From the time I started drinking beer, I always enjoyed it for different reasons than just "getting drunk". Even before I discovered the world of craft beer, I steered toward macros with at least some kind of flavor, like Killianís or Guinness. I had even tried a Columbus Pale Ale at a local music club, and had visited Great Lakes Brewpub before a Cleveland Indians game. So the seed was always there, all I needed was the catalyst to push me headlong into the world of microbrews.
My best beer memory is directly related to that spark, when I decided to create a "beer club" at work back in September of 2001. I found 2 other gentlemen (the roster has changed slightly over the years), and each week one of us would buy a 6-pack of a beer and we would each get 2 bottles from it. I took my great idea a step further, thinking "How cool would it be to put each personís review of the beer on a website so we could all read what each other thought of the beers?". So using the limited tools available at work (Geocities - no HTML) I put together a simple site to log everyones reviews of the beers. It was always fun to go back and read what everyone thought of the beers we had all tried. We even got our significant others involved in the act!
I found after a couple weeks that in doing research for the beers (style, ABV, pictures of the beers) that I was spending most of my time on RateBeer. After a couple more weeks of this I realized it would be easier just to join the site and upload my ratings there, and invite the other guys in the club to do the same. I liked the look and feel of the site and from that point there was no turning back. I dove into the site headfirst, adding beers from local brewpubs and microbrews, reviewing all the beers I could get my hands on, trading, posting to the forums etc. Now I never travel without finding out what the beer options are in the area. I take pictures of bottles of beer. I soak bottles in the sink to save the labels and donate the bottles to a local homebrewer. I am on a first name basis with local stores that stock craft beers, and even got a Christmas card from one.
Hard to say what the future holds, but I donít see myself ever getting burned out on craft beer, and always involved in promoting it in what small ways I can!