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Meet the Beer Traveler – Emily Engdahl

Meet the #pdxbeergeek - Emily Engdahl
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Meet the #pdxbeergeek - Emily Engdahl

Meet the #pdxbeergeek - Emily Engdahl

Q. Tell us about yourself in 140 characters or less. OR in a haiku

A. similar to foam
fuzzy, refreshing and light
I am a beer geek

Q. What are your three favorite things?

A. the first cup of coffee in the morning, a sunny sky, and my people

Q. If beer drinking was your “job” what title would you give yourself? If beer drinking is your job, tell us more!

A. Creative Review Director & Community Maker – I like to talk about beers in non-traditional terms, to talk about the moods that they evoke, and encourage people to really say what their first thought is, instead of worrying about the “right” way to critique or review a beer. That sense of fun and light heartedness is carried through to everything I do with the #pdxbeergeeks group, and even my own homebrewing. Creativity! Fun! I love gathering people around great craft beer and homebrews, and spreading the cheer.

#pdxbeergeeks logoQ. Tell us about your beer blog:

A. We exist primarily as a community driven blog, and we’re one of the only collaborative beer blogs at the moment – we encourage any of our #pdxbeergeeks (near and far) to contribute. We focus on educating people who might be new to Portland (or just new to the pdx beer scene) and giving them great options for where to find & enjoy craft beer! I always say that I don’t care what beer you drink, as long as you’re making an informed choice – and part of our geekery is to spread the delightful word of craft beer to those who might not even know where to begin! We try to give options, too – if someone is new to craft beer and they say “I’m a fan of ________ (usually one of the big three),” then we try to encourage them to try out new styles available to them in their home towns or regionally, to expand their horizons and try to support local.

#pdxbeergeeks - Michael and Emily

#pdxbeergeeks - Michael and Emily

Q. How long have you been seeking out craft beer when you travel? What was your first craft beer travel memory?

A. I’ve been on the lookout for craft beers for the last 5 years or so – but the first craft beer travel memory I have is from my time in England, when I discovered that there were glorious things outside of the realm of Mad Dog and 40s of Old English. I had a casked ale in a teeny town on the southern coast of England. I don’t recall that it warranted an epiphany, but the window of possibility was cracked open on that trip.

#pdxbeergeek and the gnome

Q. Why do you primarily travel?

A. I’ve done a bit of travel for pleasure and business, but my 20s were spent raising babies – so it’s just recently that I’ve been able to break out and start seeking out craft beers when I travel.

Q. Where all have you been? What breweries have you visited?

A. Since traveling with an awareness of craft beer, I’ve actually been to very few – but my most recent beer-focused voyages were to Bend, Oregon, and then to Hood River, just outside of Portland, where I fell further in love with the craft beer of Double Mountain.

Q. What do you look for in a beer destination when you travel?

A. I’m looking for a sense of symbiosis among the brewers and the consumers. I love when there’s an openness and excitement that people are coming to drink the beers not just because it’s craft beer, but because it really extends further than that – when the brewers are excited about talking to people about their craft. I like to find places where people know it’s good business to support local breweries, and that local breweries give back to the community.

Q. What are some of your favorite breweries that you have visited?

A. I love hanging out in my brother’s brewery because it’s always a guaranteed time laughing, and I love to help out as much as I can. It inspires me to be in that creative space… But one of my favorite local breweries here in town is Upright – I think that Alex Ganum makes interesting and unique beers, and I really love seeing the open fermenting tanks with the mirrors that he has set up. I love going to Fort George in Astoria, Oregon, on the North coast, because I just love the feel of the whole place – the revitalization going on in Astoria is tremendous, and Fort George is really an anchor in that movement – they took over the entire historic Lovell Building (from 1921) and there’s an insane history about the space that lends an air of civic pride to the brewery. During the beer bloggers conference in Portland this summer, we toured the Widmer pilot system brewery in the Rose Quarter, and I was marveling that it was such a clever use of space. I find that I’m drawn to the nerdy & scientific aspects of brewing, in addition to the historical & community aspects, so the set ups highlighting that are really my favorite.

pdx-fortgeorge-brewery

Q. How do you find craft beer when you travel?

A. I talk to people on Twitter about what they have in their neck of the woods, and I do a fair amount of looking online to see what’s up and coming.

Q. Favorite Beer City to travel to:

A. Aside from staying at home in Portland, Oregon? I love riding the train up to Seattle to visit my brother (Lantern Brewing, in the Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood). There are some great beers in Seattle that I love – Naked City, Elysian… and I love going to The Old Town Ale House in Ballard (Seattle) for garlic fries and a pint… That’s a fun place for me to get away and recharge. Otherwise, my favorite place is Astoria, Oregon, to sit in the cozy booths at Fort George and watch the storms roll in on the water, with a pint of Vortex.

#pdxbeergeeksQ. Best Beer State in your opinion:

A. I’m really excited about a bunch of states, actually – while Oregon is obviously my hometown favorite, I admire North Carolina, Maine, and Florida for their tenacity and dedication to the growing craft beer movement.
 
Q. Brewery you want to visit:

A. Historically speaking, I’d love to see the abandoned Pabst brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin… I’d like to see the ghosts of beery pasts… There are a bunch of breweries in Oregon that I really would like to visit: Barley Brown’s in Baker City, Oregon; The Prodigal Son in Pendleton, Oregon; Standing Stone Brewing and Caldera Brewing in Ashland, Oregon; and also, out of state, Odell’s in Ft. Collins, Colorado. There are too many! I need to come on a trip with The Roaming Pint!! —yeah you do!! Anytime 🙂

Q. What do you look for when deciding what pint to pour next?

A. I love to zip up to the tiny grocery store about 5 blocks from my house and see what’s new. Depending on the weather, I might choose a super hoppy IPA, or a nice rich stout. Sometimes, I’ll just ask what’s interesting and buy it on faith. No matter what the beer, it’s always fun to try something new.

pdx-brewers-fest

Q. What is the most unique beer you’ve enjoyed?

A. Dogfish Ales always provide opportunities for thought… While they’re not always my favorite beers, they’re certainly thought provoking. The last one from Dogfish I had was the Hellhound, and I have a bottle of the Life & Limb and the Palo Santo Marron awaiting me in the fridge…

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. Oh, that’s a tough one. The craft beer folks are truly a bunch of fantastic people – I’m lucky that here in Portland the brewers and craft beer people are so friendly – I’ve already met so many wonderful ones… But I think I’d like to just sit at a table and listen to Fred Eckhardt, John Foyston, Charlie Papazian, Teri Fahrendorf, and Lisa Morrison talk about whatever came across their minds. That table would represent such a wealth of knowledge, experience and craft beer friendship.

Q. Where can we find more about you online? Twitter/Facebook/Website etc.

A. I’m ubiquitous. I’m on the twitters at @emilyengdahl and @pdxbeergeeks, on google+ (Emily Engdahl), on Facebook with our pdxbeergeeks page, and on our blog at www.pdxbeergeeks.com.

If you’d like to stalk learn more about Emily, check out her interview with the Beer Wench!

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