Beer Blogger Interview
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!
1. Where did you grow up?
I am an Army brat. My father was in the British Army, so we moved between Germany and the UK a lot, eventually we settled in the Outer Hebrides off the West coast of Scotland, so I consider that home.
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
At school I played the traditional British sports, football (soccer), rugby and cricket. I played soccer for my college, and more recently played cricket for an expatriate team in Prague, Czech Republic.
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
My dad was a homebrewer for a while when I was about 11, so it would have been his homebrewed bitter.
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 legal beer was Guinness on my 18th birthday in the restaurant/pub we went to for a birthday dinner, I only drank Guinness back then because my brother drank it.
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 studied theology at the Birmingham Bible Institute in England. I played in the soccer team, did some table tennis, as well as sneaking off for a few pints of Caffrey’s in the afternoons – as a religious college drinking was frowned upon, but I found my local pub for the next three years on my first afternoon in Birmingham!
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:
One of my friends in Prague had worked for Shepherd Neame, a family brewer from Kent in England, and had raved about their beer to me at every available opportunity. On one of my visit’s to my brother living in Kent, we went to a pub that had Bishop’s Finger on draught, a simply magnificent strong English ale which changed my view of beer completely and is still my favourite beer whenever I can get it.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
The first time I had Kout na Šumavě 10° pale lager in a pub in Prague. That a 4% abv lager could have more flavour, body and all round general goodness than many a stronger beer was astounding, the fact that their 12° pale lager was even better almost blew me away.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
Fuggled started in April 2008
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I had decided to start brewing my own beer, because at the time ales were few and far between in the Czech Republic and I wanted to make my own stout. The blog started as a record of brewing experiments, evolved into beer tastings and has since evolved into covered almost all things to do with beer, homebrew and pubs.
3. Why did you chose the name of your blog?
I thought was being clever by playing with the name of the Fuggles hop, little knowing that Fuggled is apparently street talk for “fucked”. I never had any intention of changing the name when I learnt that because after a skin full of Fuggles hopped ale, I guess you would be gloriously fuggled.
4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
My hope is that Fuggled is thought of as a blog which is more than just another tasting note blog or another blog full of homebrew recipes. I want Fuggled to be seen as written by someone who knows what they are talking about, and is a half decent writer. I would love Fuggled to be a springboard to writing more professionally about beer, but I need to earn my dues first through the blog.
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
Getting free beer is great of course, but the people I have met as a result of the blog are even better, when you meet people who read your blog and like what you are saying that makes it worthwhile. An example would be one night in Prague sat in my local, which was packed, when a Norwegian couple came in. The pub had lost their reservation, so I told my friend to shift up the bar a bit and grabbed the couple some chairs,we got chatting and I asked how they knew about this pub when they had come from Norway and the guy starts raving about my blog and how much he loves my writing. My jaw quite literally dropped, and my friend had to tell the guy that he was sitting next to and speaking with the writer of Fuggled – it took me a while to get over the shock of having my writing raved about.
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
A very, very difficult question, but I would have to say:
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Stout, Pilsner, Weizen
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Kout na Šumavě, Bell’s Brewing, Fuller’s
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
Fuller’s – I think working for an independent, family owned brewery which has been operating for over a century would be a real education in the value of making beer which is well made and appealing, rather than some of the more extreme breweries which made very random beers and seem to have more of a love for publicity than for beer.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
Yes I homebrew. My favourite recipe is my lime witbier, called LimeLight. I am making a special batch of it for a friend’s wedding in April. Very close behind would be Machair Mor, a chocolate malt heavy imperial stout which is so smooth and moreish that it is easy to forget that it is 9.5%abv.
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?
Nope, though I am thinking about doing the BJCP.
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
I sometimes find the whole beer and food pairing stuff a bit waffly and pretentious. Beer is, afterall, the people’s drink and as such I find that it “pairs” best with the people’s food. A classic best bitter with a ploughman’s lunch is great, as is a proper Czech pilsner with goulash and dumplings. Having spent the last ten years in Prague, it is difficult not to think that a properly made Czech pilsner goes with just about any food I care to eat.
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
Business Development Director for a web design 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?
I am sure you get this answer a lot, but I would love my own pub. One of the things I love about beer is the social nature of the drink and usually of those people who love beer, so why not spend your life surrounded by that world? A tad idealistic I am sure, but I would love to be behind the bar.
3. Are you married? Children?
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
I am an avid reader, especially about religion and philosophy, even though I am no longer actively religious. I am very interested in politics. I love listening to music, especially The Smiths, The Jam and Starflyer 59, but also I like classical music and opera. I enjoy watching sports, in particular soccer (I am a Liverpool fan) and rugby, even though as a Scotsman, it can be very depressing watching rugby.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
Stout – essentially very simple, but with a depth of complexity.
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?
One last Kout na Šumavě 10° lager, preferably from a “tuplák”, a Czech 1 litre glass.
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?
A black cherry infused imperial milk stout, something you would have in small doses, but every dose would be an illicit pleasure.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
The power to generate force fields to protect those most important to me.
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
Does 10 years boozing in Prague count?
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
The finest food on the planet, and the perfect accompaniment to any beer.
SPECIAL THANKS TO FUGGLED FOR AN AWESOME INTERVIEW!