Monday, August 21, 2017

A quick autobiographical update

I wanted to give a quick update on what I'll be up to in the coming months (to years) and how that will influence the trajectory of this blog. While there isn't really much beer content in here, this is a bit long for a FB post so I thought it should stand as an autobiographical blog post of sorts.

Picking sour cherries in Bern, summer 2017.
Starting in October I'll be moving to Bern, Switzerland to take a 2 year position as a post doctoral researcher. In may ways this will help me maintain the trajectory of the blog over the past few years (in itself, this has been caused by similar life circumstances). I've made at least one trans-Atlantic move every year since 2013, and these trips have become more frequent and for a shorter duration in recent years. So I'm hoping this time there is a bit more stability.

For the blog, I think while I expect to be brewing much less, I think the writing will mostly stay the course. While having a base in continental Europe means leaving brewing gear behind, it should help me maintain access to the sorts of historical sources and modern brewers that have featured in many of my posts over the last few years. So I expect I'll be more likely to write the sort of posts that have been up recently - a focus on historical sources and scientific articles, and possibly a return to posts about commercial producers, rather than my own brewing. I am hopeful that I can get a bit of brewing in though.

While Switzerland may not be known abroad for it's beer, I think Bern is a good spot to end up. I've already met a homebrewer there (Tom) who is making good beer. Some of it is available commercially with his brewery Full Measure Brewing. While vising Bern I was able to pick some sour cherries with him and learn a bit about the Swiss beer scene. The area is also home to Sam, the writer of the (no longer active) Eureka Brewing blog and the co-owner of Blackwell Brewery. So there should be some good beer options around Bern.

Speaking at Carnivale Brettanomyces 2017.
Being based in continental Europe will also hopefully allow me to integrate a bit better into the European brewing scene. So far most of my time around European brewing has been getting to know commercial brewers. I definitely plan to continue that, but I'd like to spend a bit more time with homebrewers there. There is some great stuff going on in European homebrewing/blending (and very small scale commercial brewing).

While these brewers are often operating with similar influences to what drives North American homebrewing, and while there are points for the two realms to interact such as Milk the Funk, I think the two sides could benefit from a bit more crossover. But major events (like HomebrewCon and Carnivale Brettanomyces) can already have a non-trivial cost when considering places to stay, etc. It doesn't get better when you add international flights to the bill. And the almost overlapping schedules of these two don't make it any better. But it would be great to see more crossover at these events. So I'm hoping that I'll be able to learn from and collaborate a bit more with European homebrewers while I'm in Switzerland. Feel free to get in touch if you're a homebrewer based in Europe and hopefully we'll be able to meet up at some point over the next couple years.


  1. Good luck with the move Dave! Sounds like a fantastic opportunity!

  2. I will soon be an American homebrewer in Roma. Let me know if you have any find any Italian contacts. Also, would love to meet up, if it's in the cards.

    1. Hope your move goes well Taylor! I do have some Italian brewing (home and pro) connections but it may take a bit of digging to try to remember if any are in your area.

      I expect I'll find my way to Brussels fairly often, so there may be good chances to meet up there. If you're into natural wine then there is a great event in Brussels that will be at the end of November this year called Vini Birre Ribelli (there will be some beer there, but the focus is wine). I plan to be in Brussels for this, and I may try to make a trip in October as well.

    2. I've never had the chance to try natural wine, but that sounds like an amazing opportunity as I've read great things. I'm putting it on my calendar.

      As for Brussels, I imagine I will be there multiple times, especially after looking up how cheap it will be to travel there.

      What would be the best way to contact you when all of this stuff starts getting real? My fly out date is September 10th.

    3. Sorry for the long delay here Taylor. I was out at sea with limited internet and just got back home. Anyway, emailing me through the contact address associated with this blog works well (horscategoriebrewing at gmail dot com).

      Hope you are getting settled in fine in Rome!