Sep 25, 2014

How Craft Beer Helped Save Me From Becoming An Alcoholic

Reposted from 2012.

I've toyed with the idea of writing this post for many, many months.  What it reveals is personal, but ultimately freeing and hopefully helpful.  Alcoholism runs in my family, as it does in millions of other families in America.  It's a terrible thing.  It's a disease.  It ruins lives.  It tears families apart.  It can kill and it had its sights set on me. 

I'm not here to say I beat alcoholism.  I don't believe I was an alcoholic...yet, but I was showing all the classic signs.  I was drinking to excess, and unaware of my limits.  I was missing events in my life because of hangovers.  I embarrassed myself and my family on occasion.  I had what's called a "drinking problem" or was a "binge drinker".  Regardless, I was headed down an rocky road.

When socializing in large groups or in party situations I'd grab the macro beer that "tasted great" or was "less filling"; the one everyone else was drinking.  Then I'd grab another.  And another, and another.  Soon, I had consumed enough of the yellow fizzy stuff to drown a brown bear.  Don't ask me why I drank so much.  I couldn't tell you.  I don't know why I blew right past my limit without so much as a hesitation.  It never even occurred to me to slow down or stop.  

The stuff tasted damn nearly like water.  I wasn't appreciating the beer at all.  I was enjoying how fourteen or more yellow fizzies made me feel, and I'm ashamed to admit that I did this much more often than any adult should.  It seems that alcohol has a way of altering my decision making skills.

Then about four years ago, give or take, I really started delving into and exploring craft beer.  I went back to picking up a six pack of anything I hadn't tasted before to share with family and friends.  I began to appreciate what I was drinking.  I began to really TASTE it.  Think about it.  Talk about it.  Read about it.  ENJOY it.  I slowed down to smell the roses (or hops in this case).

In craft beer I found a sort of salvation, both literally and figuratively.  Now I drink beer in moderation.  I appreciate it.  I don't swill it.  I sip it.  I don't punch holes in cans.  I collect fine, tuliped glassware.  

Craft beer taught me to appreciate the science and art of brewing beer.  Craft beer taught me to enjoy the little things like differences in hops, malts and yeasts.  More importantly, craft beer taught me some things in life are worth slowing down for and how to take the time to appreciate those things.  My drinking and my life are in check now, and I credit craft beer with that.

I urge you to not waste another day of your life or a dollar of your paycheck on bad beer.  Find craft beer.  Embrace craft beer.  Enjoy craft beer.  In moderation, of course.  

It's time to take control.  You can do it, but if you think you may need help, don't be ashamed.  There are lots of places to turn.  Life is simply too precious not to seek a lending hand...whatever form it may take.

Alcoholics Anonymous

The Mayo Clinic

#craftbeer #brewsader

Sep 7, 2014

New Look Coming Soon!

An all new Beer Is My Church is coming this Fall / Winter!  New logo.  New content.  New.  New.  New.  Stay tuned as we gear up for our relaunch!

In the meantime, sit back, crack a craft beer and smile smugly and enjoy being a brewsader!

Jun 5, 2014

Touching Base With All Craft Beer Brewsaders

Hey all!  I just wanted to drop in and remind myself that this blog exists.  I should spend more time collecting my thoughts and committing them to the interwebs.  I've met so many great people, had numerous, deep conversations and drunk countless craft beers over the last few months!

As summer approaches I hope to be able to focus more on this page and less on all the non-beer-related nonsense in life.  So check back more often and I'll work on making a more interesting and engaging place to visit.

In the meantime, be sure to interact with me on Twitter.  The world can always use another craft beer #brewsader!

Thanks for stopping in!  We'll be 'talking' soon.


Mar 19, 2014

It's Coming...9th Annual Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival!

Beer.  Music. Friends...old & new.  It's that time of the year!  The Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival is fast approaching. With three sessions scheduled over Friday, April 4th and Saturday, April 5th, at the Atlantic City Convention Center...this year's offering is bound satisfy your taste buds and your ears!

Saves The Day, The Dirty Heads, Less Than Jake.   That's your soundtrack.  Your LIVE, craft-beer-drinking soundtrack!

The two-day festival has seen incredible growth since debuting in 2006 and this year looks to be another record breaker.  20,000+ attendees, 125+ breweries, 450+ beers!  If you haven't been to one yet, make this the year and help turn the ACC into "The Celebration of The Suds"!  Get your tickets HERE!

So what craft beer can you expect to sample while listening to some kick-ass music and noshing on some tasty bites?  Oh, just the biggest names in beer like: 21st Amendment, Avery, Ballast Point, Brooklyn Brewery, Dogfish Head, DuClaw, Firestone, Green Flash, Keegan Ales, Lagunitas. Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Stone Brewing...and popular LOCAL favorites like:  


These and MANY more breweries will be pouring some of the best craft beer on the planet!

See the press release below for more info and get your tickets HERE now!


The 9th Annual Atlantic City Beer Festival gears up for April 
The Celebration of the Suds, better known as “The Atlantic 
City Beer Fest” presented by 100.7 WZXL, returns to The 
Atlantic City Convention Center for the 9th straight year on 
April 4th & 5th. The 2014 event will be an amazing experience 
in taste, as electrifying musical guests set the sound track to 
savor brews from all over the planet. In 2014, Atlantic City, 
New Jersey is the destination to discover beer, music, and 
much more! 

Over 150 different breweries from across the country will 
showcase their unique libations. The focus of The Atlantic City 
Beer and Music Festival is the promotion and education of 
craft beers and a celebration of the brewers that create them. 
This event is the perfect opportunity for beer aficionados, 
beer lovers and the casual beer drinker to speak to company 
representatives and brewers responsible for some of their 
favorite brews. This is the one true opportunity to discover 
and taste new brews and special “limited release” beers and 

Every year festival organizers review the event and look to further enhance the beer lover’s experience and make each year better than the last. Now in its 9th year, the festival has easily become one of the country’s largest gatherings of all things beer. For 2014 festival producers will bring in musical headliners, Saves the Day, Dirty Heads and Less than Jake to anchor the weekend’s line up, and further highlight each session. Already one of Atlantic City’s most anticipated events of the year, the 2014 festival will have the perfect soundtrack to enjoy great brews, great tunes and thousands of great people! All bands and performers will be featured on the event web site under the heading sounds. 

The 2014 Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival will also feature culinary demonstrations from prominent area chefs; beer seminars hosted by well-known personalities/brewers and some “off the wall” activities.  Additionally, festival exhibitors will offer great food and some unique beer-related apparel and goods. This year’s festival will appeal to absolutely everyone. 

The festival offers a “Designated Driver” ticket price of $15, available at the door, to encourage attendee responsibility and usage of Atlantic City’s many transportation options, including jitneys and cabs. New Jersey Transit’s Atlantic City Line train arrives right inside the Atlantic City Convention Center and NJ Transit officials report that Beer Fest weekend marks the highest single day ridership numbers all year long. (See for a train schedule) This is one of the reasons why the Atlantic City Convention Center makes for the perfect home of “The Celebration of The Suds.”

Mar 14, 2014

#CraftBeer On Instagram

Like pictures on Instagram?
Like beer?
Follow me for your fix of both!

If you're not on Instagram, why not give it a try?  Might make you thirsty?  That's a legitimate concern.

If you are on Instagram and post lots of beer pics, be sure to tag them with #brewsader!


Feb 11, 2014

Dearest Beer Store, I Am Not A Child

If there's something that's been increasing over the years, it's craft brewers releasing more and more "limited" offerings.  The most coveted of which, at least in my area, has been Founders Brewing's vaunted annual release of KBS, their Kentucky Breakfast Stout.  There were stories during the 2013 release that the local distributor had to disguise their trucks, change their routes and make deliveries at odd times to throw off the the scent of nagging beer hunters.  How much of that is fact and how much is urban legend, I don't know...and I'm not sure I want to know.

Mention that level of hype and anticipation in front of a craft beer retailer and you're likely to get one of two reactions.  1) Yawn or  2) More hyperbole.  It's the second response that seems most prevalent lately and behind the perpetuation of many retailers' behavior that has gotten my panties all in a bunch.

How many times have you walked into your local, or worse yet a distant, beer store to 'hunt' for that elusive brew?  The latest limited release from your favorite craft brewer is due on shelves today.  You've driven all over your state, certain you were going to find that beer.  You just knew it, but you walked out of every store empty handed.  Why?

Well, the dirty little secret (if you didn't know already) is that many retailers never put that beer on the shelf.  It was kept "in the back" or "behind the counter".  You had to ask for it.  Not only that, you had to ask the right person for it.  The reasons I've been given for this practice are as varied as the colors of the rainbow.  None of which hold much water with me.

"We want to make sure it gets in the hands of true beer lovers."

"We don't want just anyone being able to buy this beer."

"We got a very limited supply and didn't want to move current stock off the shelf to make room for it."

"If you're not on the list you can't have a bottle."

"The beer manager says he's not selling any yet."

And so on, and so on.

These are all things I've heard said to others or have been told myself.

There's nothing I loathe more than having to find an employee, who refers me to the "beer manager", who I then have to ask if a particular beer is "in the back".  Why?  In what other retail situation am I begging to buy a product, hoping I pass muster?  Or live up to whatever standard you've set for someone worthy enough to buy this beer?

Have I been a victim of this practice?  Yes.  Often, and especially earlier in my beer hunting career.  Have I benefited from knowing what to ask for and who to ask?  Absolutely.  That doesn't make me feel any better, though.  I think equal, open access makes the most sense.

So...dearest beer retailer, please don't treat us like children.  We're not.  We're more and more sophisticated and educated than ever before.  We love beer.  Not games.  Don't keep the "good stuff" locked in your cabinets and out of our sight and reach.  Put it on the shelf.  Maybe in a special section if that makes you feel better.  Impose buying limits if you like (and most of you do).  That all seems reasonable to me.  But STOP making me beg for beer.  It's embarrassing...and it doesn't make you cool.

I've decided I won't chase beer or employees anymore.  I'm frequenting those stores less and less often, but if I find a "rare" one on the shelf, great!  If I don't, oh well.  I guess it went to someone more "worthy", and I guess either way they're making their buck.  So I won't expect any change anytime soon.


Jan 28, 2014

The BIMC Store is Now Open!

Open for!

SHOP now!

One glass.

One coaster.

One koozie.

One t-shirt.

Taking pre-orders for mid-Feb shipping.

Stay tuned for more and order up some goodies while you wait!


- Zach

Jan 7, 2014

Not All Stouts Are Created Equal

I've been drinking beer, legally, for 21 years or so now, but I may have been known to break a law or two before that.  I was the smart-ass kid who arrived at the party with a sixer of Pete's Wicked Ale or whichever Yuengling I could get my hands on.  Unfortunately, all anybody wanted to drink was Natty Light or maybe Rolling Rock ponies if they were feeling especially sophisticated that night.  Needless to say, I drank a lot of "craft beer" by myself for many years.  Admittedly, I wasn't lighting the world on fire with the craftiness of my beers, but they were a far cry from the omnipresent "fizzy yellow" stuff I couldn't stand at even such a young age.

The college years brought on an appreciation for the frugality of Miller Lite.  The finances simply didn't exist for anything else.  As a college student in central Pennsylvania, everything I bought was by the case, typically warm & very cheap.  It was a requirement.  Legally and financially.

After my college years, I returned home to New Jersey and dove back into seeking out beers other than macro light lagers I suffered through at school...and there was some real suffering.  It was also around this time that I started to appreciate stouts.  The problem was that I had next to no success finding any craft stouts or porters near home.  Almost all of my craft beer choices were IPAs or pale ales, when they could be found at all.

So...I turned to Guinness.  Nay, I fell in love with Guinness.  We had a s short, torrid affair in the mid-to-late 90s.  It was all I drank for a good amount of time.  I turned lots of macro-lager-drinking friends onto this "darker" alternative.  This group of people included my girlfriend's father, who became as hypnotized by the stuff as I was.

Then, as quickly as it started, it was over.  I was totally over it.  I found it bland, uninspired and nearly tasteless.  So I moved onto the, then more easily found, craft stouts that began to pop up on my local shelves, leaving behind so many of my Guinness-converted friends and family behind.

THIS is a big jump.  Not one to be taken lightly, and as I've discovered, not one that can be taken by everybody.

If you're reading this, you likely realize the HUGE difference between craft stouts/porters and Guinness Stout.  Huge.  Did I mention there's a big difference?  Flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, carbonation, ABV, etc., etc.  Just about everything you like about Guinness Stout doesn't exist in the majority of today's craft stouts.  I'm not implying that's a bad thing either.  Each has its place.

As I made the conversion to a craft-beer-exclusive diet, I tried like crazy to convert others with me.  I continue to do so with varying degrees of success (not for lack of trying), but there was one bothersome holdout, one that remains on the 'dark side' despite my best efforts.  My girlfriend's father, to whom I introduced Guinness years earlier, still claims to be a stout lover, but has yet to enjoy a single craft beer stout I've brought him.  He may be my father-in-law now, but that's the only thing that has changed over the years.

This begs the question, 'is he really a stout lover'?  If he likes only one specific stout, I suggest he's really just a Guinness lover.  Every time we go out he'll ask what stouts they have on tap and eventually just order a Guinness.  It's hard for me to admit defeat.  It's hard for me to give up on him.  Should I break it to him that he's not really a stout lover, rather just a Guinness-man?  I guess being a stout lover doesn't necessarily make you a stout lover.  Clearly, not all stouts are created equal.