It’s award season in our beloved scene. The annual Brewer’s Guild of New Zealand Awards are less than a month away – and with many brewers already
complaining voicing concern about the ceremony’s change in both location (Auckland, rather than the usual Wellington) and timing (mid-September, rather than the Thursday night warning shot across Beervana’s bow), the build-up certainly feels normal for an awards-thingy.
(I for one welcome the shift: change is as good as a holiday, after all – and we all need to occasionally jump over to the Other Side to prove that the grass is, in fact, an identical shade of green.)
One of the awards up for grabs is the coveted Beer Writer of the Year award – and for shits and/or giggles, I’ve decided to throw my name in the hat. (Or hat in the ring; whichever works.) Each contender is asked to make their case as to why they should be crowned the champion; and after a gentle nudge from an interested party (thanks Luke), I’ve decided to share my entry with the group. Call it transparency, or just plain-old blogging efficiency: regardless, prepare yourself for the worst application you’ll ever read…
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Brewers Guild of New Zealand
PO Box 37017
To Whom It May Concern,
Re: Application for BGNZ Beer Writer of the Year 2015
My name is Jason Gurney, and I’m the author of the BrewHui.com blog. I’d like to throw my name into the hat (so to speak), and be considered for the 2015 Brewer’s Guild of New Zealand Beer Writer of the Year.
As I’m quite certain you will receive many high-quality entries – ripe as our scene is with talented scribes – I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a Pros and Cons list for your consideration. I’ve tried to be as honest as possible when preparing this list, and to avoid any bias toward positivity; but whether I’ve successfully achieved any semblance of balance is debatable.
- The ‘project’ nature of the Brew Hui Blog. The Brew Hui Blog project – which ran from January to December 2014 – was a purposeful document of my foray into home brewing, culminating with my entry into the SOBA National Homebrew Competition. Many of my six regular readers (my Mum and Luke Nicholas included) have commented that they enjoyed the structure of the project, as it made them feel as if they were co-pilots – along for the somewhat-bumpy ride.
- The piece exploring the disjoint between my day-job and passion for beer. Snappily-entitled ‘Hypocrisy Now?’ (http://wp.me/p4exYL-f6), this piece touched a nerve with both the author and readers alike. As a public health researcher, I increasingly find myself being asked how I reconcile my scientific objectivity with my passionate enthusiasm for a known carcinogen; now when I’m asked about this disconnect, I just refer the inquirer to this piece. If nothing else, it’s been a great time-saver.
- The piece that deals with my abysmal showing at the National Homebrew Competition. At the outset of the Brew Hui Blog project – when I set the course for the road ahead – I jokingly suggested that a shithouse performance on my part at the SOBA National Homebrew Competition would make for great blog-fodder. I was right. This piece – entitled ‘Taking It On The Chin’ (http://wp.me/p4exYL-bw) – explores the agonising process of peer review, and how best to navigate your way through it.
- I have no palate, nor ability to describe what I taste. One of the criticisms my writing has received in recent years is that I am unable to adequately describe a beer’s flavour, beyond the use of generic terms such as ‘fruity’ (which I use to describe anything that could be considered hoppy), ‘chocolatey’ (any dark beer) or ‘funky’ (anything that has the word ‘Belgian’ on the label). I entirely agree with this criticism. My ability to regurgitate adjectives from a thesaurus based on the almost-entirely-subjective process of tasting something needs serious work.
- I don’t really write about beer. This is possibly my biggest downfall, given the award I’m applying for – since although I write under the banner of beer, the things that I write are rarely about beer at all. The Beer Money Blog – from back in 2013 – was really about self-improvement; and the Brew Hui project was less about home brewing as it was about people, love and connectedness. A beer writer should really stay away from such epic themes, and stick to criticising small breweries for their inevitable consistency issues.
- I am not in a position to benefit from a BGNZ gong. As a full-time academic, my foray into beer writing is purely a diversion; a creative outlet that soothes my soul. In other words, I do these beer writing projects not because I’m obliged to, but because it makes me happy. (And also because I get to repetitively use the word f**k without fear of losing my job.) Without an ounce of irony, I genuinely believe that the BGNZ Beer Writer of the Year should really be someone who is able to: a) benefit from the award professionally, and/or b) promote our much-loved ‘scene’ via an adequately-sized platform. My professional position grants me neither opportunity.
So there you have it – the Pros and Cons of making me your BGNZ Beer Writer of the Year for 2015. Having taken the time to jot these down, I now see that on-balance the Cons appear to outweigh the Pros; which means that this tactic has backfired rather catastrophically.