Q. What are your three favorite things?
A. Traveling, Food, Adult Beverages
Q. If beer drinking was your “job” what title would you give yourself? If beer drinking is your job, tell us more!
A. International Food & Adult Beverages Trends Analyst – or something fancy like that. Anything that can combine all three of my favorite things, and pay me to do so…
sign me up!
Q. How long have you been seeking out craft beer when you travel? What was your first craft beer travel memory?
A. I guess since I first went abroad to Australia in 2002. That was my first taste of “real” traveling, at a legal drinking/beer appreciation age. I’m not sure if I have an exact memory, but at the time, there were only local Australian beers available to consume so it was fun trying them all out to determine what I liked. I learned during this time that 1) Wheat beers (my favorite at the time) weren’t available in Australia and 2) I really liked browns (something I hadn’t tried before). So after moving back to America, I was personally tasked with finding American browns that I could drink. It was still a few years until the craft brew craze came about (at least in the Midwest).
Q. Where all have you been? What breweries have you visited?
A. Funny enough, Boulevard (in KC) is actually the only true brewery I have ever visited, and just a year ago. Though, I have been to more brewpubs than I can count/remember, and have tried local beer all across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific (Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands), the Caribbean, Mexico and Thailand.
Even though I haven’t physically been to many breweries, they do come to me! Kansas City has had huge growth in craft brew culture the past few years, with an increase in craft brew pubs. Each one typically puts on a few beer dinners (or other events) per year. In the past year and a half, I have been to around 10 beer events with breweries such as Stone, Lagunitas, Founders and Goose Island.
Q. What do you look for in a beer destination when you travel?
A. I don’t typically go to a destination JUST for the beer (unless it’s a weekend trip). For longer trips, I’m looking for a combination of culture, food, activities (like hiking or adventure sports) along with the beer.
Q. What are some of your favorite breweries that you have visited?
A. Well, that would have to be Boulevard since that’s the only true brewery I have been to. It was a great tour. Educational, and we had a beer paring lunch afterwards with food provided by a local, high-end restaurant. As I’ve mentioned in previous questions, the pairing of beer and food really fascinates me – how the brewers/chefs work together to determine what pairs well, and how the right food/beer combination can dramatically alter the taste of both.
I am planning a trip, however, to the four corners (AZ, UT, CO & NM) for late this spring, and plan on making brewery stops.
Q. How do you find craft beer when you travel?
A. I’m a Google master! But beyond that, The Roaming Pint (of course!), Yelp, TripAdvisor (this has been my go-to lately on everything travel related) and regular and random beer blogs. I look at RateBeer.com also, but I usually like to make my own decision, then compare to what others think.
This also applies to craft cocktails. Again, something Kansas City has recently been noted for excelling in. Depending on my mood, I will look for either beer or cocktails at my current location.
Favorite Beer City to travel to:
A. Ghent, Belgium has been my favorite thus far (or the country in general). If not just for the beer, but the culture as well. The population of Belgium is around 10 million (so Chicago-sized), but they have almost 200 breweries in the country and about 20 different types of beers. We managed to try every type in the three days we were there!
Best Beer State in your opinion:
A. Only based off what I have heard from others, I would say Colorado (with maybe Oregon a close 2nd). I hope to find out for myself one day.
Brewery you want to visit:
A. As I mentioned earlier, I plan on visiting the four-corners soon, so am looking to find breweries in the area. I’ve heard Durango has some good ones…
Q. What do you look for when deciding what pint to pour next?
A. There would be three things. 1) What do I like?… I’ve been really big on the sours (including lambics) for awhile now and I always do enjoy a good brown or wheat. 2) What have I never had before? 3) What is the most interesting beer on the menu?
Q. What is the most unique beer you’ve enjoyed?
A. In St. John I had a really good Mango Pale Ale (St. John Brewers). The Lips of Faith Kick (cranberry/pumpkin) was a pleasant surprise, though there aren’t many of their beers I don’t like! Cigar City (Tampa, Fl) had an awesome Oatmeal Cookie Brown. I tried an O’Fallen Smoked Porter once that definitely was unique (I won’t be doing that again!). There are many others I can’t remember as I find the higher the alcohol content, the more unique they are!
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. My good friend Elise has worked at Coors for the past 12 years. For the past 12 years, I drank for free when I was with her as long as it was a Coors product (thankfully there is Blue Moon!). If it wasn’t Coors, she didn’t drink it. She has recently taken a position with their craft brew division and her beer tastes have exponentially grown in the past few months. They even are paying her to brew her own beer (which, for only doing it for a month, was pretty good!). So I would like to sit down with her, and the rest of their team, and learn about what progress Coors is making in the craft brew field and somehow figure out how to become part of their user research/testing team!
Thanks to Jenny for taking time to answer our questions! We love featuring beer travelers of all types, from “professional” to just starting out. Whether you’ve visited many breweries or just enjoy seeking out local craft beer when you travel, it’s just one more way to immerse yourself in the local culture and get to know the area/locals. One of the best ways in our opinion! If you know someone that you think would be interested in being a featured beer traveler, let us know! We love hearing from all types of travelers and all the great stories they have to share. Cheers to good beer!