DRINK WITH THE WENCH PRESENTS:
The Beer Blogger Interview Series
Curious what goes on in the minds of your favorite beer bloggers? Well, The Beer Wench is and she has embarked upon a mission to interview as many beer bloggers that she can — from all over the world. Are you a beer blogger? Do you want to share your story? Send me an email!
INTRODUCING: BRAD KLIPNER
AUTHOR OF: BEER IN BALTIMORE
Beer Blogger Interview
Full name: Brad Klipner
Twitter handle: @BeerInBaltimore
Name of blog: BeerInBaltimore.com – respecting good beer in and around Baltimore, craft beer cheerleader of the world.
Current location: Baltimore, MD
1. Where did you grow up?
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Played and sucked at soccer from 10 yrs old through sophomore year of HS
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
Roughly 13 years old
4. If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?
A sip of Natty Boh (National Bohemian) while sitting outside on the front step with my late grandfather. Tasted AWFUL at the time! And then of course bad beer throughout high school and college.
5. Where, if applicable, did you go to college? What did you study? What additional activities, organizations, sports did you partake in during college?
Community college, business studies.. dropped out after 2 years to pursue a sales position… moved into a big comfy corporate job, was with the same company for just under 12 years; just laid off last month.
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:
First real beer that had me “turn the corner” and onto the path of righteous beer was Golden Monkey from Victory Brewing Co. I purchased it at a big wine/liquor store which also carried lots of craft beer singles. Honestly I bought a bottle because of the label. It’s a freakin monkey with 4 arms and a big eye on its belly. Of course I was buying it. But the taste! Oh my God. For such a big beer, it was full of flavor and so drinkable. I told friends and family it was like drinking banana bread.
That was the day I not only became a craft beer lover, but also a craft beer cheerleader. I began attending beer festivals JUST to drink Victory’s Golden Monkey and preach to the masses about how good it was, as well as chat with the folks from Victory. I was in love. That Belgian style tripel had me then seeking out true Belgians (Orval, Delirium Tremens, Chimay, Rochefort, etc. were some of my faves), then it was onto the amazing US craft beer scene where I found that many breweries here in the States are making some of the best beer on the planet.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
I’d say the next big craft beer epiphany was the “Drink Fresh, Drink Local” movement; thanks in most part to a local beer rock star, Tom Cizuaskas. Beer is best when it’s fresh, so you’re doing yourself a favor by purchasing local beer. You’re also helping the local economy and if you’re a true beer geek, there’s a good chance you’ve met some of your local brewmasters, local brewery sales reps, owner, etc… so you have a connection with those folks who you know are busting their tails to help keep these smaller, local breweries going… all while providing good beer. But in the grand scheme, it’s really about supporting good, flavorful beer, period.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
Since March 24, 2009
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
Good beer! There were a number of quality beer blogs that I followed for a while and have personally been so passionate about good beer, that I too wanted to join in and begin writing and cheering on craft beer. And while my site is called BeerInBaltimore, it’s also about the overall craft beer scene, not just tied down to only Baltimore.
3. Why did you chose the name of your blog?
Not the most clever name for the blog, I’ll admit… but it’s self-explanatory. Though Baltimore is a great beer town with a rich history, so people in this town are beer drinkin’ people and I thought the site would be a good way to spread the gospel of good beer to them and I’m proud of that.
4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
Honestly, the original goal was to cover the beer scene in Baltimore’s suburbs. There were already a handful of local beer blogs which covered everything going on downtown, but I felt like I could represent the burbanites as far as pointing them in the right direction, where to find good beer outside the city’s limits. Unfortunately, there isn’t much going on in terms off good beer in Baltimore’s ‘burbs, so the goal has shifted to good beer in ALL of Baltimore, as well as covering local breweries and craft beer news throughout the country/world that I feel is worthy of sharing.
Like I said above, we cover the local beer scene as well as beer-related news that interests ALL craft beer fans.
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
Being interviewed by the Beer Wench, duh! Oh and meeting tons of amazing people in the beer industry. From beer bloggers, writers and drinkers – to brewery owners, brewmasters and good beer bar owners/managers. There’s a special bond we all share and it’s great to chat with any of those folks over a pint or three.
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
My Google RSS Reader is filled with about 50 beer blogs from around the world, but here are my faves:
- YoursForGoodFermentables (Tom’s a fairly local guy who’s done it all in the beer biz and is a huge fresh/local beer and cask beer advocate)
- Brookston Beer Bulletin (Jay Brooks always comes hard with original and entertaining pieces)
- Drink With The Wench (Ashley’s site has come a long way in a short time and I can tell you that right now, I’ve got 4 tabs open from her site, because I still need to find the extra time to read her SD Beer Week recaps and watch her interview with Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione. This chica is passionate about beer and seems to be traveling every week, driven solely by good beer… and trying to land a job in the biz!)
- BeerScribe (Andy is a madman who could likely write for 7 straight days without stopping, his articles are always in-depth and interesting)
- ThankHeavenForBeer (Nate and Mike are good dudes who also bring lots originality and thought to the table, very interactive and passionate)
- And the “beer Bible” – BeerAdvocate. Ok that was more than 3, sue me!
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Hmm, a smooth yet big barleywine (English or US), Double IPA, Belgian Quad and as of late – barrel aged anything
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Heavy Seas (Clipper City Brewing Co.), Stone Brewing Co., Southern Tier Brewing Co.
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
I’d have to say Clipper City Brewing Co. (Heavy Seas), since they’re the biggest and best local brewery. Not to mention they’re doing some really big things this coming year and it’d be very exciting to be a part of it all.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
Not a homebrewer. Best quote I’ve heard concerning this question (you don’t have to publish this): Not a homebrewer, but I love good beer. I also love women, but I’m not a gynecologist.
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?
A big barleywine and the funkiest cheese I can find.
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
Dad to my 1 year-old daughter. Fell victim to a recent round of layoffs after nearly 12 years with a large telecommunications company which can now be called NBC.
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?
My passion is craft beer. No other true hobbies. I could see myself back in the marketing world or even sales, but only for good beer. And as the saying goes, “Do what you love. When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world.”
3. Are you married? Children?
Married 5 years with one child (17 months old)
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
Being the best father I can be, always making my daughter laugh, enjoying time with my family (including my awesome dog), passionate Baltimore Ravens fan.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
Orval, a style of its own!
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?
An aged St. Bernardus ABT12. Pretty much my “perfect beer”.
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?
Lots of Brett yeast and enough IBUs to blow out your eye sockets.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Ability to fly. No doubt.
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
One I can publicly share? During my college years, I broke into a private swimclub late one night while in college with 5 friends (2 girls, 3 guys), a backpack full of beer and skinny-dipped… until we got busted by cops… then had to go back and rescue one friend who got so scared, she climbed a tree naked and sat up there for an hour.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
I tried to hate on the bacon explosion in the past, but bacon freakin rocks. Just keep the crazy bacon concoctions to yourself (the bacon-infused vodka for example, noo thanks!) Just give me some tasty crispy bacon and I’m good.
SPECIAL THANKS TO BRAD FOR AN AWESOME INTERVIEW!