Your Beermonger: The ‘A Very Special Episode’ Column

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

I don’t know how to properly start this week’s column. I have a habit when I don’t know how to start something I’m writing — I simply start writing and see if something comes to me. There’s every chance in the world you’ll never see these words because in a few minutes I’ll know exactly the right phrase or joke to start this column off with, and I’ll simply cut this whole paragraph out and replace it.

Then again, maybe not.

This is my last “Your Beermonger” column for The column was sponsored content as part of Arrowine’s promotional relationship with this website, and that relationship is drawing to a close. It’s an amicable parting — simply a case of it being time to move on, and I don’t believe I’ll be speaking out of place when I say on behalf of Arrowine that it’s been a pleasure to work with Personally I’d like to thank Scott Brodbeck and Ethan Rothstein for their responsiveness, dedication, and enthusiastic help as this column became a bit of a thing.

You guys — the column became a bit of a thing. Originally, I wasn’t supposed to be here at all; Arrowine owner Doug Rosen penned the first pieces that ran in this space, which was meant to be all about wine. When the business of running one store while working to open another piled up, I was asked to fill in for a couple weeks to talk about beer. The response from you, the readers, made me a fixture in this space every Friday. Opening the column to comments (which I’d been asking for before you guys started asking for it on the forums, believe it or not) started a wonderful running conversation that I’ve appreciated more than you know, and I found myself being told more and more from Arrowine visitors how much they enjoyed it, too.

Many of you who have met me and mentioned the column have heard me say how odd a feeling that recognition is; that I write the column assuming no one will ever read it. I never quite got used to it, but I do want to thank all of you who took a moment to let me know you’d read or been reading Your Beermonger — it’s a simple but powerful thing, and I’ve greatly appreciated it.

I’ve appreciated every interaction in the comments — even the ones from folks who disagreed or outright disliked something I had to say. Writing about beer and having these conversations in the comments week after week has made me continually re-evaluate what matters to me when it comes to beer, and most importantly why. All of you have made me a better beermonger through this process. Thank you.

The first year or so of this column was dedicated to a specific purpose: what do I wish someone had told me when I was first entering the beer world? What were the basics, and what preconceived notions should I rid myself of? From there, we explored various beers of course, but also the breweries and places where these beers are made and enjoyed. On my way out, I’d like to give you some more information: often I’m asked who I read when I’m reading about beer. Here’s a shortlist:

The indispensible Tom Cizauskas of Your For Good Fermentables is a stalwart of our area’s beer industry, a respected beer professional, and a damn good writer to boot. He takes a look at beer issues both local and national.

Our area’s growing beer scene can be tough to keep pace with. Two must-reads are the outstanding, and Virginia Beer Trail.

BeerPulse is still the go-to source for beer industry news, but I’ve enjoyed the newer Craft Brewing Business for its well-reported deep reads on this sometimes-insane industry.

Aside from Tom Cizauskas, there are only three beer writers/bloggers who I keep on my Feedly so I don’t miss anything they write: Pete Brown, The Barley Blog (whose taste run fairly close to my own, and when they don’t there’s always a reasoned explanation for it), and Will Gordon (currently featured on Deadspin). It’s easy to dismiss Gordon’s occasionally “hot take” approach to the beer world, but he’s often dead-on, and even when you disagree with him he’s too much fun to read to not enjoy.

I should also mention Bryan Roth’s This Is Why I’m Drunk and Chris O’Leary’s Brew York. Both sites have entered “must-read” status for me recently, and both feature some of the smartest analysis and most reasoned opinions to be found on the beer-related Internet.

I never figured out how to start this column, and I’m not really sure how to end it, either. For those wondering where I’m going — well, I’m not really going anywhere: I’ll be at Arrowine of course, and I’ll take one more opportunity here on to encourage you to swing by and say hello. I’m now kind of in the habit of writing weekly pieces on beer, so expect to see me popping up on my own Beermonger blog more regularly (I have two pieces in the works right now that I should have up soon). I’ll also probably drop in here and there to comment on property values in Arlington, or on especially “interesting” crime reports.

In the meantime, I’m organizing the “ARLnow columns” folder in my laptop. Three years, 149 columns (including this one), and I was only supposed to be filling in. There they all are, in folders compiling the columns from each year (there were only two for 2011, but there’s an “ARLnow 2011” folder). I made an “ARLnow 2015” folder, just because, just for this one piece. Preservation Arlington remembers when we didn’t talk about beer so much; everything old is new again. It’s been fun, everybody.

Until next time (sorry, force of habit).

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money-saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

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