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So last night, we had what we realized was our first legit party at our apartment… a year and a half after we moved to Annapolis. Whoops. 

It was supposed to be just a couple people coming over for a Capital Gazette photoshoot for an entertainment cover story I’m writing outside of my usual weekly column on seasonal beers — hitting newsstands on Aug. 28! But it turned into full-fledged tomfoolery fairly quickly. And yes, that’s Scoop Adventures rocking some flawless mustache glasses in the last photo.

Also, Clover was able to get cuddles from just about everyone. Because she’s a whore

One word of advice to craft beer newbies

When I first took the leap from “Hey, I like to drink beer!” to “Hey, beer is something I’m passionate about!” I was shocked by something. No, I’m not talking about the surprising diversity of styles – though that’s pretty dope – or how much heart and soul goes into a truly well-made beer.

Instead, what really took me by surprise was how super aggressive some people could be about beer, and how that translated into them politely giving advice – i.e., impolitely butting in – on how I should be enjoying every single moment of my beer experience.

I’m referring to know-it-all beer tyrants, which is a sub-strata of the generally newbie-averse craft beer snob.

"You have to drink this. Don’t drink that. No, this is the best example of a porter. Oh, you like that? You really shouldn’t – it’s a terrible representation of an IPA. What do you mean you don’t homebrew? You haven’t been there? Well, you don’t know beer until you’ve gone there. Eek, don’t admit to anyone you like that beer. Trust me.”

This kind of bossy behavior reminds me of how some women treat motherhood. As a woman in my 30s, I can’t tell you how many “discussions” I’ve heard about or witnessed where one woman – feeling #blessed with the unparalleled wisdom motherhood has bestowed upon her, and her alone – has felt the need to completely bully another woman with parenting “advice,” when no one asked her about anything in the first place.

So here’s my one word of advice to those who are new to craft beer:

RELAX.

Seriously. Take a big deep breath, block out the endless prattling of the craft beer mouthbreathers out there like white noise and relax. 

It’s okay to dislike beers others swear by, while simultaneously embracing brews others abhor. (For example: Sorry, guys. I still like pumpkin beer. I had one earlier this week, and it made me happy.)

It’s also no big deal to take your time getting to know different styles at your own pace. Or to change your mind over and over again about what you like and don’t like. And yes, you can still consider yourself a craft beer nerd without going completely mental for IPAs; don’t let those hopheads pressure you into thinking otherwise. I say this as someone who really loves IPAs, but didn’t always.

Oh, and you can still be a cool beer kid without enjoying the act of homebrewing. You can just want to drink beer. Or you can try homebrewing once, learn some cool stuff and then decide you don’t want to do it anymore.

Beer is too awesome to have the fun totally sucked out of it. You are free to enjoy it as much or as little as you’d like. I say this because yes, there is a lot you can learn about beer, but how far down the rabbit hole you go is entirely up to you. So while pursuing the hilariously intimidating Certified Cicerone exam seems like a good idea to Josh and myself, you don’t have to do that.

Because here’s the best part about beer: While that yeast strain-naming, craft beer snob in your life might be judging your every beer-related move, your beer never will. Your beer will always love you just the way you are.

Mostly because it’s inanimate and incapable of independent thought, but whatever. My point stands. A beer will never judge you.

So relax.

This is part of a series of posts by Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers. Tomorrow, Sean Creel from Brewkeep will have a new word for you. Check out the other advice for craft beer newbies:

  • Doug from Baltimore Bistros and Beer: Craft
  • Jake from Hipster Brewfus: Patience
  • Oliver from Literature and Libation: Reciprocate
  • Andrew from Das Ale Haus: Drink
  • Bryan from This Is Why I’m Drunk: Live
  • Josh from Short On Beer: Journey
  • Liz from Naptown Pint: Relax — this post! 

It’s been awhile, and I owe you all a fun little recap. But for now, enjoy my #ALSIceBucketChallenge video, with huge thanks to Pat and Keith at Factors Row in downtown Annapolis

And now I wait for Justin of Jailbreak, Lauren of Mispillion and Heidi of Life in Pink to answer my challenge. 

Last night, Heavy Seas beat Flying Dog for the fourth year in a row in the Maryland Brewer’s Cup sailing race. We rode with the Flying Dog crew, and while losing was a bummer, I’d like to think we were first in friendship and partying.

We ended the night with a quick walk over to Factors Row for the after party. Enjoyed a firkin of Flying Dog’s Bloodline — one of my favorite new beers this year — with lemon zest and a bit of mint. It was pretty good, but a little too much citrus for my taste. Still, it was the perfect way to end our adventure.

Man, I know I said in this week’s column that the weekly beer tasting cruises aboard the Schooner Woodwind were awesome, but this was the coolest event ever. I’m already stoked for next year.

On a side note, the Easy IPA? I dig it. A lot.

This past weekend was bananas. It was the kind of weekend where you’re psyched about everything going on, but you also kind of want to be a hermit who lives in a cave forever and ever.

Throw in the fact that our air conditioner broke, so we had to spend one night on the Eastern Shore with the in-laws… yeah. 

Anyway, Saturday was the Mid-Atlantic Brewsic Festival, and I was lucky enough to help run the first-ever Mid-Atlantic Brewsic Festival Firk-Off. (I know. Tough life.) Flying Dog ultimately took home the gold with a firkin of Raging Bitch of habanero and mango — what became their brewhouse rarity — but DuClaw and Abita weren’t far behind. 

Sunday was my Christmas in July party at 1747 Pub at Reynold’s Tavern. I got to ride in a London cab, Nathan dressed up in a reindeer onesie, we sang a lot of Christmas songs, we danced, we got my felt Christmas bird Frederick drunk, we ate a lot of cookies and we drank a lot of good seasonal beer. Though I must admit I was the seasonal creep bastard who mostly drank Elysian’s Night Owl, a pumpkin ale, all afternoon.

Sorry not sorry, etc.