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: DESIREE KNOTT
AUTHOR OF: DESIREE’S BEER & WINE BLOG
Beer Blogger Interview
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up mostly in Tulsa Oklahoma but I was born in Colby Kansas and moved to Tulsa when I was ten.
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Growing up I didn’t play any sports but always wanted to play tennis. I finally got a late start and started playing when I was 25. I’m obsessed and play 3-4 times a week. I play on 2 USTA (United States Tennis Association) leagues and last year my team advanced to sectionals which is basically the playoffs to get to nationals. Unfortunately we choked BIG time!
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
Hmmm. Good question. I remember drinking my mom’s beers when she had parties at my house. I was pretty little, say five or six years old. (Don’t judge my mom; she didn’t know I was sneaking sips…)
4. If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?
My first full beer and not a sip? I would say it was when I was around 13. At the time the drinking age was 18 and I had older friends that could buy beer. If I recall correctly, we were standing in the alley behind a Red Bud grocery store and I downed a quart of Miller Lite on a dare. Ahhh, the memories.
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 married right out of high school. Girls, please don’t do this. I went to Phillips Jr. College in New Orleans when I was 21. My husband was a Marine and was stationed there. Being a mom of a three year old, working a day job and going to school at night, sports really didn’t play into the picture at the time. The degree was in electronics technology which eventually led to career in the IT world. My specialty was email administration and networking.
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 would say my first craft beer epiphany was when a friend of mine got into homebrewing. He made a pilsner that had so much more character than any beer I had ever tried. All I had ever had before that was the typical Bud and Coors beers. Before I tried that homebrewed beer, I didn’t think I liked beer. My friend didn’t stick with homebrewing for very long but at that point I stopped buying beer from the big three and started buying my beers from the liquor stores.
In Tulsa, beer at the grocery stores is 3.2% by weight. I wish I could remember the beer that I was obsessed with during that time. It was a craft brewery out of Washington. At that time in my life, I was still just drinking pilsners but they were better than what I had been drinking before!
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
Oh yes, I’ve had a few…
It was 8 years ago when I was at the Microsoft Exchange Conference and one of my buddies kept trying to get me to drink Black & Tans. I was still the pilsner girl… I kept saying the stereotypical, “NO, I don’t like dark beers!” I have to say I was shocked when I finally caved and agreed to drink one so he would stop hounding me. It was smooth and went down fast! At time I thought I was hot shit because I was a girl drinking Guinness. I don’t really drink Black & Tans very often anymore but they are a great transition beer towards drinking darker beers.
A few months later at another conference I discovered Hoegaarden Wit. I loved it but it was very expensive in Oklahoma so I started looking at other beers at the liquor store to find a beer that was similar but less expensive. From this I discovered Boulevard Zōn. It was then I really started noticing all the different breweries that were out there.
I have to say my most significant epiphany was when I met my husband and soul mate, Dave. Ever since I drank that homebrewed beer all those years ago I had thought about making my own beer but just didn’t know how to go about it. Well, Dave was a homebrewer and I desperately wanted to impress him. At happy hour with the other co-workers I would order whatever he was drinking. I wanted him to think I was cool.
I discovered Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and hops! I discovered Fullers ESB! I discovered that Dave was the most amazing man I had ever met and thank God he felt the same way about me! Two years after we met we opened our homebrew store, High Gravity. We’ve been in business for over 5 years now and my insatiable thirst for craft beers just keeps growing.
By the way, Hoegaarden isn’t expensive. I just thought it was…
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
I’ve been writing on my blog for almost a year now.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
My inspiration was mostly my customers. They love talking to me about beer and kept saying I should write about it and try to encourage more ladies to explore the world of beer. They all seem to be impressed with the fact that a girl can know so much about beer. Dave says they all wish they could be him.
3. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
I picked the name of my blog because I wanted it to be self explanatory. That, plus the fact that I’m not very clever and couldn’t think of anything else to call it.
4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
I want to explore craft beers and share my enthusiasm for all that is out there. My hope is to get more women to take a look at the vast array of styles and flavors and see that beer isn’t just Michelob Ultra.
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
The coolest thing has been finding all these amazing women like you, bruisinales, Taylor Shaw and Christina Perozzi. Women that TRULY LOVE beer. I thought I was all alone…
6. What are your top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
Do I get to list my own? Ok, I’ll try not to be self serving…
The American Homebrewers Association
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Damn. That’s a tough one to answer. I like sooooo many. If I have to choose I guess I would say American IPA’s, English Ales and anything Belgian.
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Ok, that’s not very nice. Only three? You’re mean.
Marshall Brewing Company, because that is Tulsa’s brewery and Eric, the brewmaster is a great guy.
Stone Brewing Company because they rock!
Avery Brewing Company because I love their beers and themes.
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
I would have to pick New Belgium. I love their dedication to the community and employees. Their commitment to sustainability and environmental philosophy is a model that we should all try to achieve. Just an amazing company.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
Yes, I’m an avid homebrewer. I’ve brewed several styles. I would say the most interesting is one that is in the fermenter and is getting kegged tomorrow. It is a Belgian Dubbel that has unrefined date sugar as an adjunct. I haven’t tasted it yet but it clogged the shit out of my bazooka screen when I ran it through the wort chiller. Apparently date sugar has a lot of insoluble fruit matter… I lost 3 gallons of wort.
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?
I’m currently a certified level BJCP judge. I took the test again last July and if I ever get my results back I expect to be a national level judge. I’ve got the experience points and just need the test results to move up.
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
I honestly don’t put enough thought into beer and food pairings but I love Russian Imperial Stouts with fruits like blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
My husband and I own High Gravity Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies. We gave up the “day” job a little over five years ago. This is way better.
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?
I already did. I gave up a very well paying job to lay it on the line and do something that was for us and not the corporate world. Scary too, let me tell you.
3. Are you married? Children?
I’m married to Dave, the love of my life. We both have children from previous marriages. My son Lewis is 24 and his daughter Amanda is 21. We became grandparents in October when Amanda had a little girl, Audrey.
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
I enjoy gardening but my other big hobby is tennis. Tennis tennis tennis. Love it.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be and why?
I’d be a Belgian Golden Strong because they are strong, complex, spicy, and effervescent with a nice body.
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?
J.W. Lee’s Harvest Ale aged in either Port or Sherry casks because they are sublime.
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?
When I hear the words beer wench I think of an English bar maid so I’d have to go with an English Extra Special Bitter. ESB’s are malty but also bitter with a subtle amount of diacetyl creating a complimentary light buttery flavor. The perfect combination of sweet, bitter and buttery. Everything a Beer Wench should be.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
As a kid I desperately wanted to be Samantha Stevens. That’s expecting a lot. Basically my super powers would be that I could grant any wish and make anyone’s dreams come true.
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
That’s easy. I quit my day job and opened a homebrew store. Everyone thought we were crazy. Dave parents, my parents, our friends and even the members of FOAM, our local homebrew club told us it would never work in the Bible belt of Tulsa Oklahoma. We are living life, version 2.0. The craziest but best upgrade ever.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
“I would like to shake the hand of the person who invented bacon.” ~ William Allen, my former boss at Williams when asked what his favorite food was. My sentiments exactly.
SPECIAL THANKS TO DESIREE FOR AN AWESOME INTERVIEW!
BEER CHICKS RAWK!