Feb 28, 2020
I probably sit with our blog, Beer is Offal, more than anything I interact with on Good Beer Hunting. Not only is it something we produce totally in house—all the artwork comes through us and it’s written by a member of the GBH team, Mark Spence—but it’s also the only series we’ve captured entirely on audio. Mark has read every single one of his blog entries on our Out Loud series, where we record our favorite stories for our audience, and there’s a reason for that—Beer is Offal is special.
Beer is Offal is a food blog. That’s a simple way to put it. But that doesn’t capture all of it. It’s full of feelings, rants, brutal honesty, sometimes curveballs, and always this feeling of authenticity that I think is really interesting in the context of food writing. As Mark and I discuss in this episode, Beer is Offal is deeply personal—you get to know a lot about him pretty quickly—but it differs from most food writing in that it’s not a series of recipes, it’s not about someone trying to learn a new cuisine or venturing into traditions and styles of cooking that aren’t part of their background. It stays so close to the chest, and in that way, the lessons and ideas Mark talks about become wonderfully universal and relatable. It’s sort of remarkable how he makes that happen.
I sat down with Mark and talked about what it means to write about things happening to you right now—in real time. Beer is Offal isn’t just a collection of lessons learned, but is very much about things going on in Mark’s life, and his attempts to slowly acknowledge and work through them. Mark is admittedly not a very “emotional” person—as he says himself, he’s much more likely to be the guy in the corner of the room sticking close to his friends. So what does it take for someone like him to put all his stuff out there? How does he transform into, as he calls it, “a food and feelings writer?” Let’s find out.
Here’s Mark Spence. Listen in.