Zach Clevenger, 33, works full time in IT and part time fun with his beer blog Hops About Beer. Originally from Visalia, California, Clevenger currently resides in Sacramento, California. He is a graduate of the University of Denver and started the blog in April, 2015, when his wife continuously pushed him to commit to a blog, since he was already recording his beer experiences in a notebook. Now with four thousand plus followers and counting, Clevenger offers hope for future bloggers saying it initial took a year for a substantial following but to stick with it.
“I’ve always really enjoyed beer but it wasn’t until about 8 years ago or so when I was 25 when I started getting into really good craft beer.” said Clevenger reminiscing about his current passion.
Clevenger’s internet presence doesn’t stop with his blog. He is currently working with a local Sacramento brewery called Bike Dog Brewing where he helps with their photography, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook postings.
Clevenger says, “I offered my services for free, as I just wanted to gain some actual brewery experience but I basically just get a ton of free beer so it all works out!”
Clevenger loves the aspect of connecting with people over a beer and says it is one of the most exciting aspects of running the blog. He notes, “it’s an amazing industry that is constantly evolving and it’s fun trying to keep up with all of the new trends.”
Having just started a family, Clevenger is finding himself busier than ever. When asked about the challenges he faces with the blog he mentions family, as well as other outside forces which slow down his blog interactions.
Clevenger states, “Adding new content is hardest. With a full-time job, a social media gig on the side, and the blog for fun, I don’t have a lot of time for new content. You’ll notice my reviews and articles have basically disappeared and photographs and industry news is all that’s being posted lately. I get press releases emailed to me daily from breweries so those are easy to post. Oh, and a 5-month-old at home on top of all that!”
With all the business, Clevenger still has time for one of his other big passions, football. Coincidentally, most Americans believe football and a nice cold beer go hand to hand, and hey, who is going to argue that? We all have a favorite go-to beer and most times certain craft beers can get a little pricey. Despite Clevenger’s love for craft beer, he says, “If I’m going to be drinking a ton (sometimes during football season), I’ll crack open a few Coors Lights.”
Like many beer enthusiasts, to offset the price of craft beer and also learn in the process, many try to home brew. Clevenger is no exception stating he has tried his own hand at home brewing.
“I started homebrewing just last year and fell in love with it. It can be very challenging but very rewarding. I also considered pursuing a brewing education so I could get a full-time job doing that but brewers get paid so poorly it wasn’t something I could do and support a family.”
Since Clevenger is from the West Coast, I personally was genuinely interested in the difference of beer due to brewing styles. For a while, each coast latched onto their identities but with the growing number of breweries and readily available knowledge, the line sometimes becomes blurred.
Clevenger having tasted both East and West Coast styles says “I have had east coast beers and it depends on what style of beer it is regarding how it compares. East Coast is killing it with the hazy beers but the west coast is catching up.”
For anyone looking to get into blogging and the future blog writing has for journalism, Clevenger simply says, “ I love blogging because anyone can do it. You don’t have to have a degree in journalism to start your own blog. Of course, nobody will care about your blog if your content sucks, so you better be able to convey something interesting.”
This definitely holds true and one of the many great aspects of the internet. If you are truly passionate about a subject, get out there, find good content, and blog to your heart’s desire. You never know who you will inspire or who will inspire you to overcome challenges and share an immense passion!