So a bar and an editor walk out of a website…
What a day.
I brought back an old favorite header image of mine because I felt it was appropriate for the theme. I sat down to write this as an ode to DCBeer’s own co-editor and director of bloggity blog blog blogging Bill DeBaun, who hung up his blogging hat last week. And oh, don’t you worry, it still will be. But, this morning, BREAKING NEWS was reported on the microblogging hellsite Twitter dot com. As it always was, it was a rough one for a lot of people.
The fourth business location in a local business cluster that includes Adams Morgan’s Smoke and Barrel and Brookland Pint, named Dominion Pint, was slated to open later this year. Now, it will instead be the new location of the CoHo spot that launched brewing in DC after 50 years on this very day, tax day, in 2011.
On a more personal note, this is the bar where I really learned to drink beer. I came into the scene a couple of years after Churchkey opened, so this was really the first craft beer bar I attended with any regularity and did so eagerly and often. I drank some of the more delicious, local, rare beers here with great friends many nights. And, I know no one cares, but this bar is the place where I have the most Untappd check-ins. It’s true.
I met friends here, I brought friends here, I drank many of DC’s first breweries here for the first time. Some of my best memories throwing back beers will always be at this spot. It will be missed dearly by me and by many people in and around the neighborhood.
DCBeer’s own John Fleury, who also hung up his blogging hat, said it best, as he often does, in this thread, which includes this sentiment and perfectly encapsulates what that spot meant to beer in DC:
You can follow the reaction In the PoPville thread here and also in the comments of that article, and in Meridian Pint’s announcement here. Please feel free to chime in and comment below.
I mean, maybe, Bill, maybe. But was there really a GOOD week for you to quit blogging? Some would say there isn’t a good week to blog at all. OK, now we’re getting Void-y for sure, so let’s get into the second big piece of news, the dedication of Bill DeBaun, a Void-tacular funeral for a blogging career, if you will, an Irish wake for a internet snarky hero. Bill, we hardly new ye’s writing. I was going to get into other news this week, but really, what’s the point when you have two stalwart DC institutions calling it quits?
Bill is the reason this column exists. He encouraged me to contribute after we were formally introduced (at a happy hour at the now defunct GBD, RIP) and named this column after I struggled to come up with one for the social media roundup I pitched. Bill wrote for this website for 9 years and spent much of that time as an editor. He piloted the ship and much of my early writing before he stepped down as editor last year in a transition toward heading out of the blogging world entirely. He’s also been a sounding board for ideas and the organizer for many of my favorite events (the Blind and Bitter and Blind and Boozy events at yet another defunct spot, Scion in Dupont, were among the best events I’ve attended).
He also had his finger on the pulse of where the DC beer scene needed to go. This interview, and his desire to see the scene become more diverse, is a testament to his desire to see improvements in areas that go beyond just the quality of beer and expand who drinks and makes and pours the beers. He cared about this website and he cares about an industry that seems more than just a hobby. This industry, like most, has people in it that do the work it takes to bring you the product you enjoy and Bill toed both sides of that line. He was, in essence, its biggest cheerleader, its constructive critic.
I collected together some tribute tweets, talking about what he meant to the scene.
But, even after all that, I would be remiss in not mentioning one very important thing, something that Bill emphasized in a half-joking way: beer is poison. And it will still be, even after he’s away from this website. Here’s to you, Bill. Enjoy drinking cold ones without needing to be balanced or whatever. Let fly with the hottest of hot takes. You’ve earned it.
Thanks for reading, as always. If you see you favorite bartender or industry professional, give ‘em a hug or a high five or a fist bump and a little extra tip and let ‘em know you care. Because, before you know it, they may move on, and you won’t know what kind of Void they’ll leave behind.