Nov 19, 2019
Welcome to the Good Beer Hunting Collective podcast, the show where members of our team interview each other to get the behind-the-scenes look at some of our favorite articles. I’m Claire Bullen, and I’m the Editor-in-Chief at Good Beer Hunting.
One of the greatest pleasures of my job is fielding pitches that our writers send in, which range from the bold to the brilliant to the baffling. Recently, GBH staff writer Jonny Garrett sent in an idea that was a mix of all three; as soon as it came into my inbox, I remember thinking—“this is something we have to publish.” That pitch evolved into his recent piece, “TL;DR – Tracing the Origins of Beer Language, from Michael Jackson to Emojis,” which is part of our Mother of Invention series, underwritten by Guinness.
With this article, Jonny set himself an almost impossibly expansive task: examine the history and evolution of modern beer writing, from the groundbreaking author and beer personality Michael Jackson, who helped codify a formal language around beer in the ’70s and ’80s, all the way up to today’s frenzy of Twitter timelines, Instagram captions, and Untappd reviews. As the article’s title suggests, Jonny even digs into the role that emojis play in beer writing.
In researching his article, Jonny spoke to linguists and delved into the history books. He also examined how wine-tasting notes came to be, talked to one of Beer Twitter’s most infamous wordsmiths, and spent more than a little time scrolling through his various social media feeds. The result is an up-to-the-minute piece with a unique, metacritical scope. In the space of just a few thousand words, he manages to touch on everything from the debate around the term “craft beer” and the way that specialized vocabulary functions within niche communities to “crispy bois” and dank memes.
It’s a remarkable piece of writing, and it may well change the way you think about and describe beer forever. If you haven’t yet read his article, you can find that on GoodBeerHunting.com. For now, tune in and listen as Jonny describes how the idea for this article first came about.