Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I remember trying to start the car, thinking to myself. “I’m ok, wow. Fuck. I’m ok, now I need to leave.” I was in total shock, my car was facing the wrong direction, over the curb against a telephone pole, every airbag was deployed, and I still tried to turn the car on again…

That’s fucked up.

That night I could have killed somebody, or myself. Thankfully it was late/cold/icy and nobody was out on the roads…but I can’t help but think of what if? This was far from the first time I drove when I should not have. I made a terrible decision that will haunt me forever, and I barely remember making it. Just another night in a long string of “barely remembers” in my adult life. I used to call it “lost the time” but it is nothing more than “blackout drunk” and I was really fucking awesome at it. It was fun, it was “Dan being Dan,” and it’s over now, forever. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about that night after the National Championship. 

Today, I reflect on 1 year of continuous sobriety from “booze and brews” and look forward to a future without alcohol, because I am a much better version of me without it. “Sober Dan” is still finding his way, and it’s not always easy (especially if dancing is on the agenda) but I’m much happier. I’m stronger, I’m more confident, and I’m taking care of myself.

In hindsight, I knew that drinking could be a problem for me. I didn’t have a drop until I was 22 because I was terrified of ending up like my mom who had a terrible problem with drinking, and others in and around my family. I’m a collector, and have an addictive “all-in” personality. I eventually told myself I can handle it, and the rest is history. I can’t, I didn’t, and I won’t have to worry about it anymore.

If you are close to me (or not?), and very few of you are, then you likely have a story or 10 about me. For better or worse I suppose. It wasn’t all bad, I can still laugh about some of them. However, there are far too many. I made a lot of “friends” and connections through the community of craftbeer enthusiasts, I’m thankful that some of those have endured at least in part through this past year. Trying to find common ground among people is hard for me, and drinking is such an accepted behavior in our culture. It’s truly the norm, and I’m the odd one out now.

Over the last several years there were many factors that elevated my drinking to new heights, and it became my way out of my head. When I couldn’t handle my shit I drank, when I felt sad I drank, when I felt great, I drank….etc. So long as I could forget what was happening, I drank. I destroyed relationships, I ruined my marriage, I lost friends when I had/have so few, and I nearly lost my job. Although for many of my friends drinking was/is central to their way of life, and I’m still struggling to find my way with that. There has to be more to it right? Was that all there ever was? Is that the tie that bound us?  Finding new ways to spend my time hasn’t been hard, in fact none of it has been really that hard. It was a change that had to be made, and I made it. I wasn’t the type that woke up and needed to drink, but when I started, stopping was sometimes (nearly always) a problem.

My craftbeer “hobby” was unmanageable, expensive, terrible for my health, but a great way to hide my problems behind an acceptable and often applauded world. Looking back it’s all so obvious, but at the time I had no idea. More than one person who care(d)(s) about me told me this,  but I wouldn’t listen. I see people still in this community doing the same thing, I hope it doesn’t take them nearly dying to figure it out. If you are reading this, and that feels like you. Step back, think about it. No one can do it for you.

So what’s my point here…I just felt compelled to share, as part of my recovery process. The 12 steps you may be familiar with don’t work for me, I don’t have/want/need religion so the program isn’t appropriate for me. Nor do I feel that I have to give myself up for anything. I simply have to get better, and I’m doing that “one day at a time” (the steps get that part right!) and I believe if you need help they are a good place to start. The meetings are….interesting, but not for me. Talking about it, sharing, and being open is key. I’m not afraid to hide behind it, nor will I be ashamed of myself anymore. I’m me, full of faults, and that is good enough.

One of the most amazing things throughout this entire process, has been the number of people that have come to me or confided in me in one way or another as they fight their own internal battles with addiction. I’m so thankful to be here, so I have the opportunity and privilege to help other people through. My part is small in their big picture but I’m so happy to help. If you are reading this, and you ever need someone to talk to please don’t hesitate to reach out. I don’t know if I would have or could have done this alone.

If you have made it thus far, thanks so much for reading about my story. It helps me to write/reflect/share with more than just my therapist! Thanks to you all for being so supportive in your own way, and especially thank you to Amy, who is always there for me, no matter what. I love you. To everyone I've hurt along the way, I'm sorry. 

I’d like to think that things do happen for a reason, this terrible thing was what I needed to figure my life out, and get my shit together. I still suffer from anxiety, depression,and panic attacks but I have learned how to handle it and deal with life rather than simply trying to drown it out.

Much love.


If you think you need help, here are some great resources to keep handy. The single greatest investment you can make is in yourself, and I highly recommend EVERYONE go to therapy. Especially if you don't think you need it, because you do :)

1 (800) 273-8255 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

To Write Love on Her Arms

PS - maybe your wondering why I would post on my old beer blog, for me this is a way of closing this chapter. It will be the final post on this account, and serves as a reminder to me (maybe others) of how out of hand this scene can be.

Friday, November 7, 2014

You Label Me, I'll Label You(r) Beer


I totally judge a beer by it's label & packaging. Just today I was grabbing lunch at City Market trying to decide what/if any craftbeer would be coming home with me.  I realized while browsing the large format section that I had skipped over several beers that are known to me to be excellent based on peer reviews, but I continue to pass them up because I find the labels/artwork/marketing to be weaksauce.

Am I alone? I don't normally order a beer based on tap handle at a bar so it is tough for me to explain this phenomenon. In my "real job" I'm drawn to marketing, and always have been. Things need to be aesthetically pleasing. Burlington Beer for example is just killing it with their labels, I would drink anything in those bottles!
I really love the simplicity, where less is more, much like Maine Beer Company, and even Hill Farmstead. I would rather see a hand written post it note on a beer then some of the labels I saw on the shelf.

I know that we should not "judge a book by it's cover" but there are some that just never make it into the basket for this reason. Obviously content is king, but for this beer geek I would suggest adding a little time and thought to your marketing strategy when it comes to designing your labels, and logos.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Community vs. Competition | Beer People are Different

I had a conversation just the other day with someone at work regarding this, and today had the chance to speak to VPR about it.. Naturally it seemed like a good time to write about it as well.

It's simple really, in a previous post (I know they are few and far between) I wrote about the Vermont "beer bubble" and when/if it would ever burst. We have indeed lost at least one brewery since then, but I think we have gained like 7 more so we are still doing just fine don't you think?

In any case it got me thinking. My day to day includes working with/for business that are cutthroat, and fiercely compete against each other like nearly all industries. Bidding against each other, fighting for airtime, print space, and digital market-share. However, that doesn't seem to exist in relation to breweries. Instead, there is a bright, growing, and vibrant community of like minded ass kicking people.

For whatever reason, brewers and breweries seem to live outside the box of conventional thinking when it comes to marketing and selling beer. Why is that? How does it continue to grow and be immensely successful while going against the most basic of business principles? Could it be as simple as supply and demand? Make good beer, people will drink it? Or is there some unknown factor here, something un-tapped (pun TOTALLY intended). I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Not all breweries are created equal, and this community doesn't exist everywhere in this industry but I would argue that overwhelmingly brewers come together more frequently then going at each other. Years ago I had a beer called "Collaboration vs. Litigation" that was a shared effort between Avery Brewing Company and Russian River Brewing Company. That beer speaks volumes to me in this community vs. competition discussion. They both had a beer called "Salvation" and instead of going to the courts to duke it out, they simply opted on a collaborative path. That would NEVER happen in any other industry. 

Just go to ANY beer event. I don't care if it's a huge festival, or an event at a local watering hole. Whenever beer people get together, it's a good time. 

Community locally in Vermont is always a source of pride, but wherever you go in the beer industry brewers are always sharing a beer, talking shop, and enjoying themselves. You rarely run into any negative energy (with the exception of over excited enthusiasts on occasion). Overall the vibe is just outstanding. I have made life long friends and relationships via this industry, and I'm just an outsider looking in. A lover of the craft, and delicious suds. 

Perhaps more folks should think about collaborating over a beer, and enjoying the company. Usually the results are very good.

I apologize in advance for the two to three months it will take before my next blog, in the meantime check out my friends writing. They do it better, and more often than me anyway!

If My Coaster Could Talk

,,,and my boy Jeff Baker's column over on the Burlington Free Press. 



Thursday, July 17, 2014

10 Things to Expect at the Vermont Brewers Festival

For the first time in years I've decided to opt out of the Vermont Brewers Festival. I'll be taking my talents to Maine for the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Tour festival instead and I could not be happier about it. I for one feel good about sharing this with out of towners, I can get most of the great beer here on the regular (although I admit I really want the Four Quarters Brewing Company Whiskey Sour & the Prohibition Pig Pappy Van Winkle barrel aged stout.)

However, those of you going this year are surely in for a treat. It is always a good time! If it is your first time attending here are 10 things you can expect, and if you can't make it, 10 things you will miss.

  1. Lines, really long lines. Especially at Lawson's, Alchemist, and Hill Farmstead. Also, at the bathrooms.
  2. People wearing completely DUMB pretzel necklaces
  3. A gorgeous view of Lake Champlain, and if you are lucky a beautiful #BTV sunset
  4. Bros, lots of bros.
  5. Beards.
  6. Smiles, laughing, and people having a fantastic time!
  7. Sadness, disappointment. People who did not pace themselves, or had one too many Magic Hat Meatwhistles.
  8. At least one person trying to go for a swim
  9. People who only have #9
  10. Stupid hats
Have fun, drink responsibly, enjoy our fine city and gorgeous waterfront. Cheers!

Drink #VTbeer 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Economics? Darwinism? When Will Vermont Beer Slow Down?

I'm currently watching the #creationdebate (you can follow me on twitter to see my views on that) and the the Darwinian "survival of the fittest" concept has me considering beer, obviously. Especially here in Vermont where the beer is seemingly unending and breweries continue to open and succeed at a breakneck pace. We have more breweries per capita as compared to any other state, and a new brewery opens nearly every month in Vermont. Many more coming down the pipe in 2014. 

It's been far too long since I've written anything, beer related or otherwise. There are so many great beer bloggers/writers out there, and my peers usually have it covered. I'm looking at you Jim, and Jeff. However, I feel compelled to start a discussion that could just be the elephant in the room for the Vermont #craftbeer scene.

When does is end?

I'm not sure on the sales, success or otherwise of many of these new breweries but as far as I know they are all still brewing beer and doing well enough to keep the doors open. We all know just how well the bigger and historically successful breweries like Magic Hat and Long Trail are doing. We also know that the craft beer community has embraced Hill Farmstead, and the Alchemist making some of the most prestigious beer lists worldwide on the regular. Putting Vermont on the beer map, a must visit for enthusiasts, a great place for a beercation. And what about some the newer breweries? Lost Nation, Drop-In, Grateful Hands, among others all seemingly killing it. (tangent: Lost Nation Gose is the best beer you may have never had, and Drop-In is a really cool spot to visit.)

In the coming months Four Quarters Brewing, Infinity Brewing, Burlington Beer Company, Queen City Brewery, Prohibition Pig, and many others will open to potentially serious fanfare. As many as 11 breweries are in planning to open this year!

The demand is always outpacing the supply, people like to drink, and Vermonters love craft beer. However, I can't help but wonder when it will all come to a head. Will it? Is more always better? What brewery are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

Curious to hear your thoughts, I'm not looking to see anyone fail. I'm a sometimes home-brewer myself, and would love to work in the industry and do something I'm truly passionate about, something that I really love but for now that is just not possible. So instead, I'll drink to a great year and future for #VTbeer. Get out and try something new at your favorite watering hole.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Get a drink at the Winooski Motor Speedway this Summer

Yep, you read that right. And I'm quite frankly just as surprised as you. However with the addition of The Mule Bar the 'newsk ('noosk?" has become the hot spot to get a drink, and catch a race (well, sort of). I wish I could find the guy that made that Winooski Motor Speedway shirt, priceless and he deserves a shout out. Anyone? (update! Thanks Dave & Michelle, the artist is Steve Hadeka and you can purchase the shirts here!

Winooski, always a good spot for a cheap drink (CK's, McKees, Donny's) but has recently blown up into an all out craft beer experience. Surrounding the worlds oddest rotary the lineup of of good eats, and great beverages has really come a long way from the days of 38 Main (more on that later).

A few months back, The Monkey House announced a revamp of their draught lines (over 20 now!) and have had a ton of great beers on tap, including for all of you out of towners Hill Farmstead. Love this bar, way back in it's infancy it was where I had one of my first legal beers. Win. Only gripe is they charge a cover virtually every night, and generally the music is simply not my bag. I'm a "here for the beer" type of guy. I'd drink more and spend more to not have a cover.

If you start early get the Bloody Mary at Sneakers. If you hit Our House for dinner they typically have at least one seemingly out of place great beer (good eats protip: get the 3 Little Pigs, you won't regret it!!) Just up the hill the former food truck sensation Misery Loves Company opened up shop this summer, there you will also find great beer and cocktails. The food is great as well, but I prefer it out of big red. RIP.

A standout drinking spot, actually doesn't even offer beverages but you can't argue with BYOB and Thai! could but don't, it is the exact right combination of pure joy. Just recently enjoyed some take in Heady Topper, and random "fridge beers" from a buddy (follow him @shanem13 on twitter.) though I assure you he is not as interesting as me! Just kidding homie, cheers! Hops and Thai are a killer combo that I assure you will make your palate sing with happiness. Don't expect glassware to be very fancy though!

Recently the fine people from Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT decided to lay the cornerstone to the first turn at the speedway and opened up The Mule Bar. Formerly a Vietnamese spot (apparently a decent one, but never tried). Prior to the Mule the last suds served were at 38 Main, a dive bar I really enjoyed back in the day.Lots of fun nights there when my good friend @amybtv (follow her on twitter) lived in pre-traffic circle hell Winooski.

The Mule has 16 lines of ever changing pure joy. Not to mention a killer bottle list, just ask the fine folks there (yep talking about you Andrew and Michelle) will hook it up. Beer not your thing (why are you on my blog??) They have an ever expanding thoughtful cocktail menu as well. I haven't tried the food yet, but if it's anything like TPT then I'm sure it's outstanding. For me though, it's all about the beer. They run through kegs quick so the list changes often be sure to check them out on Facebook to stay up to date.

So if you don't feel like hitting Burlington up I'd suggest giving Winooski a shot, lots of great food, tons of great beer, and the thrill ride of your life travelling around the "round-about" as fast as you can. Parking isn't ideal, but there is a garage across the street somehow people don't realize exists.

Until next time, Cheers!

see you on Twitter! I'm @metallidan

Visiting Vermont Breweries – Magic Hat

Originally posted on the now defunct on 02/07/13

Last month I suggested you take a trip to Hill Farmstead in Greensboro, VT. I hope you got a chance to go, or are planning a day trip! Let me know if you went in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you thought.
Magic Hat - ArtifactoryNext up we keep it local to Burlington and visit the Magic Hat Brewery on Shelburne Road in South Burlington, VT.  I’m consistently surprised by the number of people I chat with who still haven’t visited this local landmark. Magic Hat has been around since the mid nineties and the brewery is a must visit for locals and tourists to the area.
For many beer drinkers, Magic Hat was their gateway to the craft beer scene, their springboard to better beer. They were pioneers of the Vermont beer landscape. So successful in fact, that today they have grown beyond the craft market and are distributed throughout the country and around the world. A truly local success story.
Magic Hat is known for its clever marketing, the graphics are unmistakable and you can spot a bottle of their suds a mile away. Visiting the brewery is no different, they carry on that unique vibe into what they call the “Artifactory.” Here you can come any day of the week and fill up you growlers, sample a few of the beers on tap, and take home a gift for just about everyone in the family including your pets. You will find glassware, clothing, sporting goods, cards, bottle openers, and more. A great place for gifts, and with Valentines Day just around the corner you should stop in, I know I would be happy to get some goods from the brewery!
The “Artifactory” is a great family visit as well, unlike many breweries there is a lot more than just beer, and it’s a really cool space.  They run tours of the facility several times a day so you can get an overhead look at the brewing, bottling, and packaging which is a lot of fun. If you enjoy touring the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury then I’m sure you will find this to be entertaining & educating.
The beer lineup is constantly changing, you can always count on #9 but I recommend seeking out the seasonal, rare, and one offs.  I told you in an earlier post that Heart of Darkness was my personal favorite, but they have many good ones. The staff is always really helpful, so if you aren’t sure just ask! They love chatting beer and will find one that fits your style.
They also have a ton of events throughout the  year, so keep an eye on their calendar for those. I’ve been to a few and they are always a good time (Magic Hat Mardi Gras is next month). If they do “Wall to Canvas” again, go! You won’t regret it. Art and Beer are a perfect pair. So if you are a beer lover, or just a casual fan I would highly recommend taking a trip down rt 7 south to have a taste yourself.
Until next time, cheers!