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: MARIA SCARPELLO
AUTHOR OF: THE ROAMING PINT
Beer Blogger Interview
1. Where did you grow up?
Born in Omaha, NE – “Grew up” in Lawrence, KS
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Almost all of them… past college we play rec softball and indoor soccer. Shout out to Snakes on the Plains!
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?
It was a Keystone Light that we stole out of my friend’s Mom’s refrigerator. Yuck!
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 graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors degree in Graphic Design and a Masters in Design Management. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
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’m not sure there was one specific moment that I can recall thinking “oh so THIS is what good beer is actually supposed to taste like”. Actually, what I do remember is having a difficult time at first, tasting beers that were warmer than I was used to. I recall a gradual exploration into many different styles from the brewery that burst my craft beer cherry, Free State Brewing Co. I also give a lot of credit to our local homebrew club, Lawrence Homebrewers Guild for expanding my horizons. I joined a few years back when Brian started homebrewing with our good friend Dane, to understand how to better inform my palate. The members are very knowledgeable and were calling out flavors in the beers that I never would have thought of! Now thanks to them I can pick out coriander or clove and understand when other beer geeks complain that a beer hasn’t attenuated.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
Our blog officially launched in August 2011 but we’ve been on our brewery tour since August 2010.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
Traveling around in our RV we’ve come across too many resources that were not mapping things out for us. When we are in a new area, all I know is that little blue dot on our iPhone Maps app and that’s about it. As we continued to travel and get recommendations from locals or other beer friends we realized we had a lot of great suggestions that were simply too good not to share! There are a few other websites that map out great beer destinations but we hope to add a personal touch, with local insider tips, photos, video interviews and the quickest link to a map. If you know what you are looking for a map is only two clicks away!
3. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
Brian is the creative brain when it comes to naming things around here. We roam around a lot because 1. You are more likely to stumble upon things you didn’t know existed 2. It’s too damn difficult to make plans when frankly you can do anything you want roaming is easier and 3. The end result of most of our roaming was a pint!
4. What are your personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
The main goal has always been to provide a map-based search directory for great beer destinations. A close second has been focused on creating content that people enjoy and want to interact with. Living full-time on the road is tough only in the sense that, at times, we are far away from our friends and family. When our fans comment on our Facebook posts or website it makes us feel like we aren’t so far away and they are with us on our journey.
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
Definitely the people we’ve met. Since the launch just over a month ago, we’ve had the opportunity to sponsor the Great Nebraska Beer Fest, in which I also was the guest MC, and that was the weekend we met @BeachBumChris and @Darthweef of @NewBrewThursday. We were flattered to be mentioned in their Tallgrass Oasis video as “gypsies” that Stephen wants to live with.
6. What are your top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
I’ve always found high quality content on Craftbeer.com, but as far as personal beer bloggers I mostly read posts from Lee Williams of Hoptopia, The Beer Wench and Whiskey and Beer Bros. I also really enjoy reading articles from @ColoBeerMan and being a designer I LOVE Oh Beautiful Beer’s elegant display of beers and labels.
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Amber, Black Ale or Black IPA and Stout/Porters are typically my favorites.
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
– All have good food, great beer and awesome people!
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
Free State Brewing Co. because they are my favorite. Although, we just went on the New Belgium tour and they do have some incredible employee perks including: bikes, a beer trip to Belgium on your 5th year anniversary with the company and a 2 month sabbatical to explore as you wish on your 10 year anniversary! Love that!
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
Brian brewed for a while when we were living in a actual “home”. They would sucker me into helping when all I wanted to do was drink their beer. Clean labels off beer bottles? No thank you! All you can drink delicious home brews? Yes Please! My favorite one he brewed was the Midnight Ale.
5. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
Any daily special from Free State Brewing paired with any seasonal brew they are pouring. Clearly I love this place, if you’ve been you know what I mean, if you haven’t you better go find out!!
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
I spend the majority of my time now traveling and working on the Roaming Pint. I am also the MF’CEO of Working On Not Working.
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 actually did just that when we decided over a year ago that we would purchase our first RV and hit the road. I enjoyed most parts of my previous career as a Sales Solutions Manager at a software company but made the most liberating decision of my life when I quit my job and opened a whole new world of possibilities for myself. When we first started we did not set out to be on a brewery tour, but now that we have completely immersed ourselves in the industry there is no turning back for me.
3. Are you married? Children?
Brian and I have been together for 10 years but have yet to tie the knot. 2 dogs are all the children we need.
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
Closely related to beer I absolutely love to tailgate. We are huge Jayhawk fans and also enjoy watching soccer, especially the World Cup. I love hosting parties, cooking and surrounding myself with friends.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be and why?
I asked Brian to answer this for me. He said “a Stout or a Porter on nitro because I’m bold and smooth and like black guys”. HA! He is very white.
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?
C4 from Free State. If I had to drink one beer for the rest of my life it would be the same answer. Mmm it’s so good I want one right NOW.
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?
Eeek, I’m not a brewer so I had to defer to Brian on this one as well. We have collaborated and decided on a Gosa with black peppercorns, salty with a kick!
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Easy, I would want to fly, so I could go anywhere at anytime. I wonder if you can get a FUI?
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
Skydiving in Switzerland was pretty crazy. Glad I lived to tell it.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
Fucking love it. Crispy yes please? BLT’s in the summer with corn? Oh yeah!