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A funny thing would happen whenever Darcey Self Barnes and her husband, Daniel Barnes, would drink beer together: They’d sip the same beer but taste different flavors. “We realized that we were experiencing beer in a different way,” says Self Barnes. “With that different perspective and the fact that Dan’s a writer and I’m a designer, it just organically came together that we should review beers.”
That’s the story behind hisandhersbeernotes.com, a husband-and-wife beer-review blog with an artistic twist: His critiques are succinct paragraphs of vivid prose, while hers are witty color illustrations depicting the tasting experience.
Their unique approach to reviewing beer was “a way for us to work together on perfectly equal footing,” explains Barnes. “Neither of us considers ourselves an expert. We each bring our own perspective: male-female, different tastes, me through words, her through pictures.”
Self Barnes says her illustrations are a creative way to add a female perspective to the male-dominated world of beer reviews: “Women by nature are visual creatures . . . and this was a way to pique women’s interest in beer.” Her husband puts it more bluntly: “Reading some other people’s beer reviews, oftentimes they’re describing the beer as though they’re having some sort of sexual relationship with it. It’s very dude-centric.”
For the time being, posting two to three reviews every week is a labor of love for the couple, although Self Barnes admits it would be “icing on the cake” if the blog developed into something more, like maybe a paying gig.
Barnes figures it’s a worthwhile endeavor either way. “The great thing about this project is that even if everyone hates it and it’s a total failure, we’re still drinking great beer and we’re doing something we like together,” he notes. “Anything beyond that is gravy."