The long Memorial Day long weekend trip has been going well. Yesterday at around 4:30 pm I was at the Beale Street BBQ in South Portland having a Gritty's Vacationland waiting for my bulk BBQ rib order to be ready. Less than an hour later I was in a grocery store trying to decide between Dogfish 60 or 90 Minute IPA - a decidedly decadent experience for any Canadian not used to see beer across an aisle from cat food. Earlier at lunch at Gritty's in downtown Portland, we had had an hour of Johnny Cash to go along with lamb burgers and their best bitter on cask, a fantastic bright nuttiness of a soft pale ale. And on the way out the door, there were a pile of give away mags and newspapers among wich were a neat stack of the May 2007 issue of the new Beeradvocate magazine. I reached out. I grabbed. I took.
I've been a fan of the Beeradvocate website for a long while now. While there is the good and the bad of a massing of reviews to form a statistical averaging, the site is more than that what with the articles, the not blog blog and the group discussion areas. Well, the magazine is taking it up another level, according to the editorial, positioning itself and the Alstrom brothers who run the whole BA empire into the forefront of actual advocacy for great beer in a number of ways like actively lobbying for blue law repeal, supporting efforts like Lew Bryson's Session Beer Project and even creating scholarships for people who want to become brewers. These are great plans. In addition, as the life of the magazine goes on, it will also build on its design to set itself apart from other trade publications that are maybe a little less consumer oriented. There are articles by names I respect in beer writing world like Andy Crouch and Jay Brooks as well as good angles on stories about the worthlessness of brewing competition ribbons and medals or gluten-free brews. And there is a great cover picture of Marty Jones of Oskar Blues Brewery who has been a big supporter this here beer blog for quite a while.
I hadn't planned to subscribe to the Beeradvocate magazine but one issue may now have got me interested. It is a bit of a lonely life as a beer blogger, roaming the continent in a van with kids in tow in search of shops with rare beers or bars with new craft brews on tap. A magazine like this one is another way to remind yourself that you are part of a clan of beer nerds, that there are new stories out there you haven't heard about yet, maybe even unthought of advertisers to hit up. It is a bit like a beerfest that comes to your door once a month, when you think about it.