Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The 24-Hour Beer Cycle

Politicians and pundits decry the 24-hour news cycle: modern communications drive an unquenchable thirst for information, as media outlets strive to keep new content in front of their audience. When I appointed myself as a beer blogger, I put myself into the whirlwind of the 24-hour beer cycle -- the internet deluge of blogs, tweets, emails, and Facebook updates about beer. It's exhausting.

Here in Portland alone, there's at least one beer event happening every single day. Even if there were no special events, there are so many new or interesting beers a short bike ride away that it's sometimes hard to think about anything else. When Bob Noxious and his family were visiting us last summer, Bob shook his head as we settled in at the third stop of some pub crawl and said, "How could you keep from becoming an alcoholic in this town?" Fair question. As much as it hurts, you have to let some events pass you by, sometimes even cherished traditions like the Lucky Lab Barleywine Festival that I missed this last weekend.

In beer as in everything, the internet amplifies the amount of information, and keeps it coming throughout the day.  To keep up with local news and to avoid duplicating someone else's rant, I read about a dozen active Portland beer blogs, and a few others from around the country or other English-speaking nations.  But Twitter is the real killer.  The first tweets I read in the morning might be about @thebeernut's evening libations in Ireland, followed a few hours later by live reports of beer drinking in Boston, then Chicago and Austin.  Then when the dozens of nightly tweets from around Portland start rolling in about various bottles opened and pints drained, how can it not make you thirsty?  Not just after a hard day's work, but morning, noon, and night.  It's the 24-hour beer cycle.

For all of that information, there's some that I don't get around to: the excellent Northwest forums at Beer Advocate, the beer radio shows, beer podcasts, and beer videos are too much for me. I have a day job, a family, some exercise routines, and a dwindling number of outside interests.  I have to let a lot of beer info -- and a lot of beer -- get away from me.  Which means that sometimes the blog just gets fed a filler post like this one, instead of the substantive, hard-hitting beer analysis you expect from It's Pub Night.  Hey, not so different from the effect of the 24-hour news cycle on the news media.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is the kind of post only another blogger can appreciate. And I do!

    But one nice thing about having such a large corps of Portland beer bloggers is that you can always be sure someone will have attended an event. Weirdly, the 24-hour cycle makes me feel more relaxed about tuning out--or rather, tuning in with more focus on just the things I want to write about.