Today is beer blogger extraordinaire Alan McLeod’s 56th birthday. Alan runs a good beer blog, called — curiously enough — A Better Beer Blog, which replaced his earlier “A Good Beer Blog.” I’m not sure what came first, the goodness or the blog. Anyway, though I’ve yet to meet Alan in person I feel as if he’s already a great, not just good, friend through our many conversations via e-mail and commenting on one another’s blogs. If you haven’t read his essay in the book Beer & Philosophy yet, rush right out and buy yourself a copy. He also published The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer, with Max Bahnson, available as a Kindle single on Amazon, and last year co-wrote both Upper Hudson Valley Beer and Ontario Beer: A Heady History of Brewing from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay. Join me in wishing Alan the very merriest of birthdays. Cheers, mate.
For our 142nd and final Session, our host will be Stan Hieronymus, who founded the Session, and writes the Appellation Beer Blog. I could think of no better person than the man who started it all with the first Session back in March of 2007 with the topic “Not Your Father’s Stout.” In the intervening 11+ years we’ve tacked 141 topics, wrote about 24 specific styles along with another 27 broader categories of beer (like wood-aged or session beers). We discussed the packages beer can come in or what’s on the package 6 times and where to drink it 12 times. Homebrewing came up 3 times, food and beer 4 times, and mixing with beer twice. We wrote about beer history 7 times, locality 11 times, beer on the interwebs at least 3 times, and ourselves and beer writing an astonishing 37 times. We’ve tackled beer abroad or traveling to the beer 8 times and have been asked to make predictions 4 times, including by me last month. That’s not including the dozens of unique singular topics. But back to the final topic.
For Stan’s topic this month, he’s chosen One More For the Road, which he sums up as going out with a bang, um … I mean beer; going out with a beer. So what beer would you choose? If you only have one to pick — and you do — what would it be? How would (will) you decide? You only have one more beer to drink, make it count.
Here are Stan’s simple instructions, in full:
When Jay Brooks and I exchanged emails about the topic this month I flippantly suggested “Funeral Beers” [which] seemed appropriate. You can call it “Last Beers” if you’d rather not think about how your friends might toast you when you no longer are participating. Or “One more for the road”* because that has a soundtrack.
Pick a beer for the end of a life, an end of a meal, an end of a day, an end of a relationship. So happy or sad, or something between. Write about the beer. Write about the aroma, the flavor, and write about what you feel when it is gone.
To participate in the December Session, simply post a link to your session post by commenting at the original announcement, or “on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, wherever” on or before Friday, December 7, or by the 12th at the latest.
This month’s Session was notably our second-to-last, and I chose the appropriately forward-looking theme, The Future of Beer Blogging. With only around six submissions, I think we’ve proved the point that interest in The Session has been waning and that it is time to, in the words of the Disney ice queen character, Elsa, “let it go.” Here’s what the most loyal and ardent beer bloggers still playing along to the bitter end had to say about the future of beer blogging:
Appellation Beer Blog – Long Live Beer Blogging: In his post, Stan, who created The Session, is ever hopeful and while he believes The Session is ready to be put out to pasture, he’s confident that beer blogging itself is not dead, but just one of many tools in the writer’s toolbox of ways to reach an audience. Like any technology, it’s continually evolving and happily a “diversity in beer storytelling” will go on. Hear, hear!
The Beerverse – Goodbye, Session. Hello, Something Else??: Dean has been writing about beer now about five years and is a true blogger in Alan’s sense of the word, meaning he’s blogging for blogging’s sake. (Full disclosure, Dean was a student of mine when I taught my beer class at Sonoma State University, although I’d met him before that.) While he never did host (although he came close a couple of times), he did participate and even reached out about what he could do to keep it going. He’s come up with a plan to do something similar through a bi-weekly newsletter he publishes, so give his post a read and see if that’s something you could get behind.
Boak & Bailey – The Penultimate Session: B&B understandably winced a little at my navel-gazing topic, but decided to play along anyway since the “news that the Session is expiring” made it a reasonable enough moment to weigh in. As with the majority of opinions expressed, Boak & Bailey also agree that blogging itself is not in decline, and continue to “find plenty of great posts that we think are worth sharing, and those pieces seem more adventurous, stylish, erudite and varied than much of what was around a decade ago.” They also remark that “the feeling of global community has diminished,” replaced “by many active, more locally-focused sub-communities: the pub crawlers, the historians, the tasting note gang, the podcasters, the social issues crew, the jostling pros and semi-pros, the pisstakers, and so on.” In a nutshell, it’s evolved, and evolving. They conclude with this hopefulness. “[O]n balance, we see the future of blogging as being much like its past – sometimes supportive, sometimes bad-tempered, over-emotional, churning like primordial soup as blogs are born in fits of tipsy enthusiasm and die of ennui – but also more fractured, more varied, and less cosy.”
The Brew Site – The Future of Beer Blogging: Jon Abernathy, who’s been a host multiple times, continues Stan’s line of reasoning, more forcefully perhaps, that beer blogging isn’t going anywhere. A point which I actually agree with, but which I just stated less elegantly, opening the door for him to rightly school me (us) about how ubiquitous the blogging platform is, it’s just that it’s morphed into many different, sometimes unrecognizable, forms. And while in part I was referring to the traditional standalone blog of one person writing from their perspective, I take his meaning and “get his point.” As he concludes, “Beer blogging continues on.” And so it goes.
A Good Beer Blog – The King Is Dead! Long Live The King!!: Alan also points out that “beer blogging is one type of writing in a broad range of formats,” but believes “[i]t’s the only one that provides for long form creative writing on anything that strikes the author’s fancy, without concern for pay or editorial intrusion.” And I agree with him that that aspect was certainly one of its hallmarks and likewise agree that “there is a place for such things.” The simple idea of us all taking up a discussion of a single topic was, simply, genius, and has been a highlight of the last decade. Like Alan, I hope we can find something to replace it that truly gets a lot us wordy types energized and excited.
Yours For Good Fermentables – The beer blog is dead. Long live the beer blog.: Thomas provides a run down of how beer information online is changing by detailing the decision to shut down The Session and Jonathan Surrat reviving his old beer blog aggregator in a more modern form called ReadBeer. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Or as Thomas puts it, “The beer blog is dead. Long live the beer blog. Or, at least, long live the beer journal, public or private, online or pen-and-paper.”
If you know of any Session posts I missed, or if I missed yours, please drop me a note at “Jay (.) Brooks (@) gmail (.) com.” Happy Holidays.
The final Session will be hosted by the man, the myth, the legend, Stan Hieronymus at his Appellation Beer Blog. His topic will be “One More for the Road” The date for the next Session will be a day which will live in infamy, December 7, 2018, although Stan will give everybody a few more days and won’t be posting his roundup until the 12th. It’s only one more, why not help us go out with a bang and participate in the final Session?
For our 141th Session, our host will be me again, which will make sense shortly. As you may know, I write the Brookston Beer Bulletin, and have been involved in The Session since Stan Hieronymus first conceived of it in 2007. For my topic, I have chosen The Future Of Beer Blogging, which seems to be changing a lot lately, I believe, and is certainly different than it was ten years ago.
My topic is fairly broad and open-ended, but centered on what has happened to beer blogging over the almost eleven years since we started the monthly Session. Back in those dark ages of the mid-2000s, beer blogging was relatively new, and many people were jumping in, no doubt in part because of how easy and inexpensive it was to create a platform to say whatever you wanted to say. It was the Wild West, and very vibrant and engaging. You could write short or long, with or without pictures, and basically say whatever you wanted. People engaged in commenting, and whole threads of conversation ensued. It was great.
Fast forward a decade and there are many more ways that people interact online, and blogs, I think, lost their vaunted place in the discussion. Now there’s also Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other ways to communicate online. This has meant blogging, I believe, has lost its place at the top, or in the middle, or wherever it was. That’s how it feels to me, at least. I think one incident that confirmed this for me is that recently the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference changed its name to the “Beer Now Conference,” a seeming acknowledgment that the landscape has changed. They explained the decision thusly:
We love bloggers. But after many discussions with key players, we have determined our community has reached consensus that the term “bloggers” is too limiting. Blogging, after all, is just one medium used by beer writers. Even with our switch in 2015 to the name Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference, we believe we are not including those who primarily communicate on beer via podcasts, photos, and video.
So where do you think the future of beer blogging is heading? What will it look like next year, or in ten years? Will it even still be around? If not, what will replace it? People won’t stop talking about beer, analyzing it and tasting it. But how we do all of those things certainly will. That’s what I’m interested in with this topic. What do you think the future will hold? What will we all be doing, beerwise?
To participate in the November Session, simply leave a link to your session post by commenting to this announcement, or email me, ideally on or before Friday, November 9, or really anytime this month. Since this is late notice, and our second-to-last Session, take all the time you need.
Participation in The Session has been waning for quite some time now, and finding willing hosts has become harder and harder. I’ve had to cajole and beg for hosts many times, and I’m not sure why I’ve kept it up other than we’ve been doing it so long that I just kept going out of habit. But the reality is that if people don’t want to host and fewer and fewer people are actually participating I’d say that’s a pretty strong signal that the time has come to shut down the Session. So in consultation with Stan, we’ve decided that December 2018 will be the last Session. It’s been over ten years and by the time the smoke clears we’ll have done 142 Sessions, which is a pretty good run. Thanks to everybody who’s hosted and participated over the years. After this Session, there will be one more, and I could think of no more fitting host than the man who started it all, so Stan Hieronymus has agreed to be the final host to put a bookend on this grand 11-year adventure.
So by next year, The Session will be a distant memory. Now what? Is there something else we could, or should, be doing as an online community of people who write about beer through the internet? I don’t know the answer. I hate to see this end, but people’s priorities and methods of communication have been evolving so I’m not sure in what form we could keep any engagement going. But I can start a conversation. So let’s discuss. As a coda to this month’s session, please consider what we could do as a group to remotely weigh in on the beer world from time to time. Maybe the answer is nothing. But maybe it isn’t. As a bonus topic, what ideas do you have for what to do next?
Today, it’ also the 58th birthday of Knut Albert Solem from Oslo, Norway, who has one of the premiere beer blogs in Scandinavia, Knut Albert’s Beer Blog. Though I’ve never met him in person, we have corresponded a time or two through blog comments or e-mail and I certainly enjoy his perspective on beer. Join me in wishing Knut a very happy birthday.
For our 132nd Session, our host will be John Abernathy, who writes about beer at The Brew Site website. For his topic, inspired by the news that BA and AHA founder Charlie Papazian recently announced his retirment, has been thinking about homebrewing and is calling his topic Homebrewing Conversations. Essentially he’s calling for anything about “homebrewing — the good, the bad, your experiences, ideas, (mis)conceptions, or whatever else suits you, as long as it starts the conversation!”
Here are some suggestions Jon has about how you could approach the topic:
- Do you homebrew, and if so, for how long? How did you get started?
- Talk about the best beer you ever brewed at home—and your worst!
- Are you a member of a local homebrew club (or even the AHA)? Tell us about your club.
- Describe your home set up: do you brew all grain? Extract? Brew in a bag? Unusual mashing/sparging/etc. methods?
- Have you ever judged a homebrew competition? Talk about that experience.
- Are you a BJCP or other accredited beer judge? Talk about the process of becoming certified/official.
- Never homebrewed/not a homebrewer? No problem! Consider these questions:
- Do you know any homebrewers?
- Have you ever tasted someone’s home brewed beer?
- Would you ever be interested in learning how to brew? Why or why not?
So by this Friday, February 2, or thereabouts, start your homebrewing conversation. To participate in the February Session, simply leave a comment at the original announcement and leave the URL to your post there, or tag him on Twitter or on Facebook (or even Instagram) with your post, and I’ll round up all the entries early next week.
This month’s Session was last minute to say the least. I woke up the first Friday of the month, January 5, to people on Twitter asking who was hosting and what the topic of the January Session was. Which for me was a facepalm moment because in the business of the holidays I hadn’t even noticed that no one had signed up to host the Session. So I scrambled to put one together, and tried to come up with something quick and easy.
So in my announcement, I asked three simple questions that could have very short answers, or with explanations a bit longer, that I thought could be fun to ponder. Since time was short, I wanted something that people could answer without thinking too much about it, out of necessity, and just go with their gut. Many people referred to this as an “Emergency Session,” which I guess is true. Anyway, here’s what everybody had to say:
Normally, the round-up gives a short description of each person’s take on the topic, but since I posed three questions, I thought it made more sense to break the round-up into separate round-ups, so to speak.
If you want to read their full answers, and the rationale behind them, here’s who participated in the January Session:
- A Good Beer Blog
- The A Position
- Appellation Beer
- Boak & Bailey
- Brewing in a Bedsetter
- The Brew Site
- Brookston Beer Bulletin
- Brussels City Beer
- By the Barrel
- Deep Beer
- Oh Good Ale
- Ramblings of a Beer Runner
- The Would-be Brewmaster
So that’s fourteeen participants, not to shabby considering it was posted last minute, on the day it was due.
Question No. 1
For our first question of the new year, what one word, or phrase, do you think should be used to describe beer that you’d like to drink. Craft beer seems to be the most agreed upon currently used term, but many people think it’s losing its usefulness or accuracy in describing it. What should we call it, do you think?
And the answers are:
- Beer, just beer:
- Appellation Beer
- Brookston Beer Bulletin
- Ramblings of a Beer Runner
- The Would-be Brewmaster
- Classic beer:
- A Good Beer Blog
- Craft beer:
- Boak & Bailey
- Excellent Beer… Whatever the source:
- Deep Beer
- Good beer:
- The A Position
- The Brew Site
- By the Barrel
- The Good Stuff:
- Oh Good Ale
- No Answer:
- Brewing in a Bedsetter
- Worthwhile beer:
- Brussels City Beer
By and large, a majority felt a return to simply calling all beer just “beer” is the way to go, and I’m in that camp, as well. A close second, others felt “good beer” was a good (pun intended) way of marking the divide, and I have certainly used the term on numerous occasions. It avoids the politics but also conveys a certain fluid meaning that we all sort of understand.
Question No. 2
For our second question of the new year, what two breweries do you think are very underrated? Name any two places that don’t get much attention but are quietly brewing great beer day in and day out. And not just one shining example, but everything they brew should be spot on. And ideally, they have a great tap room, good food, or other stellar amenities of some kind. But for whatever reason, they’ve been mostly overlooked. Maybe 2018 should be the year they hit it big. Who are they?
And the answers are:
- Back Forty Beer Co.: The A Position
- Brewery Ommegang: Deep Beer
- Bristol Beer Factory: Boak & Bailey
- Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke: Brewing in a Bedsetter
- Burley Oak Brewing: Deep Beer
- Buxton Brewery: Brewing in a Bedsetter
- Caldera Brewing: The Brew Site
- Chuckanut Brewing: Appellation Beer, Brookston Beer Bulletin
- Corn based craft beer: A Good Beer Blog
- Dust Bowl Brewing: Ramblings of a Beer Runner
- En Stoemelings: Brussels City Beer
- Galway Bay Brewery: Brussels City Beer
- Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Alehouse: Fuggled
- Kettlesmith, or Stroud, or Cheddar Ales: Boak & Bailey
- Kobold Brewing: Ramblings of a Beer Runner
- Marble Brewery (UK): Oh Good Ale
- Moonlight Brewing (UK): Brookston Beer Bulletin
- None, most breweries are over-rated: By the Barrel
- Olde Mecklenburg Brewery: Fuggled
- Quebec breweries: A Good Beer Blog
- Rock Art Brewery: The A Position
- Smuttynose Brewing: The Would-be Brewmaster
- Summit Brewing: Appellation Beer
- Ticketybrew: Oh Good Ale
- Von Trapp Brewing: The Would-be Brewmaster
Not surprisingly, given that we’re all over the map geographically, so were the answers to this one. An interesting mix of breweries to explore.
Question No. 3
For our third question of the new year, name three kinds of beer you’d like to see more of. It’s clear hoppy beers, IPAs and all of the other hop-forward beers they’ve spawned, are here to say. There seems to be a few other styles that are popular, too, like saisons, barrel-aged beers, anything imperial and also sour beers of all kinds. But lots of other previously popular beers seem sidelined these days. What three types of beer do you think deserve more attention or at least should be more available for you to enjoy? They can be anything except IPAs, or the other extreme beers. I mean, they could be, I suppose, but I’m hoping for beers that we don’t hear much about or that fewer and fewer breweries are making. What styles should return, re-emerge or be resurrected in 2018?
And the answers are:
- Altbier: Fuggled
- Barley wine: Oh Good Ale
- Barrel-Aged: Deep Beer
- Belgian session beers: Brewing in a Bedsetter
- Belgian witbiers: The Brew Site
- Best Bitter (or English Pale Ale): Boak & Bailey (specifically Pale-n-hoppy), Fuggled, The Would-be Brewmaster
- Bocks: By the Barrel
- Dubbels (and other strong dark ale): A Good Beer Blog, Brussels City Beer
- Dunkelweizens: Brookston Beer Bulletin
- German weissbeers or hefeweizens: Appellation Beer
- Gose (authentic): Ramblings of a Beer Runner
- Imperial Stout: Boak & Bailey, Brewing in a Bedsetter
- IPAs, Classic US: Brewing in a Bedsetter
- Lagers (that taste like lagers): Appellation Beer, The Brew Site, Brussels Beer City
- Malt-forward beers, like Scottish ales, brown ales, bocks: The Brew Site, By the Barrel (bocks, at least)
- Milds: A good Beer Blog, Boak & Bailey, Brookston Beer Bulletin, By the Barrel, Fuggled, Oh Good Ale, Ramblings of a Beer Runner
- Old Ale: Oh Good Ale
- Oud Bruin: Deep Beer
- Porters: A Good Beer Blog (especially 1700s porters made with diastatic malted Battledore barley), Appellation Beer
- Quadruppels: Deep Beer
- Rye beers: Brookston Beer Bulletin
- Scotch Ales: Ramblings of a Beer Runner
- Stouts (non-imperial): The Would-be Brewmaster
- Styles not inspired by British, German, and Belgian brewing traditions: The Would-be Brewmaster
- Surprise Me: Brussels City Beer
- Vienna Lager: By the Barrel
Happy to see so many people lamenting the scarcity of Milds, but there were plenty of other kinds of beer represented, and only a single mention of anything super hoppy (which, to be fair, was from outside hoppyland USA) although the more restrained and balanced Best Bitter (or English Pale Ale) did get a few mentions.
If you know of any Session posts I missed, or if I missed yours, please drop me a note at “Jay (.) Brooks (@) gmail (.) com.” Thanks.
According to the Session calendar, the next Session still has no host. If you’d like to host February’s Session, please let me know as soon as you can. Thanks. The date for the next Session will be Groundhog Day, February 2, 2018.
For our 128th Session, our host will be Jack Perdue, who writes Deep Beer. For his topic, he’s chosen one that’s been bottled up for some time now, Bottle Shops: Good, Bad & The Ugly. So what does he mean? Well, he introduces his topic with this:
I find bottle shops interesting and would like to learn other perspectives on these places many of us purchase our favorite quaffs. We love our beer and have a variety of options in acquiring it. Some home brew, others like to visit their local pubs, beer tourism and beer destinations have become a trend, but the ever popular bottle shop is often the best and most reliable means for finding our next beer.
Of course, not all bottle shops are the same.
Jack then follows up with some ideas to consider, but reminding us these are just some suggestions, and, of course, you should feel free to choose your own, and let your imagination run wild:
- What defines a great bottle shop —selection, knowledgeable staff, location, prices, other factors
- Iconic bottle shops — Like to share your favorite shops, surprising stories of discovery
- Discovering great bottle shops — have successful methods for finding great bottle shops
- Being a great bottle shop — If you own or work in a shop, do you have tips for success or precautions against failure
- Hacking the bottle shop — secrets to getting what you want or How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Bottle shop travel preparation — do you have a reconnaissance plan when you travel for finding good beer away from home or other beer travel tips
- Other topics of bottle shop curiosity — you choose
So visit your neighborhood beer stores between now and Friday, October 7, 2017, and then report back about the good ones, the bad ones, and yes, even the ugly ones. Simply leave a comment to the original announcement and post the URL to your post there.
For our 126th Session, our host will be Gail Williams, who is one-half of the team writing Beer by BART. For her topic, she’s chosen a juicy topic: Hazy, Cloudy, Juicy: IPA’s Strange Twist. “The topic will be a still-emerging – though no longer new – unofficial beer style. This kind of beer has gotten so much buzz (and some mocking) in the last decade and a half that it’s surprising it has not come up on The Session yet. New England, Vermont-inspired, Northeastern, Hazy, Juicy or whatever you like to call these low-bitterness, hop flavorful beers, they are being made everywhere now and people are definitely buying them.”
Here’s Gail’s full description of her topic:
Any approach is welcome. Choose an idea or find your own:
- The encounter: Do you remember your first NEIPA – if so, what was that like? Details, please. And how has your perception of the style changed over time?
- Or the name game: What style name do you prefer to describe the trend … why choose that one, and why are the other names unworthy or short-sighted? Does “IPA” still apply in a way that’s helpful to drinkers?
- Or the crusade: Testify! Exactly why do you love or hate these beers? How you could explain your stance to somebody who disagrees with you. Could you/ how would you convert them to your point of view?
- Or setting standards and defining flaws: What makes a classic example of the style? What makes an IPA simply an unfiltered dry-hopped American IPA without much clarity instead of part of this style? What about the sweeter “milkshake” IPAs – part of this style definition or something else? What flaws make for weak examples of the style? Or maybe, where should the numbers be for this style – abv, ibu, color and clarity, etc.? What tasting instructions would you give to judges of these beers?
- Or take another angle, tell another tale! Have you been writing about these beers for several years now and watched them evolve? Know something cool about the making of these beers, the people behind them, their spread to the UK and Europe?
Choose any angle and make it yours – they’re just ideas to get us thinking, not a questionnaire. And if you have zero interest in such a beer, just say why in the fullest detail. Have fun with it!
To participate in the August Session, on or before Friday, August 4, 2017 — yes that’s this Friday, in just four days — write a post and either leave a comment to the original announcement, “or to get a little more buzz going, tweet your link with the hashtag #thesession or alert [her] directly @beerbybart on Twitter.”
For our 125th Session, our host will be Mark Lindner, who writes By the Barrel: Bend Beer Librarian. For his topic, he’s chosen SMaSH Beers, or single malt and single hop beers, which he was reminded of by his local Bend, Oregon, annual SMaSH Fest, part of Central Oregon Beer Week, which happened a few weekends ago. Between that, and brewing his first batch a beer — yes, it will be a SMaSH beer — he “jokingly asked [him]self if single malt and single hop beers can be considered a “thing” (trendy, etc.) until we have coffee-infused, barrel-aged, and fruit SMaSH beers. Maybe we do; [he has] not seen them yet though.”
But here’s Mark’s full description of his topc:
Here are some potential directions you could consider:
- Answer my question above. Are they trendy? When would they be considered to be trendy? Have you seen/had a variant (x-infused, fruit, …) single malt and single hop beer? More than one?
- What purpose do SMaSH beers fill? For you, personally, and/or generally.
- Do they fill a niche in any beer style space? One that matters to you? Are they a “style,” however you define that?
- Have you ever had an excellent one? As a SMaSH beer or as a beer, period.
- Do you brew them?
- Are there any styles besides pale ale/IPA that can be achieved via a single malt and single hop beer? (How about achieved versus done quite well.)
- Do they offer anything to drinkers, especially non-brewing drinkers?
I consider this to be wide open and am interested in your thoughts, whatever they are, regarding SMaSH beers. I sincerely hope this is not too limiting of a topic in the number of people who have tasted and/or brewed single malt and single hop beers.
Some resources–mostly brewing-focused, sorry–about single malt and single hop beers:
Single-Malt Brewing [All About Beer]
Brew Your Own 20/4 Jul/Aug 2014 Single Malt and Single Hop 55-64
Zymurgy 40/2 Mar/Apr 2017 Uncommon Taste of Place SMaSH recipe 35
FOR GENERAL BEER DRINKER (NON-BREWER)
I did try to find anything specifically directed more to the drinker/general consumer rather than the brewer but I could not find any. I would be interested in anything along that vein any of you have seen.
For instance, neither Mosher Tasting Beer, 2nd ed. or Alworth, The Beer Bible or Oliver, ed., The Oxford Companion to Beer have anything on SMaSH beer, although single-hopped does make an appearance in some of these.
To participate in the July Session, on or before Friday, July 7, 2017, write a post and either leave a comment to the original announcement, e-mail your post’s link to mark . r . lindner @gmail . com or tweet him at @bythebbl.