Bobby Bush

Bobby Bush
Bush at the 1998 Beer Drinker of the Year Awards


I first took notice of the wide world of craft brewed beer while living in Southern California in the late 1980s. A visit to Portland, Oregon, and an afternoon spent with publican Carl Simpson at the multi-tap Dublin Pub opened my eyes even wider.

Interest became hobby became passion and before I realized it, I'd visited over 500 brewpubs (in 31 states) in the 90s, been recognized by Denver's Wynkoop Brewery as their 1998 Beerdrinker of the Year and was writing regular columns for Celebrator Beer News of California and Ale Street News of New Jersey. I also wrote for Southern Draft Brew News until its demise in early 1999.

Just for the record, I've been to the Great American Beer Festival five times; ten years running to the Oregon Brewers' Festival (1990-1999); once to the Great British Beer Festival and Real Ale Festival, 1998 in Chicago. In 2000, I attended eight festivals, ranging from the Vermont Brewers' Festival in Burlington to the East Tennessee Brewers Jam in Knoxville to the Great Smokies Brewgrass Festival in Asheville, North Carolina. I own over 400 brewery t-shirts, hundreds of pint glasses and growlers, and literally thousands of coasters. Oh yeah, I also do a little homebrewing.

Since 1995 under the pen name Suds Brewer, I've authored "Beer & Loafing" for FOCUS, a local weekly freebie paper published in my hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. That's over 400 articles, each 600-700 words in length. This website represents an on-line version of Beer & Loafing and is indexed by geographic region.

Not all craft brewed beer is great, but these days it's hard to find a bad one. The English have a term for their traditional cask-conditioned ales and have established an organization (of which I'm an international member) to support that tradition. They call it "Real Ale."

For American-made craft brewed beer, I'm advocating something a little less traditional, but just as noble. "Real Beer!" Brewed with integrity, with flavor and with character; Brewed with passion and the desire to share a handmade creation; Brewed without adjuncts such as rice or corn extracts (when used purely to dilute); Brewed for love, not money; that's what Real Beer means to me.

Won't you join me? Let's have a pint or two.

Articles are listed in the Table of Contents.

I recommend a quick phone call before traveling out of your way to visit a brewery. They don't all make it as viable businesses. R.I.P.

A good source of up-to-date Southern brewery info can be found at



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Tom Rutledge - Brewers' Friend

Brewpub reviews
- Travel to 100s of brewpubs across the U.S. and beyond.

Festival reviews
- Large and small, with beer in common.

Table of contents

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