DRINK WITH THE WENCH PRESENTS:
The Beer Tweeter Interview Series
Beer bloggers are not the only people using social media to share their passion for and knowledge of craft beer. Twitter is one of the most important tools in today’s craft beer industry. Beer tweeters all over the world are influencing and impacting the way people interact with and experience craft beer. The Beer Wench has embarked upon a mission to interview as many beer tweeters that she can — from all over the world.
Are you a beer tweeter? Do you want to share your story? Send me an email!
INTRODUCING BEER TWEETER: TODD PARKER
FROM: Metro Detroit, MI
1. Where did you grow up?
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Mostly soccer (from 2nd grade to current), some basketball, and I tried football one year
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
High School age
4. If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?
Don’t recall the specifics, probably one of the big 3, did not like it. I remember a Heilemans Old Style in there at some point. Beer had a function then, not a taste (which was not agreeable). Eventually, learned to tolerate the taste. One time in HS, I splurged and got some Michelob Dark, which for several years was my favorite beer. I still drank the cheap stuff into college, however, on my junior and senior year, I started to drink the good beer.
5. Where, if applicable, did you go to college? What did you study? What additional activities, organizations, sports did you partake in during college?
I got my BA in Marine Biology from Boston University in 1989. There, I did play some co-rec sports here and there, but mainly concentrated on my studies. I spent a summer and a semester in Woods Hole, which houses the Marine Biological Laboratories and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. These are the pre-eminent institutions for marine biology and oceanography. I got my MS in Marine Biology from the California State University at Fullerton. My thesis looked at how the presence or absence of a symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) affected the digestive machinery in a sea anemone. There, I taught labs in Intro Biology, Zoology, and Invertebrate Zoology. I did play some soccer here and there too.
Craft Beer Epiphany
Every craft beer enthusiast has at least one pinnacle craft beer experience that completely changes ones perspective on beer. I refer to this mind-blowing moment as a “craft beer epiphany.”
1. What was your first craft beer epiphany? Recall as many details about it as you can:
I guess my first foray into non-fizzy yellow beers was the Michelob Dark. It was smooth, slightly sweet(er), and had hints of chocolate. It meant that all beer didn’t have to taste like crap.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
In college, when funds were tight, cheaper was the law of the land, however, by my junior year, my friends around me started drinking better beer, and occasionally I would have one of theirs and like them.
After, I turned 21, going to different bars, you would see beers like Bass on tap. I started to get more and more fond of the better beers and would get them whenever I could. Soon after I graduated, a friend started homebrewing, so me and another friend started homebrewing too. This was Boston when both Sam Adams and Harpoon were beginning to take off, and the buzz was all about. You would hear through the grapevine that so and so bar has this new beer made by Sam Adams, like a cranberry lambic, but they only had a keg and you had to get there soon.
This was how things were working back then.
It also didn’t hurt that I lived less than a mile from the Sunset Grill and Tap (which is still one of the top beer bars in Boston) which had some 80 beers on tap and another several hundred in bottles. They had all these crazy beers like lambics that were just amazing. For perspective, I left Boston in 1991, and moved to Fullerton, CA for graduate school. There, I did a lot more homebrewing because I couldn’t always afford the good stuff.
It was funny, my own advisor joked that I should be a brewer (a few years ago I actually got to make a tribute beer to him, an olde ale), not that he didn’t think I could be a marine biologist, more that I knew how to brew too and had a passion for it. Funny, while there, I started getting to know the local brewers and even helped pour at a tasting for Red Nectar once, where I got all this schwag from them too, which was so cool. There was even this upstart brewery at this tasting, these guys from Temecula who made this really bitter beer called Blind Pig, I didn’t care for that one as much as some of their other brews (I wasn’t a hophead yet).
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Barleywine, Belgian Strong Ale, Scotch Ale and if it were a style Christmas Ales
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Ohh this is tough, I guess Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, and Bush (Scaldis)
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
Probably Dogfish Head, everything they make is dead on and they are fearless in making beers.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
I’ve been a homebrewer for some 20 yrs now, I don’t do much nowadays though.
I’ve brewed a lot of interesting beers like my own rauchbier where I smoked the grain myself with Hickory and Mesquite, a watermelon Wit, and a Baklava mead where in addition to the honey I added cinnamon and clove, Toasted Walnut Torani coffee syrup, and took a subset out and fermented it with Pediococcus damnosus, for the diacetyl.
As a professional brewer I have made some crazy beers also, including a hopless beer called Love Potion, which was a tripel made with honey, ginger, and rose petals. Other crazy beers named for the food that they taste like (Apple Streudel Tripel, Snickerdoodle), and 10, a beer I made for two different brewpubs I have worked for when they hit their 10th anniversary. It was made with 10 different malts, 10 hops added every 10 minutes of the boil, 10 bbls made, and 10% abv.
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
In general, beer and bbq, but beer and cheese is good and at Halloween I do a Beer and Candy pairing.
7. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
Head Brewer for the Copper Canyon Brewery in Southfield, MI
2. If you could change your career at this very moment, without any restrictions on what you could do, what would you want to do and why?
Maybe adapt my current avocation to being owner/brewer
3. Are you married? Children?
Single with just a dog, Flipper
4. Outside of beer and Twitter, what are some of your other hobbies?
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
Even though it isn’t a true style, I would be a Christmas ale, to quote Don Russell in Christmas Beer: “unlike other beer varieties-…- Christmas beers do not represent a specific style. There are no rules, no brewing guidelines. Christmas beer is whatever a brewer wants to make- as long as it’s special” . You might say I am special (boy am I setting myself up here). I am not a standard person, I am a tad eccentric or more appropriately spicy.
2. You were caught smuggling beer illegally, which has now been made punishable by death. Right before you are sent to the executioner, you are offered one last beer. What beer would you chose and why?
Always been a fan of Bush (Scaldis) Noel, otherwise a vintage Thomas Hardy’s or Samiclaus will do.
3. If I contracted you to brew a beer (or design a beer recipe) called “The Beer Wench” — what style would you chose and what, if any, extra ingredients would you add?
It would be a belgian ipa with Brett to dry it out, it would be spicy, yet fruity, with tons of flavor. It would ring in at 7.5%, and everyone would wonder what else is in there (because I will have accented the beer with other spices like black, white and red pepper, cardamom, and coriander).
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Sanitize ray from my eyeballs.
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
I reserve the right to avoid incriminating myself ;^)
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
It should be made a food group.
CHEERS TO TODD PARKER FOR BREWING AMAZING BEER AND CREATING COMPELLING TWEETS ABOUT BEER!