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Meet the Beer Traveler: Julie Wartell from PubQuest

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

A. Raised in Michigan, drinking Stroh’s out of a can
Moved to Cali in ’86, to get my sun fix
Love to surf and bike, drink good beer and hike
Traveling is high on my list, and hanging with friends can’t be missed!

Q. What are your three favorite things?

A. Beer, Biking, Enjoying the outdoors

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

A. While I wear many hats for PubQuest, I’d say that Chief Brewery Researcher would be an appropriate title… as Co-Founder sounds so boring.

Q. Tell us about your website:

A. PubQuest.com’s primary focus is providing consumers an easy way to locate craft breweries in order to expose more people to all of the great, local beer that is in big and small towns across the U.S. and Canada. We have over 2,800 locations in our database, and it’s constantly being updated. In addition, you can learn about brewery events, order custom maps for your adventures and of course purchase schwag.

Tall Sails and AlesQ. How long have you been seeking out craft beer when you travel? What was your first craft beer travel memory?

A. Wow, that’s a tough one. I had my first exposure to craft beer in the early 90s and definitely sought it out on any travel I did (it was far from everywhere back then!). Besides going out of my way on every trip I take to visit breweries (sometimes co-workers, friends and family appreciate the excursion and sometimes not!), my first trip solely for the purpose of beer travel was Tall Sails and Ales on Maple Leaf Adventures (in British Columbia). Since then, I have done 2 multi-day beercycles (NYC2DC and Belgium) and been to Denver for GABF twice. In addition, there have been numerous weekend excursions to visit friends and breweries (usually with a dose of hiking or biking thrown in).

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

A. Way too many to name…if only there was a map for me to keep track of this…(coming soon to PubQuest). I have visited breweries in probably 30+ states in the United States, as well as British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta in Canada. I’ve also been to breweries in Australia, New Zealand and Europe (England, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands). And didn’t get to breweries but drank the local beer in S. Africa, Mexico, Caribbean, Croatia, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain and Malta. I do have a collection of over 300 coasters from the breweries that I have visited.

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

A. Always nice to have multiple local breweries to experience but sometimes even 1 can make the trip worthwhile. I’ve visited breweries that range from nano (i.e. someone’s garage but commercial) to huge (Duvel) and everything in between and had some of the most amazing experiences based on a combination of tour, awesome folks that work there and of course delicious beer.

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

A. Another tough one as there are so many! Van Steeneberg really stands out. Dogfish Head was special, really enjoyed Midnight Sun and Cascade Barrel House, place in my heart for Stone (I helped build the walls of the entryway!) and great experiences at Cigar City. There are probably another 50, mostly small ones that were awesome.

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

A. PubQuest.com of course! Because we only have breweries, if I’m looking for a beer bar or bottle shop, I will look at local publications, talk to locals and check out a couple other websites.

gabf 2007Favorite Beer City to travel to:

A. Living in San Diego, I don’t have to travel (and it’s really the region/county that’s amazing, not just the city). With that said, I know it’s cliché, but probably Portland.

Best Beer State in your opinion:

A. Tie between California and Oregon

Brewery you want to visit:

A. Can I have more than 1? Victory, Bell’s and Southern Tier (in the U.S.).

beercyclingTell us about your most memorable beer trip(s):

A. My 1st trip that I mentioned above, beer sailing in British Columbia, was so unique and I got to experience breweries and beers that you can only find very locally and did this all via sailboat (i.e. how many readers have drank Gulf Islands beer?!). In addition, every meal had some beer integrated into it, even breakfast (Scottish ale in our Scottish Oatmeal!). Beercycling on the east coast for 10 days was memorable for many reasons – first bike tour over 3 days, traveling with a person who I met for the first time when we started, visiting some amazing breweries and beer locations and meeting a ton of wonderful beer folks. Trip highlights are at http://www.craftbeer.com/pages/breweries/road-trips/show?title=beer-cycling-pubquest-new-york-city-to-washington-dc. Beercycling in Belgium last year is right up there too for most memorable.

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

A. Depends on a few things… Where am I? If I’m not in San Diego, I will look for what’s local (that I can’t get in San Diego). What am I feeling? Hoppy or red or brown or Belgian, 5% or 8% ABV… What are the bartenders or locals recommending?

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

A. Southern Tier Crème Brulee Stout definitely stands out. I’m not a big stout fan (tastes too much like coffee) but this one re-defined stouts for me. There have also been a few sours, like Russian River Consecration that are unique and very enjoyable.

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. I’ve been very fortunate to have met and spent time with some of the most famous (and many not-as-famous but wonderful) craft brewery folks in the country (as well as with Jef from Van Steenberge). Instead of dinner, my ultimate “event” would be to go on a bike adventure (preferably multi-day) with a group of people from the craft beer industry that are caring, fun, and passionate. And of course visit a wide variety of craft breweries to experience the breadth and depth of local beers. Can you please arrange that?

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

A. Twitter: @pubquest, Facebook: www.facebook.com/pubquest, Website: www.pubquest.com

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