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: THOMAS HAM
AUTHOR OF: THE AVERAGE BEER SNOB
Full name: Thomas Ham
Internet nickname (if applicable): Ummm. antioch or Average Beer Snob (as of a few weeks ago)
Twitter handle: AverageBeerSnob
Name of blog: Super creative… It’s Average Beer Snob!
Current location: Riverside, California
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Chino, CA. If you’ve seen the OC you’ve heard of it!
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
I played t-ball for 2 seasons until I got beaned and cried. Then I played soccer for one season until I got kicked and cried. Then I played roller hockey from about 11 until 21 or so (I never cried).
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
Sip of beer? Well, I was probably 6 or so, but it also had a cigarette butt in it! Then, I’d say about 16, but it was Mickeys! Then I’d say real beer was probably about 18.
4. If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?
I saw a Coors light can sitting in the back yard after some people were over the night before at my parents house (I was six!) and I drank some of it! I might have vomited after it, but I can’t remember.
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 did the Community College Circuit for about 4 years and then transferred to a private university where I am about 2 semesters away from a double degree in History and Political Science. But, I quit doing that a few years ago. As for additional activities, organizations or sports… I just wore skinny tight black jeans, was a vegetarian and talked about obscure hardcore bands with other kids that looked just like me instead of going to class.
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 think I was at this little bar in Redlands called The Royal Falconer with a buddy Pieter. We both drank Guinness, Boddingtons, Bass or anything else that was Irish or English. We loved going there because they had this sweet patio where we could puff away on tobacco pipes.
When I walked in for maybe the 3rd time and ordered a Guinness a guy at the bar told me to get Arrogant Bastard, it’d put hair on my chest. I then asked him what that was. He just told me to get it, so I did and I about had a heart attack! The stuff was strong and bitter! OH MY!
I struggled to drink the whole pint and vowed never to drink that horrid stuff again… Until the week after when I ordered it again! After that my wallet started to empty out.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
I’d say when I finally got my hands on some brews from Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA a few years back I had a renewed interest in Craft Beers and almost completely stopped drinking Irish and English imports. Recently I found a love of Belgian (style) ales because of The Bruery in Placentia.
I live about 30 minutes from here and went down there a month ago. The first night I thought some of the brews were good, but nothing amazing. They were interesting though, Belgian style ales brewed with some flare! But, the other weekend I got to get my hands on some Melange No. 3 and I dropped 200 bucks to become a Reserve Society Member right away.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing Average Beer Snob?
I’ve been writing my blog for about 3 weeks. I’ve thought about it for months though, maybe even years.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I don’t know. I think I heard something on NPR about bloggers and thought it’d be fun to do a niche blog. I loved reading beer blogs and thought I could do that! The only downfall is I am a terrible writer, with terrible taste buds.
3. Why did you chose the name of your blog?
Well, I am a blue collar worker with an average palate, low self esteem, no money, no class and a low vocabulary. So, I figured the Average Beer Snob would be great! I can tell you what I like and why I like it, but I don’t want any big words clouding my reviews. I don’t need the technical lingo to see that a beer is good.
4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
World power. Or at least one brewer/pub owner/whatever to give me one free beer! Or a few regular readers would be nice too.
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
Well, I never thought I’d get responses from any companies on my reviews. I did get a response from Sierra Nevada on my review of Life & Limb, but then I realized my Tweet about the review was kind of forceful and sounded like I was telling them to read it. So, that made me feel like a jackass.
I also got a Twitter response to some mocking I was doing of Widmer Brothers from someone at Widmer… Told me I need to go to the brewery before I pass judgment on their beers. I guess those are cool since I got big companies to respond, but they’re kind of bad ways to get responses. They’re not free beer or a t shirt or anything.
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
I’m a west coast boy. IPA’s are up there. Porters are close to my heart. American Strong Ales are fun.
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
The Bruery, Dogfish Head and Russian River.
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
HMMmmm. Budweiser? I could probably make some pretty sweet coin from those guys!
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
Working on it, but not yet.
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?
I love cheese and strong ales together. YUM!
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
I work for a phone company.
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?
Can I change who I want to be? I want to be Steve Jobs! Yeah! Then I can get the cool new toys before they come out!
3. Are you married? Children?
Married to a great wife that doesn’t get too mad after I spend a lot of money on beer. As for kids, I just said I spend a lot of money on beer… (If ya don’t get it… No, no kids yet.)
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
TV. Love me some Dexter, Scrubs, House, 30 Rock, and other junk. I also like to just hang out around a fire and smoke and drink.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
I’d say I’d be… A DIPA. Strong on the outside but kind of sweet on the inside… Or I’d be a English Stout… They’re so damn sarcastic!
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?
Trappist Westvleteren 12. I’ve never been able to try it! Flying to Belgium is kind of expensive ya know?
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?
American Blonde Strong Ale. You’re blond. You’re strong. As for ingredients… Lets add a dash of wit, a pinch of sarcasm and a handful of angst.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Flying. Ever since I saw the Ferngully when I was a kid I wanted to fly. I now realize that fairies being your reason for wanting to fly is kind of gay, but it’s the truth!
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
I’m pretty much not exciting.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
I don’t eat pork. It’s disgusting and salty! BLAH!
SPECIAL THANKS TO THOMAS FOR HIS ABOVE AVERAGE INTERVIEW!