The idea for the Springfield Beer Review web site originated with a festival. A beer festival, of course. Saturday, the twenty-fifth of June, 2001, was the second day of the 5th annual Old Dominion Beer Fest (held in Ashburn, Virginia). Having attended the 3rd and 4th Beer Fests, I anxiously awaited my shot at the 5th. I recalled, however, that after the prior festivals were over, I had a difficult time remembering the beers that I had really liked (and, no -- this had nothing to do with all of the 'sampling' I had done each day...). I wanted to be able to recall these brews when next I sought a good beer (for the weekend or whenever). What to do, though? What else? I determined that for this year's festival, I (Brewmeister G) would diligently take notes on the brews I tried. Who made the beer? What was its name? What did I think of it? At the time, I was not thinking of writing a full-scale review for each beer -- just a few simple notes to guide me on future visits to the beer section of the local grocery store (or neighborhood beverage outlet). Five hours and thirteen samples (6 oz each) later, I had my notes.
A couple of friends who had made the trek out to Old Dominion that day requested that I write up and distribute a formal report on these beers I had tried. Having had some prior HTML knowledge (and having been looking for a good web page idea), I decided to post my beer reviews on the web for all to see, friends and strangers alike. The more I thought about the concept for the page, the more ideas and potential characteristics that came to mind. The result is here before you. I typed in the first code on July 7, 2001, with my reward a trip that night out to Old Dominion for 32 oz of good, microbrewed beer (eight (different) 4 oz samples). The first reviews were posted and the SBR was on its merry way!
My original intent was for the SBR staff to review any beer we could get our hands on (macro or micro brewed, domestic or import, specialty brew or not-so-special standard Joe Beer). Shortly after the onset of this page, Dopplebock -- one of several guest reviewers for the SBR -- suggested that I "should focus on obscure, microbreweries, or imports," a suggestion I heartily agree with! There are many other sites out there which have reviewed the common brews of America (the Buds, the Coors, the Millers). The Springfield Beer Review will set itself apart from these repositories of the ordinary, focusing on the harder-to-find brews. Ones you might have to expend a little (or a lot of) effort to track down. Beers you can then appreciate all the more for having had to go that extra mile to enjoy them. Beers that will mean something to you. Beers that will linger with you -- not like a viral infection or a bad meal lingers, but like a pleasant memory lingers.
The staff of the SBR (at this time, July 24, 2001) resides in the Washington DC metro area - predominantly in Northern Virginia. Thus, while we will select beers from across the country (indeed, the world!), our list of reviewed beers will no doubt reflect the region where we work, play, and drink. This is not a bad thing, however, as the region boasts an impressive list of microbrewers. For the out-of-the-area beers, we are fortunate in that the metro area boasts several businesses which carry a great selection of brews. Bars and restaurants will also be patronized in search of new fermented beverages to share with you, our loyal internet visitors. No sacrifice will be too great - our hearts and livers are in this all the way!
So sit back. Relax (with a beer in one hand and the mouse in the other, of course) and let the staff of the SBR open their tasting notes for your reading pleasure. These reviews reflect what that particular reviewer thought of that particular beer. You may agree whole-heartedly! You may disagree whole-heartedly! However, we sincerely hope that you do (whole-heartedly) Enjoy!
July 24, 2001
SBR Update Log (Started 01 Dec 01)
01 December 2001
Added eleven new beers and two new reviews of already-reviewed brews.
05 January 2002
In an unexpected coincidence, I also happened to add eleven new beers and two new reviews of already-reviewed brews. Honest -- I didn't plan it this way! Also, discovered the Redhook Hefe-Weizen review wasn't on the main page (just with the wheat beers). Now it is....
21 January 2002
Added seven new beers. In doing so, the SBR has broken the 100 beer mark! Whoo-hoo!
24 January 2002
A fellow surfing the site pointed out earlier this week that it seemed odd that a beer site would have an ad for a magazine aimed at young girls on top of the page. Good point! I tried to track down a solution, but it all comes down to this: I can't control what gets advertised. I can't even pick a group of topics that ads'll be chosen from. Bummer. And so, there you have it. It certainly is an odd juxtapositioning, no?
28 February 2002
Finished adding twenty-four new beers and two reviews of previously-reviewed beers. These reviews were added over the past week or two.
24 March 2002
Finished adding ten new beers. I've got a bunch more to post, but I haven't gotten around to posting 'em yet....
06 April 2002
Added twenty-three new beers. I've had 'em sitting here for a bit and finally got 'em posted.
12 April 2002
Added one new review (of a previouly-tried beer). Also, did a lot of revision to how the site is structured (added graphics, a table on the main page, a new reviews page, etc). This included merging the 'beer information' and 'breweries & microbreweries' pages into one 'links' page.
13 April 2002
Went with The King and Growler Guy to Rock Bottom in Ballston. Tried 6 beers and got to talk to several actual brewers.
18 April 2002
Went with Growler Guy to Rock Bottom Bethesda for the tapping of their new Rye Beer. Mmmmm! Between dinner at a nearby restaurant and the beers at Rock Bottom, I grabbed nine reviews. Before we left for the tasting, I added four new beers to the site. Also, added an 'Other Styles' page, to try and capture all those 'not-quite-ales'. For starters, it has a lambic and a mead listed.
29 April 2002
Received two more reviews of Triumph beers from Dopplebock.
04 May 2002
Grabbed three reviews in State College, PA, while in town for the NCAA men's volleyball Final Four.
10 - 26 May 2002
Reviewed 26 different beers. Mmmmm! Need to get off my bum and post all of these, though. Sorry!
01 June 2002
Attended the second 1st Saturday Celebration at Old Dominion with The King and friends. Met OD President Jerry Bailey and tried five beers. A good time was had by all! Reviews unposted as of 01 July.
12 June 2002
Added fifteen new beers. I've had 'em sitting here for a bit and finally got 'em posted. Also, added a 'Cask-Conditioned Beers' page.
18 June 2002
Visited the Old Dominion Brewpub with Growler Guy for a taste of their new 10,000 Maniacs Tripel. A little snafu resulted in our missing the official tasting, but we were able to sit down for quite a while with head brewmaster Kenny Allen. Kudos to him for answering many a question! Got 4 reviews total, plus some of their Spring Brew for later....
25 June 2002
The Springfield Beer Review is one year old today! Cheers!.
28 June 2002
Posted three reviews, to go with the five I had posted a few days ago. Added a page for tripels too. I'm gradually getting to these things, folks.
01 July 2002
While I was buying some more brews today, I actually met someone who said he had 'stumbled across our site'. Cool! The word IS getting out! Got inspired and posted several more reviews.
22 July 2002
Finally got things going again. Posted 14 reviews of 13 new beers (one beer had been done by two reviewers).
22 August 2002
Re-did main page and reviewer pages using some way-cool graphics provided very kindly by Spark. 'Cheers!' to Spark! Posted 5 reviews by Biermeister Rudolph, 5 by Growler Guy, and 4 by Dopplebock.
25 August 2002
Catching up a little on my review backlog. Posted 10 new reviews - 8 new beers, 2 re-reviews.
25 August 2002
Still more catching up. Posted 10 new reviews - 9 new beers, 1 re-review.
31 August 2002
Attended a get-together thrown by Biermeister Rudolph. Dopplebock, Mad Boris, and Mr. Blutarsky made appearances as well. A good time was had by all! Reviewed several brews -- will post 'em later.
03 September 2002
I'm getting close to caught up, folks -- thanks for your patience! Posted 12 new reviews - 10 new beers, 2 re-reviews. Also, corrected pages and counts regarding 'Sweet Water Pale Ale', as this is actually Snake River Pale Ale. It had been mistakenly listed twice.
10 September 2002
Posted 11 new reviews - 9 new beers, 2 re-reviews.
22 November 2002
After a bit of a break, I finally got around to posting 13 new reviews - 12 new beers, 1 re-review. Guess what? I still have 27 other reviews to post! And it's Christmas/Holiday beer time! Yeah!
23 November 2002
Wow! Two days in a row! Added one re-review and fixed the links on all the Old Dominion brews (they recently re-did their web page, making all the direct links for each of their beers into dead links). Also, re-did fourteen of our original reviews, placing them into the updated review format/template.
27 November 2002
Re-did eleven of our original reviews, placing them into the updated review format/template.
21 January 2003
Re-did fourteen of our original reviews, placing them into the updated review format/template.
30 January 2003
Posted 5 new reviews - 3 new beers (one with two reviews), 1 re-review.
04 February 2003
Posted 8 new reviews - 5 new beers , 3 re-reviews.
13 March 2003
Posted 5 new reviews (all of new beers).
27 September 2003
After a hiatus of over 6 months, the SBR has (finally) been updated! Somewhat. *ahem* Posted 9 new reviews (all of new beers). This updates the beers reviewed through November 2002 -- there are over 75 new reviews to be posted covering the time since last November. I'll try to get to them when I can. Thanks to Claire Templeton of European Foods Wholesalers for the Moretti brewery link!
For more information about the SBR, please contact Brewmeister G. All fermented contributions are cheerfully accepted.
The Springfield Beer Review's Site History page has had happy visitors since the idea for it was first brewed up!