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Category: Interview

Beer Selfie Interview: Eric

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Day job? Non-beer related hobbies?

I’m Eric. If you’re here and reading this, you may have seen my Instagram @ipas_suck where I shit on the things you love. Hiyeee! I’m a native New Yorker from Rockland County, living in Brooklyn for the last 12 years. I spend the majority of my time as a Paralegal at a corporate law firm. I love Metal, Hardcore, and Punk music and have a thrash/hardcore/whatever band named Zombie Apocalypse (@zonbiapocalypse) that has a new album coming out early next year. Check us out on Spotify, iTunes, etc. I also write beer themed songs for my Instagram (available for free download). That doesn’t really have a name but I’ve been referring to it as Alcoholicore.

How did you get started in craft beer?

During college, and for a short while after, I lived in CT and was fortunate enough to get a job at a wonderful place in Middletown called Eli Cannon’s (@elicannons). It was around 2006 or so and is where I cut my teeth on craft. I’d always had an affinity toward German beers and that didn’t change, but Eli’s taught me about all of the other styles. There weren’t a ton of solely craft beer bars around at that time, much less one with 40 taps and things like North Coast Red Seal and Old Rasputin, Xingu, Lagunitas, Otter Creek, and smaller breweries like Opa Opa, etc. It was a great place to learn, taste, and be. It still is and I try to go there whenever I visit CT.

How did your instagram get started?

My two friends (and partners in @ipas_suck) were going on a road trip leading up to my 35th birthday. They invited me along, reluctantly because they were going to breweries that focused on IPAs (Treehouse, Trillium, Nightshift, Hill Farmstead, and Alchemist) and they knew I wasn’t in to that. I agreed to go, and when we pulled in to the old Treehouse location, my mind was blown that so many fucking dolts were waiting in line outside of this shit shack. I asked my friend something like, “yo, what the fuck?” and he explained. He then said, “yeah…it’s real bad” and showed me IG and YouTube reviewers and joked that I should start one where I give my opinion on IPAs. We came up with IPAs Suck on the spot, went to BT’s Smokehouse and started filming. I thought it’d be funny for our 5 friends to follow for the trip and then I’d end it. Here we are…

I’m trying to understand your Instagram, but I may be too old and boring. Is “the Colbert Report of IPAs” a fair description?

Ah, so you think I’m a caricature? Presumably because what fucking idiot who purports to hate IPAs this much would drink them all the time and spend money/trade for whalezzz (bro) and “fire,” right? Well, sorry to break the 4th wall but I am that idiot.

I guess “the Jackass of IPAs” is more appropriate. It’s sheer, self-inflicted punishment for humor’s sake. How many ways can you think of to say something is awful? It’s not easy, so we do reviews, characters, skits, all while getting hammered and cracking up. It’s an awesome way to be close with my best friends.

You’ve been banished to a desert island…which three beers are you bringing with you?

Schneider Weiss (Original Tap 7), Boon Kriek Marriage Parfait 2014, Jester King Grim Harvest

What beer are you drinking right now?

I have a couple of really nice bottles that I’ve been looking to break in to for a while. I have a De Cam Oude Lambiek, a few bottles of Spon from Jester King (a 3 year blend and another Syrah and Sangiovese), and some Cantillon on the way. Other than that, normal German: Andechs Dunkel, Agustinerbrau, Hacker-Pschorr Munich Gold, and Rothaus, plus whatever good Oktoberfest are out.

What’s the next trend in craft beer?

Brut IPAs from the looks of it because, sure…why not. But realistically? Closing breweries. It feels like it’s at a tipping point and the herd is going to thin out a little. Every town has 10 breweries, it just feels unsustainable.

What local brewery should we know about?

It’s no “secret” but Interboro is great. I’m biased because I love the people that work there (shout out Mike and Dove), it’s not far from my apartment, and they make much more than IPAs. They make a solid range of beers and also have a full suite of spirits.

Tell us about your drinking buddies.

Everything IPAs Suck related is always with my two friends Mike (@mvsalerno) and Matt (@dumpsterdive). We live in 3 different states but are usually hanging at Matt’s house in CT. We’ll get together with 30 or so different IPAs for a weekend and try to review as many as possible. Mike’s a video producer/editor and has been filming our bullshit since college. He is the real talent behind IPAs Suck: filming, directing, editing, etc. Matt is the funniest person I know and usually pushes me to be my worst (in the best way). He’s my comedic counterpart. It makes me laugh that through their love of IPAs THIS is what got created. IPAs may be pure dog shit, but they’re what gave us an opportunity to hang out more and regress as people at the same time.

What’s your favorite beer festival/event?

Zwanze Day at Spuytin Duyvil. I went for the first time this year and had a blast. It’s part bottle share, part rare tap list, part gueze and lambic orgy, it’s great. I’m actually doing a write up of my experience for beerselfie.com that should be out next week. Make sure you check it out.

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Beer Selfie Interview: Mandy

Introduce yourself. What’s your name? Where do you live? Day job? Hobbies?

Hi! I’m Mandy, I ‘gram (and sometimes blog) under @beerswithmandy. I’m a writer living in NYC. My hobbies are eating and drinking, wait is that just living? My hobbies are cooking, homebrewing, and restaurant hopping!

What’s your relationship to craft beer? Do you work in the industry? Homebrewer? Beer tourist? Beer trader? Other?

Ah, me and the craft beer, our relationship is a close and loving one. I’ve been homebrewing for several years and in 2016 was thrilled to win a gold medal at the National Homebrew Competition. I’ve had to take a little time off of competing because of scheduling but I’ll be back at NHC in 2019. Can’t wait to meet more homebrewers. I’m also a Certified Cicerone, I loved studying for the taste and taking my love of and curiosity about beer in a more structured format.

Tell us about your instagram/blog/website/etc.

I love telling stories of the breweries I’ve visited, the beer dinners I’ve eaten, and fun facts about beer. My friends encouraged me to write it all down (writing is what I do, after all) so I started beerswithmandy. I’ve only had the Instagram for about a month now, and I’m loving it! I want my Instagram to be more than cool beer snapshots, hopefully it teaches people something or gives them a fun fact for their next dinner party. My big goal for the next couple months is to do more long format pieces on the blog.

Favorite Beer style?

Saison! I won my NHC medal for a french saison and it is by far my favorite style. Drinking Saison Dupont Bio on a sunny day in Belgium is one memory I really treasure. My favorite saisons are Tank 7, Saison Dupont, and Seizon Bretta.

What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

Duvel and sushi! There is a BYOB Omakase spot in NYC that serves playful nigiri made with fresh ingredients (some flown in from Japan). My favorite Friday night is hitting it up for the last seating with two bombers of Duvel.

Have you met any craft beer celebrities?

A few years ago, I saw Garrett Oliver across the room at Brooklyn Brewery. Before I could work up the nerve to say hi (I needed at least two more beers!) he was gone. I’m a huge fan girl for Garrett, he’s been an absolute innovator in beer and speaks about brewing and tasting eloquently. I’d like to think if I saw him today I’d go tell him that. Every brewer I’ve met has been kind, interesting, and generous with their time. I spent a long time chatting with David Walker once, he’s a celebrity to me!

What’s your favorite brewery to visit?

Jester King outside of Austin, Texas. It’s in the Texas hill country so you can’t beat the scenery of rolling green hills, wild flowers, and low trees. The vibe of the staff very relaxed and welcoming both at the brewery and at Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza which is on the brewery grounds. Jester King also serves beer from other breweries which I really like, I want to taste a bit of everything while I’m out. It’s a bit of a pricey Uber ride back to the city, but well worth it for a day of drinking and eating pizza under the Texas sun.

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Jeff Eaton, 21st Amendment

Meet Jeff. He’s a brewer at 21st Amendment, and there may be a 40’ mural of him down the street from the brewery.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started brewing.

I am the third generation in my family to join the brewing industry. My grandfather owned a Coors distributorship in Northern California so my dad got an early start in the beer industry. Eventually, the distributorship was sold, and my father moved into corporate sales with Coors. He later left the industry all together. Although, I can thank my dad for talking me out of attending culinary school, yet he still encouraged me to pursue food science. It wasn’t until I was attending Colorado State University that solidified my decision to pursue a brewing career. I fell in love with New Belgium’s Fat Tire & Tripel and Odell Brewing Co.’s 90 Schilling.

What’s your favorite beer and food pairing?

  1. Pils while shucking oysters outside enjoying the sun on a nice day…or mussels & frites…can’t I enjoy them both?!
  2. Any beer with tacos anywhere anytime.

What’s a common misconception about your job?

Some people just assume I’m drinking beer all day. They assume it is just a big party at work each day and do not consider the amount of cleaning necessary to brew quality beer. I tell people that we practice the ABC’s at work each day…Always Be Cleaning.

What’s your go to music in the brewhouse?

Velvet Underground, early 90s grunge, Queens of the Stone Age, Brian Jonestown Massacre…or some 80’s music to sing-along with.

What trend in craft beer are you excited about?

I think the most important trend in craft beer is the focus on quality and how to improve it. In craft beer our collective knowledge is greater when brewers freely share their experiences with each other. Everyone has a chance to learn and improve. I don’t care what hops you used or what crazy processes you did or how much ABV and BU’s are in the beer. In the end, how does it taste?? Is it free of defects? Will a customer want to order a second round? The owner of a previous employer did not care about selling 1 beer or 2 beers. He said it is about selling 4, 5, 6 (and so on) beers; actually creating repeat customers. Poor quality of beer does not help out any brewer. If someone new to craft beer is trying a new style and that beer happens to have a quality defect, is that person likely to try the same style from a different brewery? Probably not. Therefore, the improvement in quality for all breweries benefits us all.

What’s your favorite non-21A beer?

Favorite everyday beer: Trumer Pils…full disclosure, I brewed Trumer prior to joining 21st Amendment.
Favorite special occasion beer: New Belgium La Folie

Tell us two truths and a lie about yourself.

  1. I won a karaoke contest while traveling in the Philippines.
  2. I broke my hand when it was crushed by two falling ¼ bbl kegs.
  3. There’s a 40’ mural of me painted on a wall down the street from the brewery.
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Steve “Dogger” Draper, 21st Amendment

This is Steve Draper, but everyone at 21st Amendment Brewery calls him Dogger. He’s a brewer at their San Francisco pub.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started brewing.

I started brewing apple cider in 2012 then started watching our head pub Brewer Jaron home brew batches in his very small kitchen. I kept making creative ciders and jaron has continued making great beers. Over the last two years I’ve been lucky enough to work with 21st amendment and keep the creative juices flowing.

What’s your favorite beer and food pairing?

Tacos and a nice light Mexican lager.

What’s a common misconception about your job?

A lot of time people think that beer is brewed and consumed the same day… unfortunately it takes a few more weeks to see a finished beer in a glass. Cold and carbonated.

What’s your go to music in the brewhouse?

Bay Area hip hop always keeps good energy in the brewery but we have the most fun creating playlists for the beer we are brewing that day. Irish red? Irish pub music. German style heff? German death metal… you get the picture.

What trend in craft beer are you excited about?

I’m excited to see the change in beer happening right now where it’s all about drinkability and less about challenging your palette against overly bitter flavors.

What’s your favorite non-21A beer?
I moved from Eugene Oregon to the bay so anything Ninkasi has a special place in my fridge.

Tell us two truths and a lie about yourself.

  1. I am not a morning person.
  2. I work as the assistant Brewer for 21st amendment in San Francisco.
  3. I love waking up early.

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