An Open Letter of Thanks to a Great Town, and a Great Craft Culture

By now, many of you have heard the news that Good Beer Hunting has won the Saveur Magazine "2013 Best Food Blogs" award in the wine and beer category. This is an incredible validation of craft beer's rise in the culinary world, Chicago's position as an epicenter of the movement, and the passion that this community has for craft on every level. The sheer number of congratulations has been overwhelming. 

By now, many of you have heard the news that Good Beer Hunting has won the Saveur Magazine "2013 Best Food Blogs" award in the wine and beer category. This is an incredible validation of craft beer's rise in the culinary world, Chicago's position as an epicenter of the movement, and the passion that this community has for craft on every level. The sheer number of congratulations has been overwhelming. 

It's just me here. One individual with a love of writing and photography and the story of craft beer in America. Sometimes it feels like a big deal to be doing this. Sometimes it feels small. But along the way, it's the personal emails, tweets, likes and handshakes that remind me of who it's all really for, and why it matters to put in the extra hours on the craft of storytelling. Because in the end, craft beer comes from a special place in the American mind — one of irreverence, a love of people and place, and a dedication to making the most beautiful and inspiring beer possible regardless of the barriers to success. As the crew at Solemn Oath Brewery are fond of saying "where there is no way, we will make one."

I'm proud to represent the passions of this great community, and I'm humbled that so many fans, friends and fellow ambassadors felt moved to vote. It's an affirmation of the many personal encouragements I've received over the years from people like my wife, Hillary Schuster, Paul Schneider (formerly of Chitownontap), and his new colleague and owner of Solemn Oath Brewery, John Barley.

There are also many friends and collaborators who are directly responsible for my drive, like Dustin Wakeman, Cleetus Friedman, Phil Kuhl, Joe Barley, Erin Lowder, Matt Fraser, Craighton Berman, Kyle Fletcher, Ryan Burk, Max Wastler, Edwin Lee, Michael Donk, Tobias Goth, Joshua Longbrake, Ed Marsewski, Doug Cenko, Rob Brennan, Jill Sites, Scott Sullivan, Andrew R. Wright, Greg Shuff, Kevin Romeo, Jeff Cagle, Greta deParry, Matthew LaFleur, Jay Daly, Alexi Front, Kunal Bhat, Justin Rheinfrank, Step Byce, Randy Mosher, Andres Araya, Janna Mestan, Lindsay Tyler, Andrew Thiboldeaux, Seth Putnam, Blake Royer, Rick Muschiana, Pete Repak, Matt Modica...

HOLY SHIT CRAFT BEER WILL MAKE YOU A TON OF AMAZING FRIENDS. 

Michael Kiser