I’m heading out on the town in Portland later tonight with another Alehead who’s down from Seattle for the evening, and I’ve found myself feeling nostalgic for the days when I was a little more involved in the craft beer scene. It seems like I’ve fallen victim to the mainstream trap – too many other people got into it, and suddenly it didn’t seem so cool/unique to be all excited or knowledgeable about it anymore. I certainly never though of myself as a fair-weather craft beer drinker, and in reality my consumption habits haven’t changed much. I still love visiting the ever-evolving plethora of breweries in Portland (I’ve recently become a visitor of craft distilleries as well), and every trip to the store includes a lingering stop in the beer aisle. Somewhere along the line I just got less involved in writing about/analyzing all things craft beer. I still aspire to (and have yet to) brew my own. I still love chatting about my favorite brews (and my less favorite brews) with anyone who wants to engage on the topic. I still consider myself a connoisseur. I still have a “cellar” of great beers ageing away for a rainy day. And I still find excuses to visit brewfests on a semi-regular basis. I suppose I’m not really sure what changed.
As my association with the site has waned, so has my connection with some of the other Aleheads. In some ways Aleheads.com was a construct that we created as much to have an excuse to keep up our association with one another from our far-flung post-college locales as it was a result of our shared passion for craft beers. Aleheads joined us along the way who had nothing to do with our original fraternal origins, and I don’t know whether losing a worthy Alehead (St. Magnus) prolonged or foreshortened the life of the site, though I’m grateful that I had an opportunity to talk with him just days before his untimely departure as a direct result of this endeavor (during a malt-fueled Maltercation recording session). I don’t have the excuse of some of the other contributors, who spawned a bunch of little Aletykes and suddenly have real responsibilities to deal with. Perhaps it’s just the nature of any topical blog run by a bunch of non-professionals. Other priorities simply intrude, lives change, and interest wanes. In any case, I’m looking forward to sucking down a few hop-bombs this evening and waxing philosophical with the Captain this evening. I hope you have an excuse to enjoy some of the same.