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  • Hamilton Riley

The Adaptation of a Beer Writer

Weekly Meeting with the #BeerNow Group

I have many different hobbies. Over the few decades of my life, there are many things that I enjoy doing in my spare time and they usually are distanced enough so that I don't get burned out on just one thing. But it really wasn't until this month that all of those have been meshing together.

I spent about a year transforming one of the rooms in my house into my office. It was a passion project that I really loved, from building my own desk, to "specing" out and building my computer, to creating this amateur broadcasting/streaming setup. It quickly morphed from just a place to play some games with friends into a sanctuary where I'm able to work on a variety of different things. And until now, it was all but one.

The lifeblood of the writer has been connecting with people. Telling stories about yourself is fine for not-so-subtle blog intros, but there just isn't much else to hold the reader. And in the world of beer writing, it takes not only the product but the other people around you that are making it and writing about it. You pick up on things you haven't really thought about and they do the same from you. That connection was severed when things started to close down, but it was quickly back up and running in the most 2020 way possible.

My formal line of work has been a face-to-face business. Sure emails fly around like swarms on a daily basis, but tele-conferencing was limited to group phone calls or the occasional webinar. From the fallout of people working from home, various services have tried to emerge as the go-to product everyone needed to have to connect to the outside world, and it seems the winner in the 'casual social' realm has been Zoom. A free-ish service that allows you to connect with any device to other people in a group setting. While the early adapters on this have been teachers/students and small businesses, the beer world has picked up on it as well.

While most people can't sit at a brewery or a restaurant for at least another month, they can gather around a computer and talk about the beers they are drinking and how their favorite places are doing. And you can do it with people from all over the country. My Saturday night group was from our Beer Writers club, with people from Virginia, Colorado, California, New York, Montana, Illinois, and Mississippi. We are all experiencing this in various different ways, but we were able to talk outside of the madness and spend a few hours talking about beer.

Is this the best situation for everybody? Not by a long-shot. But to sit around and talk virtually face-to-face with people I only see about once a year, it was something I honestly think we wouldn't have done if we weren't where we are. And after this is long gone, I hope we take that experience and move forward with it. I hope you are finding ways to safely connect with people, and I would love to hear about it if you are.

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