Along the way, I gained some wisdom - admittedly, most often through screwing things up - and my posts became a bit more coherent. I started applying my love of creating things with my interest in programming, and I wrote the first of my brewing utilities.
And so it went for some time. I got active on some homebrewing forums, eventually on the reddit homebrewing sub, and all was well with the world.
And then, one of my favorite hangouts seemed to get a lot less friendly. The forum seemed to shift its focus, and some of the decisions there felt designed to encourage certain major contributors to find other places to go. Everywhere I went, it seemed that there was some degree of related issues - a big one being that, on the internet, it seems acceptable to treat people like crap, to talk to them in ways you would never do in a face to face conversation.
And so, last year, I started wondering why this had to be the accepted norm. Why couldn't there be a friendly place where knowledgeable brewers hung out? A place that "had it all" - a great database of tried and true recipes, a place with the useful brewing tools, a place that one could consider their brewing one on the internet?
Well... I had a somewhat popular site at the time. So, why couldn't I create such a place around my existing site?
The idea kept bouncing around my head, and would not leave me alone. So, I contacted a great group of brewers (and great people) and got them on board with the idea.
There were bumps along the way, but we put together a great starting base for a site. We have a recipe database that allows anyone to add to it - either via web browser, or simply by uploading beerXML - and our recipes allow you to rate them (only if you have brewed or drank the recipe), as well as notate those that have won awards. We added to the utilities - priming sugar calculator, yeast starter calculator, alcohol by volume calculator, and more - each of them checked and rechecked until we feel that each is as good (or better than) any comparable tool on the internet. We have a web forum, where brewers of all experience levels can share, collaborate, or just shoot the breeze. Anyone who wants to share more in depth content may blog here without having to bother with setting up their own domain.
But most importantly, we have one huge founding principle - everyone agrees to follow Wheaton's Law (aka "don’t be a dick").
There was, however, one big obstacle in the way. You see, no matter what, the name "HomebrewDad.com" just wasn't particularly inclusive. It suggested a certain membership; it felt exclusionary to women (which I'm on record as being opposed to), it felt exclusionary to younger brewers. My charter members kept lobbying for me to consider a change, and a sampling of site visitors reflected that, by and large, people thought it was a fine name for one guy's blog... but not so much for a community.
So, we had a discussions, we had a vote, and I reluctantly gave in.
It was a scary thing for me. I had invested a LOT of time and energy into this website. Giving up my website name, the look and feel, felt like giving up a little part of myself. What if people hated the change? And on and on.
But as time went on, I became more and more certain that this was the right choice. It took some time for me to put together the new look and feel (please let me give a HUGE shout out to Matthew Chrispen for his great work on the look and feel, and to Lori Krell for about a thousand logo revisions, and to Dan Paris for his own hours into the logo and mobile friendliness of the site), and I wanted to be absolutely sure that any visitors to the old HomebrewDad.com would not be left out in the cold. But things are finally 100%; BrewUnited.com is now a reality!
I admit it, I was a bit wistful when the change first went 100% live, and my ego grumbled just a bit. But I am more excited than ever about the change. This is no longer about me. This is about us. A community. Togetherness. Strength. Brew United.
It has a nice ring to it.
So, welcome to the new BrewUnited.com. Don't just look around, though - get involved! Together, we are more than the sum of our parts. Come hang out with us at the forums... ask questions, or share your own knowledge and wisdom. Tell us about your beers, your projects. Share your recipes.
On the technical end, you'll want to eventually update your bookmarks. Don't worry; your HomebrewDad.com links will silently redirect you to the identical page on BrewUnited.com, and I plan to keep the old domain active for a good long while - but eventually, it will go dark. If you are of the mind to support the site via Amazon affiliate links, please note that these have not changed - and your help is VERY much appreciated!
Keep an eye out for new features. For one, we are almost done beta testing a great new way to interact - namely, the ability to post to (and read from) the forums via email. Soon, we will have an event calendar, and a new interface for swapping yeast with one another. And much more is one the way!
Finally, if you were not already aware of it, we are running a pretty amazing competition - the 2015 BrewUnited Challenge. This is not your normal comp; this one requires you to be flexible and creative while working within some pretty significnt ingredient constraints. However, it has some fantastic prizes - to the tune of more than $3000 worth of loot is available!
Again, welcome to the new BrewUnited. We look forward to you helping us to become one of the absolute best homebrewing communities anywhere on the internet.
posted by nzo on 7/07/2015 at 10:56:28 AM
Tags for this post: homebrewdad, BrewUnited, homebrew, dad, brew, united, community