As my good pal Steven Morrissey likes to advise, 'Every proper band should have the decency to split' -- and I have always taken that to mean that every successful run should meet its sudden, yet permanent demise; requiring far more backbone to be undeterred by the unfinished dissection of the grand illusion and exit smiling.
Yes, I am off to do just that. These are the metaphoric last bars of the closing anthem, a vow to extreme hiatus because, well, its the decent thing to do. This place has done all that it can.
Leaving is really very easy. The site's original intent was to help build awareness for small, local beer, and perhaps it has done just that. The ancillary effect, however, is what made [An Avenue] great: The support of the local brewing industry for it. Writing this blog has revealed the radiant insight into the culture of craft beer and those who proliferate it. Talent abounds at all stages, from production to publication, but even more notably, talent is supported. Enthusiastically. And for a state as enormous as this one, it still feels as if there is so much room for even more imagination. The saturation perimeter is still so very, very far from being breached.
Craft beer's narrative has gone from the libatious outlier, to the unfriendly beer snob, to the consumer standard. Its nearly infeasible that an establishment who cares anything about its clients wouldn't offer something artisinally crafted regionally or nationally -- often times strictly locally. That is not a fad at all, that is a trend. And trends tend to become habits. One that we will all happily hang on to.
Financially, small beer in Austin -- and as a whole nationally -- appears to be entirely sustainable, which makes the silliness of writing a dinky blog about it a bit like the tail wagging the dog. We had our fun here, our disagreements, our public grievances, our linguistic triumphs. Most importantly, we've developed our friendships with people we will end up caring about for the rest of our lives. There are so many to recognize, and so whenever I see you again, I will have to shake your hand to let you know how much I appreciated the time you invested in what has happened here. Without being too much of a loin-licker, sincerely, thank-you.
I do, however, have to single out my wife, Mrs. [An Avenue], because she was my dearest supporter and best research assistant, which is just one of the trillions of reasons why I am head over feet about her. People always mention how she "let me do this", but she never saw it that way. She was unbridled with encouragement, and that kept this place going for two years. Almost to the day.
So, yeah, this blog is leaving me in a better place than it found me 24 months ago. It improved me. It didn't help me fulfill an immediate dream to write professionally, but I discovered that such a thing doesn't even matter anyway. What did matter were the millions of tiny triumphs along the way. Like craft beer, I too am in a good place. Perhaps the writing industry isn't as keen on small beer as the rest of us. That remains to be seen. They certainly aren't paying close enough attention to it, and they most certainly aren't paying many people to adhere.
And with that, Avenuelings, I leave you all with a few unresolved items on the way out:
1) This is, in fact, NOT the end. If you haven't braved an episode of Draught Punk (Twitter) yet, you might be surprised how enraptured you might be by a depraved indie music + indie beer podcast. It is where I will be for the foreseeable future. We think it kicks ass. We have almost no restraint, and we can show you the proof if needed.
2) In fact, [AA] began as an indie music + indie beer blog. If you poke around the site, you will still see remnants of that. As such, we are publishing our 9th Annual Top 101 (of 2013) at the bottom of this post. Music is the lubricant that drives our desire to go next-level on getting breaded on great beer.
3) Will [AA] ever come back? Bitch, it might.
4) Yes, I do consider Goose Island to still make craft beer. At least what they do on Fulton Street. Its still made with artisinal commodities by people versed in small batch. They've just got major funding to protect from insolvency, like that one team from little league who wore the pro-style New Era jams. Yeah, fuck that team, but they were still 9-year-olds just like the rest of us. You want to beat em at their game? Do it better.
5) 2014 just might be better than 2013 in regards to statewide distribution of beer -- as well as the influx of nationally fapped-to brands reaching Texas.
6) Thank-you for reading right now and in the past. Do enjoy the music. And drink what you want.
7) Yes, it is indeed celebration time. Now I'm going to get fucking drunk, as one does. Sounds like a pretty can't miss plan.