…the writer (and drinker) & the idea:
I’m A.J., a recent graduate of the University of Georgia sticking around for another year (at least) of classes in Athens, Georgia. Since my first taste of real beer, I’ve been infatuated with it. I seek to learn as much as possible about the craft of brewing mankind’s most intriguing and diverse potable, which of course involves sampling the product whenever possible. The best part of my quest for beer knowledge is that I’m not alone…by any means. There is a craft beer community, growing in numbers each day, comprised of a myriad of individuals united by one thing: we love beer! So why am I writing? Surely there are already more published opinions about beer than anyone could ever keep up with, right? Two reasons for my own musings immediately come to mind. First, I want to bring a local perspective of the craft beer movement. Craft beer is a return to the roots of beer brewing, where variety was a given and location was the main determinant for beer variations. As households, and later breweries, used local ingredients and methods, distinct styles of beer developed. While global distribution and communication have eliminated each style’s exclusivity to a particular region, celebrating a local beer scene is important to truly understand craft beer. Craft beer is not something homogeneous and static, but something with personality. Craft beer is an ever-changing experience, and something I think is influenced just as much by setting as anything else. Most of the beer I drink is here, in Athens. Being a college town, you might expect it to be overrun with bars blasting loud music and selling straw-colored water masquerading as beer by the pitcher. I can’t say Athens is void of those establishments, but this city, like many others all over the world, is experiencing a beer enlightenment of sorts. Athens’ residents, yes even college students like myself, are demanding real beer, made with care and purpose. Over the past couple years, pubs with a great respect for what fills their pint glasses (or snifters, etc.) have opened their doors…which now have trouble containing the crowds inside. In addition to my largely unreported location, there’s another reason I think I can fill a gap in the beer blog circle: my age. There are undoubtedly many others whose knowledge about beer far exceeds mine. There are just as many, if not more, people who are just as new to craft beer as I am. There are few people, however, with only a year of drinking (ahem…legally drinking) who are sharing their experiences in the seemingly limitless, and continually growing, world of craft beer. I hope to provide a youthful (think fresh, not naive) view of my tastes and experiences of craft beer, as I learn more about it each day.
There is something slightly more meaningful than the only mildly-witty, yet very far stretch of a play on War & Peace. Stripped to its most basic elements, beer is two things: wort (the product of cooked malted barley) and yeast (the magical fungi that keep every beer from being O’Doul’s). First, let me say that I am not forgetting the third element of the “trinity” of beer: hops. At beer’s very beginnings, though, hops were still an alien weed. Like these elementary ingredients, Wort & Yeast is my take on beer sans complex and lofty adjuncts…and without any beer snob bitterness. While keeping it simple, nothing will be boiled down to an objective look at beers (there are plenty of sites for beer stats). Wort and yeast are a beer’s backbone, but also determine its personality–something that will be supplied in abundance here. So without further ado, my humble attempt at sharing my passion for what’s in craft beer: Wort & Yeast.