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: DOUGLAS DERDA
Beer Blogger Interview
1. Where did you grow up?
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Baseball, hockey, curling, bowling, cross country running, bocce and horseshoes.
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
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 girlfriend was breaking up with me and I was sitting in my room on the phone with her. I put her on hold, went to the basement and got a bottle of the finest beverage in the house… 16oz Golden Anniversary. I still have the bottle!
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 attended the University of Pittsburgh studying computer science with a minor in English. Honestly every waking minute was in the computer center. It was 1994 and the web was still in diapers. Those were some glorious days of AOL 1.5 and using MUD’s. I played hockey, was also the President of Theater Club and co-founder/capt. Of the UPT Swim Team… our college drinking team. You couldn’t say “drink drank or drunk” in the dorms without getting searched so we would “go for a swim”. Ironically we all did swim for real on wednesday night at the open pool.
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 can recall vividly the first craft beer I ever drank. It was 1996 and I was hanging out at the Shaggy Dog in Erie. The bartender Randy asked me if I wanted to try something different from the “special cooler”. The Dog had a reputation as a dive college bar so I was shocked to see a cooler of non bud/coors/miller beers. It was thought the heavens opened and angels sang to me. After that I got into Blackened Voodoo and Mississippi Mud. Imagine my surprise when I found out Railbender was made right up the road.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
I moved to Pittsburgh in 1998 and that started an “epiphany” on a regular basis. I ventured to my first microbrews and breweries. I had no idea so many great beers were made here so I would say every experience was new for the first few beers. My first “holy shit this is great beer” was Coco Beware from Foundry Ale Works (now closed) in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. That was the first time I had a beer acid trip as I like to call it. After a couple pints I remember being at peace, seeing trails following my hands and was in a state of bliss. The Imperial Stout was my new best friend.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
My blog has been around for over a year and podcast started on May 5th, 2006
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
The blog started as an extension of the podcast. I had enjoyed writing in the past but the passion was gone until I sat down one night and said “wtf lets give beer writing a shot”. The podcast started because sickpuppy (my co-host and drinking buddy) and I were listening to all of these craft beer podcasts that were boring, felt too stuffy and really talked down to you. There was a need for a show that was entertaining and educational and also invited the Bud/Coors/Miller fans to give something new a try, not shun them away. That’s how “Should I Drink That” was born and the tagline “Even if it’s crap, we drink it so you don’t have to”. You can say we’re Happy Hour for your ears.
3. Why did you chose the name of your blog?
The blog is “Hump Day Happiness”. It’s a weekly beer review to get you over the weekly hump. The podcast, “Should I Drink That?” is a question we were asked a lot at bars. The answer is usually YES!
4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
From the start of Hump Day the goal was to help me with beer writing and my overall expression of my palate. I wanted to expand my education beyond Should I Drink That. If I know that through my podcast or blog, if I can help educate beer drinkers and convert a few beyond the world of Bud/Coors/Miller then I know it was worth it or as I like to say “education through inebriation”
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
The first time someone recognized me in public as the beer guy I think will always be the coolest. Close runners up would be a piece written about SIDT in the 2008 July/August issue of DRAFT and being twice named finalists of Podcast Awards. Since then I still get geeked when I’m invited to cover beer festivals. The biggest news was being featured in the March 2010 Pittsburgh Magazine followed up by interviewing Lew Bryson about the Philly Beer Raids.
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
IPA, RIS, Scottish Wee Heavy
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Erie Brewing Company, Southern Tier Brewing, Avery Brewing
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
Dogfish Head. Sam and his crew come up with some of the craziest styles of beer that I would love to be able to sit in on a session when they’re brainstorming on the next new brew.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
I wish. I have a 13mo old son so I haven’t had much time for anything new.
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?
same as above. Something I’d like to do someday
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
O’Fallon Smoke with a 2lb rib eye steak that I sear and grill myself. I actually make this insane Gorgonzola Potato IPA soup with Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
I’m a social media coordinator and multimedia specialist.
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?
A dream job would is to be the social media/web coordinator for a brewery. The internet is my life and I love craft beer. Besides that I would love to run my own restaurant/bottleshop. (In PA we can’t buy beer at convenience stores or super markets (yet) so we have to rely on bottle shops to buy singles or 6 packs.) I know what I want and what would be successful.
3. Are you married? Children?
Married for 4.5 years to Lushie and have a 13mo son (Teaspoon)
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
HUGE hockey fan, civil war buff, promoting local music and cooking.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
Double IPA. A lot of character, sometimes bitter, always smooth and great to watch a game with.
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?
Either the beer I was smuggling so I know it was worth it or a DFH120 Minute so by the time I got to the executioner I would be kicked in the butt and at peace.
3. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Wolverine’s claws. He never needs a bottle opener
4. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
Afterparty of Podcamp Pittsburgh 2. Dressed as a priest and after many MANY Dogfish Head’s I tried changing water into wine at a table of Pgh Steelers gf’s, Being asked to leave is putting it nicely. After that would be covering Beer on the Bay in Erie for 6 hours in the sun, heading to BrewErie for an afterparty hat lasted 6 hours and then the after AFTER party which was another 2 hours. We ended up crashing the hotel room of Main Street Brewing and drank beer with them. Only thing crazier… getting married.
5. What are your thoughts on bacon?
In a perfect world, everything is bacon.
SPECIAL THANKS TO DOUG FOR AN AWESOME INTERVIEW!