Archive for May, 2012

May 24, 2012

EBBC12 – the aftermath (part 4) – something to open at home

Whether you were there or not, you will no doubt be aware that the European Beer Bloggers Conference was a great opportunity not only to taste a wide range of beers (plus a couple of meals and some delicious cheese) but also to bring things away to enjoy later.  This is of course a great way of extending the pleasure of the event out for days, weeks or even months!  So, I thought, maybe I should open something and see what I think.

So I did.  It was an offering from one of the larger corporate sponsors, but was something I’d been looking forward to from the moment I found out it was going to be available at the event.  Once opened I was presented with a pale straw colour, seemingly in very good condition.  I was disappointed by a lack of hop aroma, but to be fair I expected none given its large brewery origins.  Certainly this was designed to appeal to the eye, and also to the pocket representing excellent value.  After a perfectly reasonable visual inspection I moved onto the flavour which is where this really let itself down.  It tasted papery and thin, clearly having too much content with oxygen in the packaging, and actually despite appearances was completely flat.

So, would I have another.  Yes, in fact if I was offered another I’d snap it up.  Despite the flavour problems I was completely won over and was very grateful for the opportunity to have this.  It is a fine cheque – now all I have to do is take it to the bank and pay it into my account…

Attending EBBC12 was a great opportunity for me, and the event was made more accessible through the generosity of the many sponsors, including the refund of registration fees that I and many other bloggers received through the Molson Coors scholarships for Citizen Beer Bloggers.  So a big personal thanks from me to all involved in supporting this event – sadly too many to list without risking inadvertently omitting someone – and all those who attended and made it such a fabulous few days.  See you all next year!

May 22, 2012

EBBC12 – the aftermath (part 3) – Live(ish) Beer Blogging

You’ve no doubt by now read a fair few accounts of the live beer blogging event that took place at EBBC12 last Saturday.  If not, why on earth not!  This was a fascinating opportunity for all of us attending to see if we could taste, and blog about, 10 different beers in the course of just 50 minutes – the brewers had 5 minutes each to tell us what they could while we tasted and typed like maniacs, before the time was up and they all rotated round to the next table of wild-eyed, beer bloggers rapidly developing RSI.

It was of course obvious that I needed to get the laptop set up in advance, make sure I could connect to the wireless internet, and if that failed get successfully tethered to a mobile connection despite never having done that with that particular laptop and phone combination.  Obvious.  So naturally I found myself with five minutes to go, booting up in just enough time to discover that none of the available network connection options were going to work for me.  Poor reception was the final straw, so even though I got online I couldn’t get my blog loaded up to type anything meaningful.

All was not lost however, and I decided to type away offline and worry about posting it later.  As someone not accustomed to writing reviews of beers, certainly not in such short timescales or rapid succession, it was a challenge, and clearly the teams of brewers circulating amongst us were up against it too, so all credit to them for an excellent showing.

I could regale you now with my florid descriptions of the fine ales that appeared in my glass at five minute intervals, but you’d quickly realise that others can do that far better than me.  By way of a summary though there was only one beer that failed to impress me (and reading other posts on the subject the opinions are divided), and there were three or four outstanding offerings amongst the rest.  I don’t think I can do justice to the descriptions and therefore won’t elaborate, it wouldn’t be fair.  What was great to see was the representatives from ten breweries all talking with passion and enthusiasm about their beers, all offering something different – different styles, different treatment of the style, different methods of serving and even different presentation tactics.

I’m in danger of getting repetitive in these posts now but as a celebration of the variety of beer this was a fantastic hour’s “work”.  Maybe by next year I can get up to pace on the actual blogging too…

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May 22, 2012

EBBC12 – the aftermath (part 2) – Post Futures

Over the course of the weekend just gone, someone made a comment about selling “beer futures” – pay now for a beer that hasn’t even been brewed, in the hope of profit later.  I can’t quite recollect who it was so apologies for not crediting it properly.  The comment came back to me just now as I was mulling over the events of EBBC12, when I thought about the Saturday morning sessions and in particular the one on how to make best use of Social Media. 

The slightly aggressive commercial approach to using social media wasn’t to everyone’s taste, and grated slightly against the ethos of blogging being a very personal thing, with everyone making it to be what they wanted it to be.  On the other hand, the reality is that if youdowant to develop your following as a blogger in a more disciplined way, you have to change your mindset to one of marketing yourself rather than just being yourself. 

That was when I was struck by the thought that in many ways blogging can be like developing a “post futures” market.  Followers are gained on the basis of past performance and reputation, maybe the odd tip-off in another blog.  What they get in return is the value of your future posts.  Fail to deliver and the market will turn away from you, but get it right and the demand only grows.

It still all depends on what your motivation actually is though – I’ve met lots of people this weekend who write simply because they are passionate about their subject, and while we all get a kick out of knowing that people read, and enjoy, what we write it isn’t necessarily important to them just how many people read it.  Others are far more interested in developing their writing and their popularity as a writer.  Whichever category you might be in, it seems to me that “post futures” are looking rosy at the moment.  I just wish I had enough time to read as many of the great blogs that are out there as I would really like, especially after discovering a whole host of great new writers this weekend!

May 22, 2012

EBBC12 – the aftermath (part 1)

If you don’t know by now that the European Beer Bloggers Conference was held in Leeds last weekend then you’ve probably either been asleep for a month, or have been comatose through enjoying your beer a bit more than is perhaps advisable! Put 100 or so bloggers into a room for a couple of days, let the beer flow freely and sit back as the words flow even more freely. There are countless blog posts that were generated over the course of the weekend, and still now (like this one) as part of the aftermath. A range of views, opinions, and writing styles all telling their own stories of the event.  Personally, I’m still trying to catch up with all that’s been written, collate my own thoughts, and get my own posts out there into the mix.

One of the first two panel sessions, on Friday afternoon, saw Adrian Tierney-Jones and Simon Jenkins debating some of the finer points of beer blogging. Length of posts was a big theme, and while there is no conclusive answer to what is right or wrong, I can appreciate the arguments in support of keeping posts short. It will be something I consider as I write up my thoughts on EBBC12, aiming for a few short summaries rather than one long one – hopefully they’ll be easier to read as a result, but also I’m hoping to find lots of short posts are easier to write than a few long ones.

That could be taken as my cue to wrap this one up, but I’ll go on just a little longer if I may.

For me, this session demonstrated right from the outset what diversity there is in beer blogging. Plenty of contrasting views at every turn, and good healthy debate. Different motivations for writing a blog, and so different approaches that need to be taken. The same goes for views on specific beers, and there’ll be more later on how that came out through the various tastings. Rarely was there a unanimous view around the room on anything, and if there had been then I think the discussions would have suffered as a result. However I think if there was to be a consensus on anything, it would be that EBBC12 was a great event, Leeds was a great city to hold it in, and EBBC13 should be well worth looking forward to!

May 16, 2012

Integrity, beer reviews and a bit of tongue in cheek

Oooh I thought.  Free beer.  I like the sound of that.  Well, who wouldn’t?  And all I have to do is write something?  I can write something, I’m sure I can.  Obviously it will have to be good, this is a sort of a competition, and there’s a prize to be won.  Can I write something good?  I can try.

Dave Bailey, of HardKnott fame, put an interesting post out yesterday inviting bloggers to respond with the chance of getting their hands on a rather special-sounding beer they’re just bottling.  This wasn’t obvious from the title, or even the opening paragraphs, but the post drew me in, as I sure it will have done lots of other readers, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly (get the flattery over with) I always enjoy reading Dave’s posts.  Secondly, the title was “Blogging Integrity” and it followed an excellent recent post (sorry, more flattery – hopefully that is the last) on integrity of awards ceremonies.  With the European Beer Bloggers Conference just two days away now, I was expecting stark views on the perils of sponsorship, advertising, and free stuff from breweries swaying the independence of the blogger.  After all, it is an obvious risk, and was nicely picked up by Boak and Bailey in this post here where the emphasis is on being upfront about freebies when writing, which I think is only fair to the reader who can make their own judgement on how much faith to put in the review as a result. 

But Dave’s post wasn’t really about that at all.  It was about HardKnott proposing to give away free beer so that the lucky bloggers to receive it can all tweet and blog about it together when the official “opening day” comes.  Sounds fun.  And all you have to do is write something that convinces Dave of your worthiness to receive a bottle.  Now, I don’t generally review beer in any sort of detail.  Not publicly anyway.  I’ve given appraisals of beers I’ve received from fellow amateur brewers and I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had to make serious negative criticism of more than one of those.  I do tweet occasionally about a particularly fine beer I may be enjoying, and sometimes pass comment about ones I’m not so impressed by, but that is all.  As a result I’ve never been in a position where I’ve had to consider how I’d deal with the review of a free beer as opposed to one I’d paid for.  I’d like to think I would be able to set to one side any possible bias and give just as fair and honest a review as if I’d paid my own money for it.  But whether it is free or paid for, there is a bigger issue for me anyway – I don’t think it is necessarily fair to write a review of a beer based on a single sample. 

Sure, if it is good and you like it, then one sample is probably sufficient – how often will a rogue “good” beer get out?  But what about if you aren’t happy with it.  Have you had a representative sample?  Did you happen to have a bottle that picked up a defect or infection?  Was it an isolated case or has a whole batch been affected?  Is the beer as the brewer intended and you just don’t like something about it?  If your sample is from a cask the parameters are even greater – taste the same beer from the same cask a couple of days apart and you may well notice quite a difference.  And from the moment a cask leaves the brewery there is potential for the beer to end up not as the brewer intended, if it isn’t handled right at some stage.  So is one negative experience enough to condemn a particular beer or even the whole brewery?  I really don’t think so.

I can give a practical example – I had two bottles of the same bottle-conditioned beer this week.  Both were slightly past their printed best before date, but only by a couple of weeks.  They both appeared to be from the same batch, and certainly came in the same order from the same supplier.  The first one was a “drain pour”.  I could best describe it as a lambic best bitter.  Not a flavour combination I expected, and certainly not one I liked (I am quite happy to drink lambics from time to time, but this was far from right!).  Two days later I opened the second bottle, expecting little from it.  This one was fine.  I didn’t think all that much of the beer, but there was certainly nothing technically wrong with it.  So if I had reviewed it on the basis of the first bottle, would I have been showing the required integrity?  I really don’t think so – I think we owe the brewer the benefit of the doubt, and should always cross-check a bad beer with another sample, preferably from another batch / supplier if that is practical.  And that doesn’t matter whether you received it for free or not.

There’s some more interesting and related discussion from Boak and Bailey here.

Hang on a minute though, I said to myself.  This integrity thing, well, that’s all well and good, not being swayed into giving good reviews to bad beers just because you received them for free.  But what about writing a blog post that is driven by a desire to win a free beer.  Isn’t that just the same?  How on earth can I possibly write a post aimed at convincing someone to give me something for free, while giving my readers (for I know there are at least two or three of you out there, unless one person is making comments under several different names!) the reassurance that what I write isn’t being swayed by the potential prize.  Well, I can’t.  If I’m to have any integrity at all I can’t possibly sacrifice my independent thought in order to get free stuff, now can I?  So to maintain any sort of integrity surely I won’t be able to write anything in response to Dave’s invitation, and therefore can’t make my pitch to win a bottle.  Morally* that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?

Clearly, though, I’ll have to publish this post now in order to explain why I can’t possibly write it… 
* No morals were harmed during the making of this post.  In fact, very few were even found!  Should it somehow manage to attract free beer then obviously I will have to just live with the guilt.

May 14, 2012

EBBC12 – a personal perspective

As the European Beer Bloggers Conference (EBBC12) in Leeds draws near, I thought I’d do just as quite a few other attendees have, and write a bit of a personal prelude to the event. To be honest, it is all a bit unexpected – three weeks ago I hadn’t even considered going, and yet here I am, now just three days away with conference and hotels booked, and just a train ticket to get (and with no suitable advance purchase tickets available, I can buy that on the day). I’ll make an apology in advance – this post isn’t really much about beer, but there is a link, on a personal note. This post is much more personal than that so feel free to look away now.  And maybe once I’ve got this all off my chest I can go back to writing something far more meaningful that is actually about beer.

While writing my previous post I found my mind drifting slightly off-topic, which to be fair you can tell as you read it! I’d already planned to write something pre-EBBC, and the train of thought I was following kept diverting me from the last post to this one. That, I think, was because I kept touching on the topics that were forming at the back of my mind into a whole different post. I was considering my relationship with beer, and how that has changed over recent months. How much it has changed over the past couple of years. I was trying to show how being a home brewer went hand in hand with drinking more in pubs, rather than less. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how much my relationship with beer has changed, and still is. And I thought about what it meant to have a mid-life crisis.

Now, on the face of it that may sound like to completely separate thoughts. But they kept coming crashing together. Am I saying that I’m having a mid-life crisis, and I’ve turned to drink to help me get through it? Absolutely not. But I think there is a somewhat different connection for me between the two things. And I do wonder if I really am actually having some sort of mid-life crisis. Mention a mid-life crisis and most people, myself included, would instantly think of 40-something men running off with girls half their age, buying sports cars, taking up motorcycling while wearing completely inappropriate leatherwear, that sort of thing. Think a bit more about it and you might also imagine 40-something men leaving their jobs and maybe even families behind and setting off to explore the world. It’ll almost certainly be 40-something men though (do women even have mid-life crises, or are they just better at hiding it? Or is it because men don’t notice because they’re usually too busy having their own?!).

This may be some rather flawed psychology, but to me it seems to be all about the dawning realisation that life is carrying on regardless, taking you along with it, and that if you don’t stop the ride and get off now you quite possibly never will. That job that may have seemed like such a great career choice when you started out is now just the routine you put yourself through every day. Or maybe it wasn’t so much a career decision as a way to make ends meet at the time and it has just carried on that way since. Either way, there seems to be a point where you start to wonder why you’re not doing something else, and sometimes that turns into an effort to make a change. Putting aside the specific details of sports cars and other inappropriateness, that then makes a lot of sense, both in a general, cliched sense but also to me on a personal level. And the cliches of mid-life crisis are surely about making changes where you can, which isn’t necessarily the same as making the changes you really need. I’m not 40-something, but I am approaching it, and while I don’t feel a sense of dread as such at the milestone being less than 3 years away I do feel a sense of frustration at things I want to change but feel unable to.  Frustration at continuing to do things based on a decision made 15 years ago,  because of doing it so long there doesn’t seem to be a way to do anything else. 

This, I think, is where (for me) beer comes in. Not in the sense of turning to drink as a support mechanism, but as a way to make a real change. And not just a superficial one. It’s more than a sports car, because it isn’t a replacement for the changes I’d really like to make, it seems like an opportunity to actually make those changes. To step away from doing something just because it is what you’ve been doing for as long as you can remember.  More than a hobby to escape to, more like a life change to aspire to. An opportunity to be grasped. There’s a long way to go and I have to keep myself firmly rooted in reality by doing “beer things” on the side of family and work life, which isn’t easy, but I don’t actually want a full-blown crisis on my hands, I want a sustainable change. It doesn’t pay to do anything drastic or rash (so the sports car can wait!), but as a result it takes up time on top of all the hours spent doing the other things that still have to be done. That can create its own pressures, especially when you’re relying on the understanding of those who are important to you.

So that is how, I feel, I’ve come to be going to EBBC12. It is part of the gradual immersion in the world of beer and brewing that I’ve been undertaking. I’ve developed a passion for brewing, and another for enjoying the efforts of both myself and others in that field. Through Twitter, and then through this Blog, I’ve found an interest in sharing what I’m experiencing with others, and receiving the benefits of their wisdom and experience. I’ve learnt so much about beer, its ingredients, the process of producing it. I’ve ended up organising a beer festival, with the possibility of more to come, and managing all the publicity around that. I’ve got heavily involved in my local brewing group, taking part in and even running meetings. I’ve even been the after-dinner speaker at the local Rotary. I’ve starting writing regularly, even if not frequently, and am finding more enjoyment in that than I ever thought. And I’ve met some great people – brewers, drinkers, writers and more. All through a shared passion for beer, and for brewing. So with this coming weekend looming close, when I go to Leeds and meet a load more great people who share my interests, I can’t help but be just a little bit excited. If this really is a mid-life crisis, I think I’m going to enjoy it! Anyone want to join with me in drinking to that?

May 9, 2012

Throwing in my tuppenceworth, and getting change back…

I went to the pub last Saturday – a little trip out for the afternoon to Derby, where I met with a group of about 20 other like-minded people.  The common link between us all?  Home brewing.  The point I’m making?  Well I’ll come back to that later…

The most recent issue of the CAMRA members’ magazine, Beer, contained the latest in a series of debates – two contributors argue for and against a given statement on a beer-related subject.  This time round the topic under discussion was home brewing, and in particular whether an increase in home brewing results in greater presssure on pub profitability.

Even before I’d gone to Derby, I’d very defintely taken one side of the argument, and could see via discussions taking place on Twitter that I wasn’t the only one to come down very firmly in the camp that thinks that more home brewing is a good thing for pubs, not a bad thing.  However I can see how the easy, obvious answer ought to be quite the opposite.  Inevitably the debate in Beer was limited by the space constraints, so I thought I’d add my own thoughts to the argument.

Make and drink your own beer, and you don’t go out to the pub and buy someone else’s.  It’s obvious, right?  And in times of increased hardship through recession, coupled with the increases in the cost of going to the pub, I can see how more people are going to turn to homebrew as a far cheaper alternative to the pub.  But is it really that simple?  I suppose it is in some cases, some people will be happy enough with the results they get from a few kits and the cost benefits will be enough to make up for the time and effort (and please don’t think I’m suggesting that there is anything wrong in only being a kit brewer, it’s all horses for courses) .  However, for most people a drink down the pub is more than just the pint in your hand.  It is a social activity, and even if you’re happy to sit at home drinking your homebrew, your drinking buddies might not be.

And that’s just those who take up home brewing and are happy with the cheap beer they can get quickly and easily from kits.  However, lots of home brewers take the hobby further.  Many home brewers move on to (or even start with) all grain brewing, which involves a much greater investment of time and (usually) money, but gets you far more involved in the process.  At this point it is questionable whether the cheap beer which results is the driving factor any more – certainly all the home brewers I know are far more interested in turning out quality beer than turning out cheap beer.

On a personal level, I’ve found that during the time I began brewing for myself, I’ve also been developing my interest in drinking beer into something of a passion for beer and brewing. Learning how to put together ingredients, flavours, techniques, has given me a new understanding of the raw materials that make up a good (or bad) pint.  That has helped me to better understand the beers I drink at the pub, and to want to seek out more.  It has encouraged me to push back the boundaries, and try a wider and more diverse range of beer styles, utilising my increased understanding and at the same time developing my understanding further.  That has seen me arguably going to pubs more, not less, although there is the obvious counterbalance to that in that I am perhaps also drinking more than I did before I started brewing myself!  As well as pubs I’m also buying more, and more varied, bottled beer too.

Seeing some of the conversations triggered by the debate in Beer, especially those triggered on Twitter by David Bishop (@BroadfordBrewer /, it is clear I’m far from alone in this.  And that takes me right back to my opening paragraph – 20+ homebrewers gathered together in a pub, where between us we must have got through the best part of a firkin of beer in all, maybe more, not to mention the buffet that we bought too.  That seems to me to be a reasonable contribution that home brewers have made to that pub’s takings for the day, and while it is fair to say that was a one-off, it is an example of how an interest in beer, and brewing it for yourself, is far from the end of your interest in drinking in pubs.  How many of us would even have gone to the pub that afternoon if it wasn’t for the meeting?

Another good point made in the Beer debate was that a significant number of the rising stars in commercial brewing have started from home brewing origins.  Again I can relate to this, as a home brewer who is aspiring to brew in a more commercial form, and one for whom the dream has a real chance of making it to reality over the next year or two, if plans work out.  Demonise home brewing as a threat to the survival of professionally-made beer and you risk cutting off at least part of the supply of adventurous and talented brewers who can make a real difference to the commercial brewing scene.  And if you really side with the “Yes” vote in the Beer debate, surely that is saying CAMRA shouldn’t support home brewing – so that’s one regular article to remove from Beer and a few books to stop publishing at the very least!

Finally I’ll pick up a point I recall originally seeing made via Twitter though apologies to whoever it was as I can’t remember or find out who to attribute it to.  Through home brewing, and particularly the level of interest and understanding of quality beer it can generate, as it has for me, surely we raise the profile of good beer, and become more demanding consumers.  We introduce others to good beer, hopefully pass on some of our own passion, and with a bit of luck we create even more interest and demand.  No matter how much beer you brew yourself there is always that need to compare, contrast, explore new beers and old favourites.  Whether it is to see how close you’ve got to that beer you’ve just cloned, to find out what your favourite brewers have done with a style that you’re going to make yourself, or to see what new ideas there are out there to expand your repertoire, there is always a reason to keep seeking out great beer from pubs and shops to keep yourself developing as a home brewer.  If that means that you’re asking more of the pubs you visit, then all this can only help put the pressure on, in a good way, for breweries and pubs to produce and sell the best beer they can.

Now, to be honest I’m not sure that I’ve added a great deal to the arguments in the Beer debate, and when I set out to write this post I had hoped to do more than just reinforce the arguments that had already been made.  I think I’ve been able to give some personal perspective on why I agree with the “No” view, and some practical examples of that.  I do accept of course that for some people brewing at home will result in them drinking less in the pub, but for plenty of others the opposite applies.  But have I really contributed much to what has been said already?  Possibly, possibly not.  But as I wrote this, I found my thinking moving more and more towards the post I was already planning to follow this with, as a precursor to EBBC12 next week.  To the extent that I think now this post has become much more for my own benefit than for that of anyone reading it, so apologies for that.  It’s had the benefit of clearing the mind a little, providing me with some focus that hopefully you’ll get the benefit of in a few days.  I’m afraid that for now you’ve just had the pleasure of sitting here watching my thoughts develop, though I’ve not really told you all that much of what I’m thinking.  This post has to some extent effectively become a scene-setter, part 1 to next week’s part 2, in which I think I’m ready now to delve a little deeper into my own recent surge of interest in beer and brewing and how that has developed.  I hope you enjoy that one when it comes, and forgive me the indulgence that this post became!!

May 4, 2012

#TheSession63 – The Beer Moment

In this month’s session Pete Brown invites us to consider “The Beer Moment” and what it means to us.  In keeping with his appeal for us to switch off and float downstream, my mind immediately latched onto the word “moment” and it took me straight back to A-level physics.  In between setting things on fire, putting scary quantities of electrical current through them, and generally avoiding anything too mentally strenuous, there were actually a few things that stuck, and “moment” was one of them.  Rather than thinking about a moment as a point in time, my mind turned to its meaning as a force causing movement around a turning point.  Or, I suppose, a tipping point.

In the context of the beer scene in Birmingham (which is, by a small margin over Stoke, my nearest major city, and at least sometimes my work location too) much has been written already this year about how we lag behind other major (though generally smaller) cities in terms of the beer revolution.  There are glimmers of hope on the horizon, with the opening of the Post Office Vaults just before Christmas, and plans for Brewdog to open up in the city later in the year.  Interest in great beer is growing, or rather it is becoming more vocal, and surely there are exciting times ahead.

So, for me, 2012 is shaping up to be the year of Birmingham’s “moment”, both in the sense of it being a time where something is happening, and (back to the physics here) a powerful turning force, creating change in the drinking scene in the second city. 

As mentioned above, at the end of 2011 the Post Office Vaults came onto the scene, and that has been a breath of fresh air (figuratively at least, being a somewhat subterranean venue!) with a rapid expansion in the range of foreign bottled beers alongside a good selection of British ales.  Almost every time I go in the place is busy, and there is a buzz there that is great to see.  A buzz that is fuelled by the great beers that are available, and it is fantastic to see just how popular so much of the wide variety of styles and flavours is becoming.  Clearly the demand is there for exciting beers of all types.

Then a few weeks ago Twissup hit Birmingham, and a number of the more vocal enthusiasts for Birmingham’s beer scene got together and enjoyed a few hours of extremely responsible drinking, mostly meeting up for the first time with people with whom we’d all been communicating via Twitter for a while, and forming stronger relationships as a result.  It may have been the first of its kind here in Birmingham, but it certainly won’t be the last.  You can read more about that in recent posts on the subject, from both myself and Danny Brown.

And the future, well, it is fairly well known that Brewdog have been looking at a venue in central Birmingham to open up another in their rapidly expanded chain of bars, and word on the street is that all being well later this summer we’ll be seeing that venue opening up.  That can only be a good catalyst for further growth and expansion in the variety and quality of beer available in Birmingham.  I welcome their arrival and the challenges they will present to the local beer scene, although its location pretty much right on my direct walking route from the office to the station will be its own personal challenge to me, and a temptation I shall enjoy giving in to.

Three individual moments in time there, two past and one future, all contributing to the growing force for change that I think will finally see 2012 being Birmingham’s “Beer Moment”.  Returning once more to the physics, a moment is a force, and the more force applied the greater the change.  Come and be a part of that change; come and be a part of the moment. Let’s turn a moment into momentum.

And, of course I couldn’t leave this today without saying, may the fourth be with you…