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Meet the Beer Traveler | Ricardo Lopez De Azua

By January 10, 2012Featured Beer Travelers
Meet the Featured Beer Traveler: Ricardo Lopez de Azua
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Meet the Featured Beer Traveler: Ricardo Lopez de Azua

Meet the Featured Beer Traveler: Ricardo Lopez de Azua

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

A. Graphic designer by day / a beer drinking, hairy ape by night. Blogging about beer from Central FL isn’t always easy, but I love it here!

Q. What are your three favorite things?

A. Traveling to cool and different places
Enjoying a good beer with good friends (while watching some football or basketball perhaps)
Doing anything with my better half, she always makes it more fun!

Q. If beer drinking was your “job” what title would you give yourself?

A. Craft Beer Czar

Meet the Featured Beer Traveler of the Week: Ricardo Lopez De AzuaQ. Tell us about your website BeerGuerrilla.com

A. I want to get people on board the craft beer revolution that is taking hold of America. Everyday more and more people are turning away from the large (and generally indistinguishable) Macro Breweries like AB and MillerCoors and turning to local and craft breweries that put out amazing beer. I want to try as many good beers, go to as many bars and breweries as I can find and write about the special ones.

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

A. I started seeking craft beers in 2006 when I went on a “North East Tour” to visit friends in NYC and Boston. I didn’t know what to look for at the time but I was able to visit a couple of brewpubs and drank good beer that I couldn’t find in Florida at the time. I was still a craft beer novice at the time, but a year later, on my trip to Argentina I was able to visit several breweries and brewpubs with a bit more of an expanded palate.

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

A. I like to travel to places that either have a wealth of nature, culture, food or all of the above. I just returned from my first trip to India where I enjoyed a Kingfisher while sitting out watching shooting stars in the Thar desert, I went to Peru for my honeymoon and enjoyed a Cusqueña while waiting for a bus to take us to Machu Picchu, and went to Argentina with one of my best friends and tried some Belgian style beers from a small craft brewer in the German influenced town of Bariloche. Even though these places aren’t known for their beer, each place has a deep connection between the culture and the beer they drink. I’ve also been able to visit Allagash Brewery in Portland ME, Cigar City Brewing Co. in Tampa FL, Orlando Brewing Co. in my hometown and many more brewpubs in cities like NYC, Boston, Minneapolis, Madison WI, San Francisco, etc.

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

A. I look for a place where I can go for a long hike up a mountain and then find a good beer after the descent. Any place with some nature and at least a couple of well crafted local beer bars to sample. I would say Portland ME is pretty high on my list of what an ideal place for beer travel is. I’m hoping to go to Oregon sometime soon, I’ve heard the hiking and the beer are outstanding!

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

A. Allagash is by far my favorite brewery I’ve visited. They brew mostly in the traditional Belgian style, but they do some cool experimentation with stuff like Brettanomyces, brewing with wine grapes, and they even have a coolship! Cigar City was also great to visit. They brew with a recklessness that is refreshing and consistently come out with great products for such a small brewery.

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

A. Ask the locals! They know the best bars and local beer around. Once you are there, ask the bartender! Always trust your bartender (and tip for the advice). I also do a little research for cool bars on tripadvisor and ratebeer places before I go somewhere new.
Beer Guerrilla
Favorite Beer City to travel to:

A. So far, I would have to say Portland, ME. Great local beer, cool beer bar scene, and awe inspiring nature close-by.

Best Beer State in your opinion:

A. I would probably say California. They have so many good breweries from north to south… you could make a two month trip visiting breweries and brewpubs throughout the state.

Brewery you want to visit:

A. I would love to visit Dogfish head Brewery, their new facilities look amazing! Apart from that I would love to go to Belgium and visit a bunch of the older breweries. I love the history aspect of brewing, so that would be pretty special.

Beer GuerillaTell us about your most memorable brewery visit:

A. I had a pretty memorable brewery experience at Allagash. My wife and I went right after landing at the airport, so it was a pretty perfect start to an amazing vacation. The tour was really well done and the beers we tried afterwards were spectacular. Especially the Curieux, which is aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrels.

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

A. I love to try new beers, so I will usually look for something I haven’t tried before. I also like to ask for suggestions from bartenders “Got anything new and interesting?” I love everything from Belgian Tripels, IPAs, wheats, browns, to Barleywines so my tastes run the gamut.
 
Q. What is the most unique beer you’ve enjoyed?

A. A few years ago I tried a beer called Route Des Épices (French for “Spice Route”). It’s a Rye beer brewed with peppercorns and the spice hits your tongue in a really unexpected (tingly) way. I loved it immediately!

Traveling for beerQ. If you could have dinner and beers with anyone in the craft beer industry, who would it be and where would you go?

A. It would be fun to have a truly unique world beer (like Peruvian chicha) with Sam Calagione of Dogfish head brewery. I’m sure we would end up going somewhere extremely exotic, and that would suit me just fine.

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

A. Check out my blog at www.beerguerrilla.com where I muse about the different beers I’m trying and my newfound homebrewing adventures! Also connect with me via Facebook and Twitter @beerguerrilla

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