape Town has some terrific breweries and bars and i'm looking forward to a bit of a change in pace too.

They say everyone has at least one book in them...let's see if they are right...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Pop Star Brewers, You Say

Just read Boak & Baileys friday post about this and the response from an anonymous brewer. I have to say I agree with almost all of what both parties say. 

I am becoming very bored with the growing amount of back-slapping and brewer idolatry that's becoming so prevalent nowadays but at the same time i am very interested in a lot of the stories that the brewers have about their past and why they started out etc...

Twitter, Facebook, beer blogs, video blogs, etc...all play their part in my relapse into beery ambivalence as i struggle to give a shit about any of it.

I DO see the point though, small brewers need these events to get sales and interest in their beers indeed we do them at Tap East and The Rake. Tap takeovers and meet the brewer events are important for those reasons. Faceless corporations have their enormous marketing budgets to garner interest and lie about being craft, small brewers do not have that luxury and if they did they'd only be accused of selling out. Isn't that the end game for a lot of them though? selling out? Surely they want to create a massive brand that a regional or global drinks company will buy in 10-20 years time making them very rich happy people? By all means disagree with me but i can see it happening all over the place. 

What are the 'shareholders' going to say when the boys at Brewdog decide that they want to sell out to a bigger company? Who knows? there will probably be new, cooler breweries out there anyway that they can go and editorially masturbate over, there usually are and that's what makes me want to gouge my own eyes out. 

•Most brewers i know are remarkably generous and nice people, but as a point was made, they are people, they have responsibilities outside brewing, families to support and mortgages to pay etc... so of course if someone makes an offer too good to refuse they're going to take it and they'll probably end up after dinner speaking or writing for a living anyway.

For my part, i'm going to continue saying well done to people that make good beer by ordering it (for the time being) and also by looking outwards from within and being safe in the knowledge that it's only beer. People in certain parts of the world are being massacred by the hundred whilst other people  sit around circle jerking about what beers they want to drink and what brewers they must have sex with this week.

Also, until one fanboy wrote about John Kimmich, I didn't have the first foggiest fucking clue who he was, or care for that matter.

As you were.

I felt the need to qualify this as some brewers i've seen online are total superficial, cynical assholes.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Greene King get National Distribution of Goose Island

This troubles me.

I can't fucking stand Greene King! Bunch of band wagon jumping numpties who needed a 'craft' brand to give them some credibility.

I doubt very much it will be left at that, I predict that it will be a matter of years before they are brewing it under license at Bury St Edmunds and making as much of an arse out of a craft brand that Sheps did with Sam Adams.

For the record, i don't care if you like the so-called craft brand from GK, i don't so spare the rest of us would you.

Rant over. As you were!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Beery Question for the Day

Here's a question I don't believe has ever been asked...

What's your post-coital beer of choice? Do you plan the beer you're going to have? have you crafted beer into coitus? (sorry i'm watching a Big Bang Theory marathon!)

007 clearly has a thing for shitty lager, as seen below, you must have better choices than that!

Come on people, sharing is caring! ;-) 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Good News

Just a quick update folks. Especially at this time of night. Glenn has been found, alive and well. Wants a bit of privacy is all.

So, a happy ending. Thanks for caring and sharing, folks, good to know so many people are willing to  give a shit.


Thursday, 1 May 2014


Hi everybody,

Many of you will know Glenn Payne, he's a member of the Guild of Beer Writers and knows more people in the beer & food industries than most of us meet people in a lifetime.

No-one has heard from or seen Glenn since he left The Rake on Sunday night. If you HAVE seen or heard from him please call the Utobeer office and let us know where : 020 7378 9461 - ask for me - Glyn. 

Glenn - should you happen to read this, please get in contact!

Monday, 31 March 2014

EBBC - European Beer Bollocks Conference

So I saw a tweet from Pete this evening that led me to actually read an email i'd got insisting that I went to the European beer bloggers conference in Dublin. An email i'd totally ignored until this evening.

Firstly and I'll say this right of the bat, i had, and have no intention of going to another beer bloggers conference. There's just other stuff i'd rather go to and as far as i can tell, beer blogging has died a slow, messy and tired death(he says ironically posting for the first time in months...)

Now i'm sorry but there more I work in the business, the less time i really want to spend drinking in my spare time, it's a fact folks, after a while you get bored, well i do. Fucking bored.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. one of the 'Pulls' for this one is the visit to the great Guinness brewery, now, sorry but Guinness sucks ass, it's a shit, tasteless beer brewed by a spirits company, I drink it when there is literally nothing else on the bar to drink(including gin). 

The main reason for me not going is of course that i don't really consider myself to be a blogger anymore, after all this is the first post since 20th December last year so more than 3 months ago, quoting and changing one of the great film quotes of the nineties...

"All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks. So I don't really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally, like, exhausted writing genre where's there's nothing original to look forward to and no one to look up to"

Now, granted this may sound a bit teenage, after all it was the nineties when Pump up the Volume came out but it resonates quite easily with the state of the beer writing community(in my opinion) simply because i'm not seeing anything new, and the people that try and do something new just look like they're trying too hard for a story, or a by-line and the people that aren't trying something new just seem like they're stagnating. How can the end of the email possibly make any sense when only 35 people have actually signed up? "The European Beer Bloggers Conference is our highest rated conference out of the six we run each year and you as alumni know it is an awesome time with fun people for very little money. To be honest, if this is not what you want - meals, beer, content, and Irish culture all for little to no money - I am not sure what you are looking for. :)

Highest rated? really? Couldn't give a shit but that may well be because i've been artistically constipated for the lasted 18 months! Have fun with that image!