Welcome to “By the barrel,” or the “Bend Beer Librarian.”
The author, me, is Mark Lindner. I am a librarian, a beer aficionado, and a long-time blogger at habitually probing generalist. My wife, Sara, and I moved to Bend, Oregon in August 2012 so she could be the librarian for OSU-Cascades. Recently, I started working part-time as a reference librarian at Central Oregon Community College (COCC).
Let me immediately get the disclaimer out of the way: The views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own (or those of any guest bloggers) and are in no way whatsoever those of my or my wife’s employers. There will be no discussion of higher education on this blog except as it directly pertains to beer and brewing.
I have been drinking beer for about 40 years now. It all began as a 12-13 year-old who collected beer cans pouring the contents down the drain in the basement after spending my hard-earned allowance money on the cans. I did this for a while and then finally started tasting them as the ‘waste’ struck me hard. Oh. My. God. Were they ever horrible! This was the early 1970s and I was getting reasonably obscure stuff on occasion. Eventually, I came to actually like some of it.
I went into the Army the day after I turned 19 (still the legal drinking age at the time) and after training was shipped to West Germany. Oh. My. God. So much incredible beer! I was stationed in Landau between Pirmasens and Heidelberg in the middle west of the country. Thus began a lifelong love of beer. During my 20+ years in the Army I was stationed in Belgium and a second time in then unified Germany. All of my overseas assignments lasted about 39 months each. I was also in Augusta (GA), Fort Bragg (Fayetteville, NC), Carlisle (PA), Green Bay (WI), and Fort Hood (Killeen, TX).
After I retired form the Army I went to central Illinois to finish my undergrad degree (Normal) and to go to grad school for my library degree (Champaign-Urbana). There was a fair amount of craft beer available in Champaign-Urbana at a handful of good bars but I wasn’t finding much that I liked so I mostly drank Guinness and tried something else on occasion. By the time we left Champaign-Urbana (2010) I was finding a regular supply of great beer to drink, although much of it was imported.
After a two year stay in Sioux City, Iowa—a hell hole for decent beer—we arrived in Bend. Bend is incredible for beer! So after 40 years of drinking beer, sometimes in serious amounts (ever work on a nuclear missile site in Europe?), I am now someplace where I want to take beer seriously. Sure, I intend to have fun. Lots of it! But although I knew quite a bit about beer from my can collecting days and three periods of living in Germany and Belgium, I now want to take this a lot more seriously.
To that end I am ramping up my education on beer, intend to earn some certifications, and to start brewing my own beer at some point. This blog is meant to be a chronicle of that journey into wherever my interests in beer and the amazing beer culture here in Bend and the surrounding Pacific Northwest take me.
So why “By the barrel?” When I started contemplating this blog I started looking for Twitter handles that were reasonably short, meaningful, and were, most importantly, available. The first several good ideas I had were all taken. I was thinking ‘Bend Beer Librarian’ as either the name or tag line for the blog but ‘BBL’ and closely related handles were all taken. Then I realized the ‘bbl’ is the abbreviation for barrel and hit on @bythebbl which can represent both “By the Bend Beer Librarian” and “By the barrel” and I snapped it up.