Macc To Basics

For the oh so many people that have been asking me about this, I can at last confirm that this years Macclesfield #Twissup is go!

P1020544As you can probably guess from the lack of updates, since we decided to kill the “Macc To The Future” idea through lack of interest (it seemed a great idea when we were drunk), things have been a little quiet..

I stand and solely take the blame for this, as for many reasons which are now thankfully all gone, I’d lost my drive to drive the event as much as I had in previous years. But thankfully due in truth to the support from you guys, and in particular I’d say Matt at the Treacle too for pushing me on, we going ahead as planned on Saturday 22nd August 2015.

What has made it trickier this time around is that there has been so much going on behind the scenes. Toby at RedWillow building a new brewery, Chris closing and reopening a new, larger and much improved Brewtique, and Bronwyn and Tim with their network of fine establishments. So we decided to take it back to basics (#MaccToBasics) and just go with a great social drinking theme. No big beer launches (unless of course anyone fancies it), just a great range of beer and food, a good crowd of friendly people having a beery bimble around the usual haunts.

IMG_6367So far we have the return of the amazing Great North (breakfast) Pie Co at The Treacle Tap as our starting point at 11AM. Where we will also have the pleasure of an informal Meet The Brewer session with Marble and I’m sure a fine selection of their beers tbc.

Toby is again opening up RedWillow brewery for us to try a few beers and take a look around the new brewery building so that you can see it as a work in progress.

Chris at The Wharf is escaping on holiday, but again is happy to welcome us and put on some “cellar specials” as well as the normal top range. He is also hoping that folk will take an excursion up to the new shop which now has beer on tap including a dedicated sour line. It’s probably not feasible for us all to go “en-masse”, but we should have plenty of time to visit as they are open all day till late.

Image 1Finishing off the day as last year in RedWillow Bar, which I am sure will have enough to keep you all happy on the cask, keg and gin front among other things. Molly and the team will I’m sure pull out the stops to make the days beer board as amazing as last year.

IMG_0273Full details to be confirmed for all venues as soon as I have them on the likely beer lists, venue timing itineraries, food etc. “So keep em peeled”. Hope to see you all soon.


Positive Waves….

IMG_2622Things have been quiet here on the post front for several months you may, or may not have noticed. For lots of reasons, most of them personal and not for discussion here, but basically a lack of drive or inspiration to write anything worth reading (which may well still be the case)..

Part of that too was a feeling that blogging (for me at least) had become a little stale and for want of a better descriptor, “samey”, which doesn’t really mean anything at all.

If I did feel the urge to engage brain to pinkies, it was inevitably about something negative. So I refrained from doing so in an effort to not piss people off, and in doing so save my “iKeyboard” from being fist-mashed into something beyond the recognition of even the late Steve Jobs..


So why now, I hear you collectively cry? (thanks to both of you for crying that by the way)

Well, a few things really. Weirdly the first was the second anniversary of Simon #Scoop Johnson’s death (which doesn’t seem that long ago at all). I was reading some of his old posts and it made me think, I miss these. Simon’s writing was informative, witty, farsighted, grounding and sometimes (perhaps always), absolutely bonkers. His posts generally made you feel happy or at least able to laugh at even serious issues, beer and blogging about beer should be fun.

Exhibit A: Harrumph

Exhibit B: Money For Old Rope…

If you never got to meet Simon or in particular read any of his work, go and have a good rummage through his blog, time well spent I assure you.

IMG_2637The second was this last weekend and an impromptu visit to both BlackJack and Runaway Breweries as part of the Manchester Brewery Expo, to quote the latter twitter profile “Manchester Brewery Expo is a collaborative, open door event to celebrate our brewing community, shared goals, and unique characteristics”.

The Expo included and just happened to coincide with BlackJack’s own monthly brewtap weekender, which I heartily recommend. But my attendance wasn’t planned. Two brief early morning comments sparking an idea that grew quickly to become a wonderful afternoon where I met so many good beer people, friends, enjoying their company and conversation. I felt that dark cloud lift for a while, thinning and rising ever higher, bright warming rays starting to peep through the gaps.

(For reference, in terms of the whole event, there was so much going on that I didn’t get to see over the weekend, but in any case I completely forgot to take any pictures… However, for a flavour of that, check out this fine photoblog by Mark Johnson).

The final thing though, was a most timely email last night from some social media site congratulating me on the fact that the blog was “3 years old today”, it even had a cartoon cake!

“Wow” I thought “three years, it feels longer than that”.

It was, my first post on Beersay was actually February 2011, so it is actually nearer four and a half. So, maybe taking a break has just done me good. I’m hoping so and that this is a sign of my returning mojo in whatever form that may take. Beer blogging has been kind to me, I’ve learned so much and made more friends with similar interests than I would have ever thought possible. Only time will tell..

Raising a glass to “positive waves” people, “positive waves”. #ODDBALL

Beery Twitter, is it just me?

twiterI’ve been a twitter user for a couple of years now and still find it a really valuable tool for communicating socially, plus the most incredible information source when I need to travel anywhere or even just need advice. But in recent months I’ve seen my general use decline. The reasons I think are varied, time, outside personal influences, melancholy or just general lethargy at times, but also an uneasy feeling that things are changing and not for the better.

As an early user I started as most folk tend to with a plethora of celebrity sports, TV and comedy personalities. I soon winnowed most of these away to all but those I really found either funny or interesting, as clearly none of them generally interact with Joe-Public and for me at least that is not what twitter is about.

Gradually over time my following and followers list grew into list of folk who have similar interests to myself, and post, read and most importantly interacted with me about them, these being, good food, music, a skittering of sport, coffee and BEER.

Now I may be reminiscing about those “good old days” wearing rose-coloured glasses, these filtering only the good times to the fore, but my memories of a year ago for example are filled with laughs, impromptu beer tasting sessions and good-natured banter. More recently though things seem be taking a darker sometimes sinister direction. I’m not saying it’s all bad, it’s not and I have some great friends out there in the Twittersphere, but there is definitely something that just doesn’t feel right.

So what’s changed in the beer community in that time?

Well it’s grown for starters, maybe that has a part to play as less folk know each other as they perhaps once did, therefore making the interaction more widespread and perceptually less often.

I also think some brewers interact a bit less than they used to, and that is not meant to be either a criticism nor a broad brush sweeping statement as I can understand it completely. Some do, some don’t, tweet much or interact with followers and I can’t say that I blame them in some respects. The hours worked are often crucifying and I’m sure there are only so many times you want to reply to someone saying how much they love your beer, or to randomly condemn it as being drain-pour slops making all their hard work meaningless.

This though is where the brewery and brewery folks personal accounts come into their own, but again with the former, “some” can be nothing more faceless spewers of advertising with little or no banter, though thankfully these are in the minority too.

Does Untappd have a part to play? (I wrote about this a while back) Some people really hate it and I know for sure with some brewers it definitely does. Being slammed with wave after wave of beer check-ins on a daily basis, at times with undeservedly negative comments can’t do much for your cheery goodwill attitude to all..  A classic example below:

Note: Some of these tweets were found easily thanks to Boak and Bailey‘s excellent “Top Tweets of 2013” post..

I have definitely made an effort to cut the amount of twitter posts direct from Untappd to a minimum and go back to my old ways of posting comments etc direct or even just generally without tagging.

The characters have changed over time too, some alliances/friendships fade, sometimes through neglect, or maybe perhaps a quiet but deliberate attempt to slip away from folk that annoy or badger you. I’ve lost count of some of the people I used to speak to almost every day, but who’s icons I now rarely see pop up on my timeline. It may be that these folk are just bored, I’m missing them or maybe I’m a victim of the “quiet walk off” myself. Could some though be a little fearful of being down-trodden or ridiculed for saying the “wrong thing”, going against the flow of general consensus or being lost in a sea of messages from the scattergun tweeters, those folk that attack your timeline like wasps battering themselves to death as if trapped inside a bottle of warm cider, bam, bam, bam, then silence and peace…

Then of course we have the “parody accounts”, some of which are clever and witty, others that seem to be there for nought but malice or mischief. I do follow some for sure, but I do question whether it’s a wise move at times, after all who is next, it could be you or I. Take the most recent examples of the last few days, with names I am not going to mention for fear of fanning the flames which at last seem to have gone out, but I’m sure have still left nasty scars on those unfortunate enough to have been attacked or so badly cloned. Twitter can be a truly evil place at times and it’s all too easy for a snide remark or accusation made with a certain degree on anonymity to snowball into a dark avalanche.

Finally there are some folk that are sadly no longer with us, but whose name still lives on through fond personal memories, old musings forever committed to the web, or even now in annual “Golden Pints” beer blogging awards. Twitter needs more witty, articulate folk like this much missed chap, but sadly they are a very rare breed. Make Golden Pints choices wisely and if you are lucky enough to be honoured in this way, treasure that moment as you must be doing something right for someone.

Now these are some of my personal thoughts, stuff that’s been rattling around my head on the whole for a while. You may agree, It may of course “just be me”, after all I am a moaning miserable old sod at times and there’s a good chance that your experiences are completely at odds with my own, either way no malice is meant, I just had to get it off my chest to allow me to get on with it and move on.

I wasn’t sure how to end this, in fact I wasn’t sure whether I should actually post it up at all, so I asked a good friend and confidant for his thoughts and I quote:

“I hope Twitter isn’t changing into a big fuck-bag full of lazy run-of-the-mill twats called the general public that don’t have even half a brain and are screwing up what used to be a fun and exciting media by lowering the average IQ level to that of an amoeba after 12 pints of Carling”

Not quite how I would have put it, but I think you get the point being made..

In closing I ask the question again, “is it just me?”

Am I just in the wrong frame of mind, is all still as good as it once was and I’m just not seeing it or have things seen a change for the worse in your eyes too? Either way I’ll be doing my upmost to be more positive in 2014 and plan to take as many other folks as I can with me.