Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beer O'Clock Returns

It's my off-again, on-again blog.

I love beer. I know: it's no surprise for many of you. Ever since my friend, Perry Mason, introduced me to craft beer at The Olde Angel Inn, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and later, at Ottawa's Arrow & Loon, and later still, when he started his own microbrewery and let me work with him at various food and beverage events.

To this day, I can't drink a new brew and wonder what Perry would think of that beer.

When I first decided to review beer, on The Brown Knowser, one of Perry's vintage imperial stouts was the first pick for a post. I reviewed it a couple more times before the ale finally breathed its last, 10 years after my friend had bottled it.

As I wrote more reviews, I made a decision to create a separate blog, Beer O'Clock. My intention was to write at least one review each week, sharing my observations and opinions on a new beer that I had tried during that week. At first, I was eager, some months writing more than one post a week: in March of 2013, I actually published 11 posts.

But as time went on, I found that Beer O'Clock became less like a fun thing to do and more like work. I was invited by local breweries to try new releases. I was invited to beer events, sometimes hired to photograph and cover them.

I enjoyed tasting the offered samples, had fun at the events. But when it came to sitting down and writing about them, I felt the pressure of giving what I thought other people wanted to read, not what I decided to say or not say.

I've taken a few breaks and have even made a decision to stop the blog, one that I changed and returned to after several months absence.

These days, my beer reviews are sporadic, popping up whenever the mood strikes me. Sometimes, I think I'm going to write a review, only to change my mind. Other times, I try a beer that gets me excited, and I think that I should review it for my blog. But I don't.

I've watched the viewership steadily dwindle at Beer O'Clock, as it should. Readers want a steady, reliable feed. I get that.

And so, today will be the last Beer O'Clock blog post. I'm wrapping up work on that blog, closing the book. But Beer O'Clock will not go away.

My readership on The Brown Knowser has exploded over the past couple of months, and I know that if I want to write a beer review, I have plenty of space here. I will try to write a review once a month, but I'm not going to keep a tight schedule. Perhaps I'll write more; perhaps, fewer.

I would like to try to do more video reviews: the post I made in January had some good feedback, but because my numbers on the blog were shrinking, it's hard to tell if that format for my reviews is a good one. Also, the video was much longer than I wanted—nearly 20 minutes—and I want to keep the videos to less than five minutes.

I'll try another one soon.

Beer O'Clock returns to The Brown Knowser in May. Cheers to that!


  1. Next time you find yourself in Niagara-on-the-Lake, then I suggest checking out Oast House and the Silversmith Brewery. These two are the biggest craft brewers in my hometown at the moment, but the Craft Brewery scene has slowly been growing across the entire Niagara Region these past few years. It's not just for wine lovers anymore!

    1. Thanks, Ray, I've been wanting to visit both for some time, now. Maybe, this summer, I'll head down there (I used to visit the wineries on the Niagara Peninsula every summer). Cheers!