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Meet the Beer Traveler: Harvey Shepard

Harvey and Leah at the Gypsy Picnic @ Austin Beer Week
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Harvey and Leah at the Gypsy Picnic @ Austin Beer Week

Harvey and Leah at the Gypsy Picnic @ Austin Beer Week

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

A. Travel state to state
wife, cat and laptop on board
craft beer spills in beard

Q. What are your three favorite things?

A. Beer, baseball and meat products

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

A. Chief Consumption Officer

Q. Tell us about your beer blog:

A. Oh Beautiful Beer has been up and running since February 25th. Daily posts on the site highlight the best beer packaging in the world, as well as the designers behind them.

Q. Why do you primarily travel?

A. My wife and I are reaching that “settling down” age and want to get out and explore as much of the country as possible, and see where we might want to land when we become grown-ups. Both of our jobs allow us to be mobile and we move every 3-6 months. Along the way we’re enjoying as much local beer as we can get our hands on.

Harvey with Shane Bordeau, co-founder of Twisted X Brewing @ The Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Harvey with Shane Bordeau, co-founder of Twisted X Brewing @ The Texas Craft Brewers Festival

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

A. I’m not sure about my first craft travel trip, but my first quality beer trip was to the Guinness brewery in Dublin after graduation. That whole trip was a huge wake up call after all of the Milwaukee’s Best I drank in college.

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

A. Being from Massachusetts, we’ve hit a slew of the great breweries New England has to offer. We’ve been traveling for the last 13 months and have lived in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Texas. In that span we’ve hit several beer festivals, beer weeks as well as:

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (Charlotte, NC)
Rock Bottom Brewery (Charlotte, NC)
Carolina Brewery (Pittsboro, NC)
Red Brick (Atlanta, GA)
Gordon Biersch (Atlanta, GA)
Yazoo Brewing (Nashville, TN)
Titletown Brewery (Green Bay, WI)
Shipwrecked (Egg Harbor, WI)
Schlafly (St. Louis, MO)
Boscos Brewing Co. (Little Rock, AR)
Lovejoy’s (Austin, TX)
Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que (Austin, TX)
Draught House (Austin, TX)

In the near future, we certainly have a lot of Texas breweries to check off.

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

A. When we’re picking a city to visit, we’re usually focused on density of breweries and beer bars. As far as the venues themselves, food, outdoor seating, live music and brewery tours top the list.

Maria, Brian and Harvey at Shipwrecked Brewery, Door County Wisconsin

Maria, Brian and Harvey at Shipwrecked Brewery, Door County Wisconsin

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

A. Harpoon (Windsor, VT)
Northampton Brewery (Northampton, MA)
Titletown Brewing (Green Bay, WI)
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (Charlotte, NC)
Red Brick (Atlanta, GA)

All seem to combine high quality beer with a really great atmosphere.
 

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

A. When I’m headed to a city for the first time, I always turn to Twitter and Facebook first. Those have both been invaluable in finding the must-hit beer stops. The “Find A Craft Beer” iPhone app has come in quite handy as well.

Harvey at Northampton Brewery, Northampton, MA

Harvey at Northampton Brewery, Northampton, MA

Q. Favorite Beer City to travel to:

A. I know I’m biased, but right now I’d pick Northampton, MA. There are a lot of outstanding breweries in the area, and you’ll find great dive bars intertwined with higher end beer bars. You can sense a real appreciation for beer going on there right now. And if you’re ever in the area, you must hit up “Ye Olde Watering Hole and Beer Can Museum.”

I also have to mention Charlotte, NC. We lived there for six months. They have some really amazing beer bars, a great beer week and new breweries are starting to pop up very quickly. The Charlotte Beer Club is also very active and seemingly always has an event going on.

Q. Best Beer State in your opinion:
A. Vermont

Q. Brewery you want to visit:

A. While they don’t have a physical brewery currently, I’m really excited to get to Northern California to check out Almanac Beer Company. Each season they partner with local farms to produce a unique one-off beer. They then work with area chefs to pair it with distinctive local cuisine. It doesn’t hurt that co-founder Damian Fagan has created some really stunning label artwork as well.

Q. Tell us about your most memorable brewery visit:

A. Earlier this year we attended a wedding at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Upon arrival, we were surprised to find that there is a Trapp Family Brewery. This is infinitely more amusing if you also have a wife that’s made you watch “The Sound of Music” a hundred times.

Harvey with Michael Graham, co-founder of Austin Beerworks @ The Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Harvey with Michael Graham, co-founder of Austin Beerworks @ The Texas Craft Brewers Festival

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

A. I’m usually reaching for something local and/or the darkest beer available.

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

A. I’d have to give that award to Ranger Creek’s Jerky Mesquite Smoked Porter (made with actual beef jerky!) that I got to sample during Austin Beer Week.

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. Since mine is a design blog, I’m going to go that route and choose Christian Helms. His Austin-based Helms Workshop has done some really stunning design work for Austin Beerworks, Fullsteam Brewery, Lonestar Beer and many impressive non-beer clients. The logical venue would be the sausage and hot dog restaurant Christian co-founded, Frank. Along with tasty meats, Frank also has the entire Austin Beerworks range on tap.

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

A. You can visit Oh Beautiful Beer at ohbeautifulbeer.com, as well as on Twitter @ohbeautifulbeer and Facebook at facebook.com/ohbeautifulbeer.

TRP had the pleasure of meeting Harvey and his wife, Leah, this summer in Wisconsin. We shared stories and brews at Titletown in Green Bay, WI and Shipwrecked in Egg Harbor, WI and look forward to visiting them our next time through Texas! Thanks for the interview Harvey!!

Some examples from the OhBeautifulBeer website


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Author Maria

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Harvey and Leah,

    You better check out Colorado, Northern California and Oregon before you start recommending the “Best Beer State”. There are some of the World’s Best MicroBrews in Colorado and on the West Coast, I highly recommend that you plan your travels through these States in the coming Months.

    Safe Travel!! Cheers!!

    -Avery Jenkins-

    PS – I’m glad that you met our Good Friend – Mike Graham from Austin Beerworks, great pic and awesome Beers!!!

    • Harvey says:

      Thanks Avery. We will definitely be making beer pilgrimages to Colorado and the Pacific Northwest sometime in the near future. What are the top few beer destinations you’d recommend?

      Colorado certainly has the reputation as the beer mecca. But there are also some really great beers being made in Vermont that aren’t getting enough attention.

      Yeah, Mike’s a great guy. Looking forward to peeking in at their operation in Austin before we leave Texas.

      And thank you to TRP. Very flattered to be featured on your website. Look forward to having another beer together somewhere soon.

      Sláinte!

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