The Perks of Being a Beer Writer

Last Tuesday, I went to the courthouse to endure the brutal civic task of jury duty. Actually, that’s misleading. I think I would be a terrific juror; The pain in the ass would have been figuring out a daytime plan for the 8-month old that lives with us. Child care wouldn’t really count as a hardship, though, and I actually believed I’d be chosen. I had no reason not to be.

During our one-on-one interviews with the judge — I think this is a new process — the presiding judge asked us questions about our questionnaire that we filled out prior to our jury duty day. There was this huge importance placed on doing this prior to our arrival. We literally sat around a room that had the heaters jacked up to 85 degrees. We could’ve easily done them during the four hours of downtime.

In any case, during the personal interview with the court, the judge asked me about journalism. How I got into it, who have I written for, etc.

“What are the primary topics you write about?” he asked.

“Sports and booze,” I answered.

“Booze?!” the judge answered.

“Booze.”

The court, tense already, laughed in unison.

I got to explain to him that one of the many perks about writing about anything is access. If I’m writing a story on the Celtics, for instance, I can get a media pass to cover the game; If I’m writing a story about a certain craft beer, often I’ll e-mail a brewery and see if there are media samples available. I, of course, want to make sure I give the most accurate representation of the beer or brewery.

“Will these microbreweries actually send you beer?” he asked.

“They will.”

He was impressed. And with a little charm and an explanation that I certainly believe that I could be a fair and impartial juror, but certainly evidence and cases are equally unique and you never know which could sway you toward bias. I was dismissed.

Every year around this time, the Rare Beer Club, which is part of the beer of the month club, generously donates a couple beers. Everything about these packages are worthwhile: The beers (I got a barrel-aged wee heavy and a barrel-aged barleywine this morning) are top of the line; The packaging and delivery is impeccable. Alongside the beers are call sheets that tell you about the brewery and the beer. The notes include how to serve the beer, what food to pair the beer with, and whether or not they believe the beer would benefit from aging.

Moreover, the people there are great. They’re generous and helpful; They stand by their product, as they should. I highly recommend The Rare Beer Club to anyone interested in craft beer as a drinker, but also to anyone eager to learn more about the craft of beer making. Great gifts for your friends and family at the holidays.

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