Drunken Speculation

Drunken Speculation 2013 Annual

DrunkenSpec_Logo_Portrait_WithSloganThis is the 193rd post on Drunken Speculation. Each post averages about 500 words, so ammo and I have probably written over 90,000 words this year. That’s a long fucking novel. About beer, a topic I still know very little about but infinitely more than I did twelve months ago. If I devoted this much effort to my day job, I’d probably be making six figures by now.

Nonetheless, ammo and I are both adults, to an extent. We are at least capable of admitting when we’re wrong and when you write as much as we do, with little to no research and a vague understanding of the topic at hand, mistakes are bound to happen. For example:

  • I wrongly attributed the head brewer at the Wig & Pen to being a former ANU student
  • I gave a shit-ton of praise to a beer which I later figured out was actually a diacetyl bomb
  • I thought Australian pales ales had a malt profile

I’m sure you could find a heap more mistakes, ranging from dumb to paralysing, elsewhere in our archive. Feel free to bring them to our attention. The point is that we’re not experts and we’ve never tried to pretend that we are (except on the OzPA front).

In a similar vein, I’ve been tempted to write a post about the nature of reviewing beers but it always seemed kind of wanky, so I gave it a miss and so kept giving our opinions on beer unqualified.

The thing is that reviewing a beer is a highly contextualised experience. It depends on what kind of mood you’re in, how your palate works, what your personal preferences are, if you like the brewer, if you like someone who likes the beer, where you are, what you’re expecting, how it’s served, the label and a million other factors go into making each review a reflection of that specific point in time.

We try to be somewhat objective about it. We quantify our scores on taste (out of three) and ancillaries (out of two), which represents the appearance, the mouthfeel and the aroma. We don’t take into account the marketing, the label, the style or the brewery but I’d be lying if those things never had an impact.

Sometimes we choose inappropriately harsh language (usually in an attempt to be funny), as we did in reviewing the Golden Gun Smoked Ale or the Glamarama Summer Ale, and while that might hurt someone’s feelings, we nonetheless stand by our opinions that those were some seriously shitty beers. Funnily enough, even though hundreds of people work on bringing you a can of XXXX Gold, it seems to be acceptable in beer geek circles to slag off their hard work. But we’ll try to be more constructive in future. If you’re a brewer or proprietor who feels unjustly done by and can write a short, considered and impersonal response, we’ll give you the airtime.

I apologise for waxing philosophical but it’s the end of our first year of blogging and these issues have been playing on my mind. What I really wanted to look at today, is where this blog has come from (nothing), what we’ve done (lots of stuff no one will ever read) and where we’re going (free beers!).

The past

Since Drunken Speculation’s Semi-Anniversary, we’ve:

At the time, I suggested that in the future, we would write fewer Drunken Speculations (check, we’ve only written twelve since mid-year compared to twenty-six before), change the name of the blog (it was deemed too much effort to change), tweet (check) and revise the layout/appearance of the blog, which I hope to get on to this weekend. The first step was getting the Bumblemug (courtesy of Hearsay Creative) out on various social media.

The present

I made a big deal in July about how much our traffic was growing. That was peanuts compared to now. To put it into context, it took the first two days of December to exceed all of the traffic we got in March. The traffic of the last two weeks exceeded all of May. It sounds like a lot but coming off a small base, it’s really not.

That traffic still comes from all over the world. After the English speaking nations (AUS 60%, USA 18%, UK 4.6%, NZ and CAN 2% each), the most frequent visitors come from France, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore. People arrive on the blog for all sorts of reasons: some are looking for information about XXXX (or super-porn), advice from a childless drunk on how to discipline their children, how to dress at the Story Bridge Hotel or they just want to know about Four Floors of Whores. More broadly, its mostly hits on our home page (25%), Monday Reading (10%), reviews (27.5%) and The Sessions (6%).

The average review is slightly more positive than earlier in the year with the average creeping up from 3.13 to 3.25. Added to the Drunken Speculation 5-star Hall of Fame was the 2 Brothers Magic Pudding. The most viewed reviews, which is as good a measure of interest as any, are:

  1. #30 XXXX Gold (not blessed by Billy Moore)
  2. #25 McLaren Vale Beer Company Australian Pale Ale
  3. #23 Island Brewing Vonu Pure Lager
  4. #12 Matso’s Mango Beer
  5. #31 O’Brien Gluten Free Pale Ale
  6. #20 Nøgne ø-Bridge Road Aurora Borealis
  7. #57 Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
  8. #3 Monteith’s Brewing Radler Bier
  9. #17 Lord Nelson Brewery Old Admiral
  10. #18 Golden Gun Smoked Ale

Which is interesting as only one beer since mid-year is on that list. If you’re really interested, if you sort all of the pages by hits, it forms a perfect long tail distribution. That’s probably enough stats for now.

The future

So where to from here? Drunken Speculation is:

  • Going from four posts per week to three: the workload involved in posting four times a week is too much. While I’m proud that we hit 98.5% of our self-imposed deadlines, I also recognise that we’ve got a massive back-catalogue that we can recycle next year and no one will notice. As such, the Sunday post is getting the chop. I’ll still bring you Monday Reading, there’ll be a review on either Wednesday or Friday and another post on the other day.
  • Writing about more diverse beer stuff: More posts about glassware, styles and other more out there topics (e.g. Achieving Beer Nirvana) in addition to our regulars on cooking with beer, events and pubs. If I can figure out how, I’ll also re-tool Monday Reading.
  • Getting back to homebrewing: It’s been a bit neglected since we moved offices in September but I plan to use my summer break to design a Drunkspec Brewery.
  • Learning what search engine optimisation is: I have no idea. Sounds cool though.

Thanks

Finally, thank you to anyone who’s stumbled upon this terrible abomination of a website. Double thanks to anyone who’s taken the time to read anything on here (especially this long-ass post). Triple thanks if you’re a regular Drunkspec junkie.

And infinite thanks to my co-blogger and partner, ammo, for giving me a kick up the ass to start this thing, for excellent and punctual contributions, for being a sounding-board and taking my guillotine-esque editing with relatively good humour.

Here’s to another year. Cheers.

4 comments

  1. “Finally, thank you to anyone who’s stumbled upon this terrible abomination of a website. Double thanks to anyone who’s taken the time to read anything on here (especially this long-ass post)”
    Oh, stop fishing for compliments ;).
    Don’t worry about it. You guys do good work – that’s why I’m a Drunkspec junkie. Looking forward to 2014

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