Nick contacted us a few months ago and has been traveling the east coast seeking out craft beer for a couple years, writing about it and mapping his travels on his website Beertrails. Nick is going to help TRP post about the great beer destinations he visits bringing a new perspective to the TRP beer destinations from the east side. We look forward to traveling East and checking out the spots he recommends! Everyone, help us welcome Nick!
Q. Tell us about yourself in 140 characters or less. OR in a haiku
A. I’m a mechanical engineer from VA. I live in Philly with my wife.
Q. What are your three favorite things?
A. If I know just one thing about myself it’s that I have too many favorite things to call any of them favorite things. But if I had to pick three things to focus on (besides family and friends) music, craft beer, and product design would probably top the list. Although Notre Dame football would make a strong case for the top spot.
Q. If beer drinking was your “job” what title would you give yourself? If beer drinking is your job, tell us more!
A. Probably “unemployed.” I can tell you if I like the beer or not, but I’m not the greatest at picking out flavors or being able to distinguish between types of hops. I wouldn’t last long as a reviewer.
Q. Tell us about your beer blog, what made you start it?
A. My blog is called Beer Trails and I got the idea after visiting New York’s wine country where they list their wineries out on a trail map. I thought I could emulate that by creating a map for the breweries of every state and discuss each of them, with the hopes of one day visiting a bunch of them. I also think I needed a creative outlet, but let’s not delve too deeply into my psyche.
Q. Why do you primarily travel?
A. My wife and I love visiting new cities to explore the neighborhoods, get good food and beer, and to relax. We have family and friends all over the country so we generally try to tie in a trip to see people with our own adventures.
Q. How long have you been seeking out craft beer when you travel? What was your first craft beer travel memory?
A. I’ve probably been consciously seeking it out for about two years, but my first craft beer travel memory was four years ago when my wife and I went to Boston and visited the Sam Adams brewery. I knew nothing about how to make beer at that point, so it was a great learning experience. My favorite part was that the guy with the long beard from the TV commercials was actually there. I got a kick out of that.
Q. Where all have you been? What breweries have you visited?
A. 1.Sam Adams: Boston, MA
2. Manayunk Brewpub: Philadelphia, PA
3. Keuka Brewing: Hammondsport, NY
4. Horseheads Brewing: Horseheads, NY
5. Fegley’s Brew Works: Bethlehem, PA
6. Dogfish Head: Milton DE
7. 16 Mile: Georgertown, DE
8. Yards Brewery: Philadelphia, PA
9. Wagner: Lodi, NY
10. Ithaca Beer Company: Ithaca, NY
11. Anchor: San Francisco, CA
12. Cape May Brewing Company: Cape May, NJ
13. Blue Lab Brewing Company: Lexington, VA
14. Earth + Bread Brewery: Philadelphia, PA
15. River Horse Brewery: Lambertville, NJ
16. Stoudt’s: Adamstown, PA
Q. What do you look for in a beer destination when you travel?
A. I used to seek out tours, but now I’m sort of tired of seeing the same basics over and over. So, now I look for a tasting room where I can try beers at my own pace. I really like places that have special beers on tap (Ithaca, River Horse, and Dogfish Head come to mind.) Also it’s not bad to have some seats and food available.
Q. What are some of your favorite breweries that you have visited?
A. Yards is always fun, 16 Mile was cool because it was so small we essentially had a private tour with one of the owners.
Q. How do you find craft beer when you travel?
A. Not exactly sure. I guess every time I have a new beer, I read the label to see where it’s brewed, and then if I’m ever in that area I try to make it to the brewery. Otherwise, I just tend to like bars that have lots of beer on tap, so we gravitate towards those wherever we are.
Favorite Beer City to travel to:
A. Philadelphia, and I don’t even have to travel.
Best Beer State in your opinion:
A. A lot of my favorite beers come from Colorado, so even though I’ve never been there, I’ll go with that.
Brewery you want to visit:
A. Flying Dog in Frederick, MD
Tell us about your most memorable brewery visit:
A. Probably Anchor. The tour was cool, you get a good selection at the tasting, and we walked 2 miles through some weird neighborhoods to get there. So getting there was definitely memorable.
Q. What do you look for when deciding what pint to pour next?
A. I enjoy almost every style of beer, so I usually just look for anything new or interesting sounding. I’ll try any beer at least once.
Q. What is the most unique beer you’ve enjoyed?
A. I’ve had the last two Anchor Christmas Ales. They use a new recipe every year, so you can’t get much more unique. The flavors are pretty unique too; 2009’s tasted like a pine tree.
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 would go to a place that has a menu with beer pairings, so I’d want to go with a brewmaster who could help me navigate the menu. Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery would be awesome. Their website has pairings for every beer they have, so he’s bound to be knowledgeable.