A. I was born in a crossfire hurricane. I like cold beverages. Other song lyrics. I’m just a 37 year old father of 2 from the Kansas City area.
Q. What are your three favorite things?
A. I don’t want to be a hack and say my family, so I’ll say the Milwaukee Brewers, Japanese Bruce Springsteen, and my family (because I am a hack, even if I don’t want to be one).
Q. If beer drinking was your “job” what title would you give yourself?
A. Kansas Correspondent for the Southwest Brewing News (a job I once had and wish I still did)
Q. Tell us how you got started with Beer Trips?
A. Back in 2005, my wife took a trip to visit her friend in Mexico City for a week. I had more vacation days than she did, so I decided to take my own trip. I loved the movie “American Beer” by the guy who now runs Barcade in Brooklyn, and I wanted to go visit my old friends from my hometown of East Troy, Wisconsin and a buddy in Minnesota. So I thought I’d take my time getting there, stop at breweries and brewpubs along the way like they did in “American Beer”, and make the most of it. A wrote a blog (about nothing) back then, made a comment about doing this trip and saying that if anyone wanted to join me, they could. This guy I barely knew, Tim Kramps, said that he liked Minnesota and wanted to go, so he came with me. It was a really good time, and ever since we’ve done at least one a year.
Q. What is your first craft beer travel memory?
A. Whenever my wife and I would go on a trip somewhere (usually for a wedding), I’d tell her that I wanted to go to a brewery when we were there if possible. She is really cool about stuff like that (especially because most brewpubs have awesome food on top of beer), so we’d usually do that. The first one we went to was J.T. Whitney’s in Madison, Wisconsin. We ordered a sampler and she made a rule that we had to drink all of each beer in the sampler after we tried a popcorn beer that we thought was awful (which knowing how my palate has changed, we might like now in all fairness). And we’ve stuck with that.
Q. Tell us about your RV:
A. It’s my parents’ RV, which we call the EM-50 (as in the Urban Assault Vehicle from the movie “Stripes”). It is great for a smaller group of guys (four to six usually), and is even better for me since it has a toilet and I have a small bladder. That said, I am sad to announce that they are selling it if anyone is interested in buying it.
Q. Where all have you been? What breweries have you visited?
A. We’ve been to 138 different breweries in 19 different states over the seven full Beer Trips and the six “Point Fives” that we’ve taken, so I won’t list them all here.
Q. What do you look for in a beer destination when you travel?
A. If we drive, we just look for places that we can get to every few hours as we head to a direction. The only trip we didn’t drive out from the KC area was when we decided to go to Portland, Oregon, which is just a destination brewery town, among others that we hope to make it to someday.
Q. What are some of your favorite breweries that you have visited?
A. With apologies to any that I might omit here, the best stops for us have been
Choc in Krebs, OK, Diamond Bear in Little Rock, Goose Island Brewery (not the brewpub) in Chicago, Hank is Wiser in Cheney, KS, Hops Haven in Sheboygan, WI, Nebraska Brewing Company in Papillion, New Belgium and Odell in Fort Collins, Schlafly in St. Louis, Snake River in Jackson Hole, WY, and Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, MN (I really hope I didn’t miss any of the places that were really, really cool to us).
Q. How do you find craft beer when you travel?
A. Beermapping.com. I am not friends with the guy who invented it and runs it, but he is a great human being. He’s very close to Japanese Bruce Springsteen.
Favorite Beer City to travel to:
A. I’m going to cheat and say the Twin Cities, but mainly because of Surly. So if you don’t accept that then I’ll say Brooklyn Center. The guys at Surly are among the coolest people I’ve met (beer-wise or other), and I think any of the Beer Trip guys would agree. Todd, Omar, Keith “Surly Boy Wonder”, and the others are just great. Andy and Rob have made it to every one of their Darkness Days since our first trip there, and I went last year. And I plan on going every chance I can in the future.
Best Beer State in your opinion:
A. It has to be Colorado, followed closely by Wisconsin and Oregon. Kansas is very underrated as well.
Brewery you want to visit:
A. Andy’s been there, but I’d love to hang out at the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehoboth Beach.
Tell us about your most memorable brewery visit or give us your favorite beer trip story:
A. The greatest Beer Trip story can be found here http://www.beer-trip.com/2009/07/for-those-of-you-who-know-me-you-know.html. I am biased, obviously, but it is a great read that I don’t want to condense.
Q. What do you look for when deciding what pint to pour next?
A. Depends on the mood, obviously, but usually and something hoppy. If I am home, and I have time to just relax and don’t have to go anywhere, a great barleywine is ideal.
Q. What is the most unique beer you’ve enjoyed?
A. Choc’s Gose was very different and very delicious. Michael Lalli is making some of the most unique and tasty beers out there. His Signature Series beers that he’s making are phenomenal and seem to be under the radar among beer people.
Q. If you could have dinner and beers with anyone in the craft beer industry, who would it be and where would you go?
A. Everyone probably says Sam Calgione from Dogfish Head, and since I’m a hack, I’d agree. I’ve talked a lot of my brewery friends, and every one of them has commented about how such a genuine and great guy he is. I’d just want to hang out with him at the DFH brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. But that’s also because I’ve already had beers and dinner with Jeremy Danner of Boulevard and John Bryan of Firestone Walker.
Q. Where can we find more about you online? Twitter/Facebook/Website etc.