Featured Beer Tweeter: JULIA BURKE

Written by The Beer Wench. Posted in Blogger Interviews

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Featured Beer Tweeter: JULIA BURKE

Published on December 12, 2009 with 2 Comments


The Beer Tweeter Interview Series

Beer bloggers are not the only people using social media to share their passion for and knowledge of craft beer. Twitter is one of the most important tools in today’s craft beer industry. Beer tweeters all over the world are influencing and impacting the way people interact with and experience craft beer. The Beer Wench has embarked upon a mission to interview as many beer tweeters that she can — from all over the world.

Are you a beer tweeter? Do you want to share your story? Send me an email!



AKA @NYWineWench

FROM: Buffalo, NY


Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

I was a military brat so I’ve lived in southern California, Cape Cod, Worcester, and Washington, D.C, but I’ve been in Buffalo for over ten years.

2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?

I was always into individual sports; I did martial arts for six years, played tennis since childhood, and have been a runner since I was a high school freshman.

3. How old were you when you had your first beer?

My dad was always letting me try his beer at dinner when I was a kid. I remember being six and him encouraging me, “Just keep trying it. It’s an acquired taste.” Knowing my dad I’d bet it was a Heineken.

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 craft beer was Bridgeport Stout, when I was a high school senior visiting colleges in Portland, Oregon. My mom bought us a flight of beers at the Bridgeport Ale House after we looked at Reed College, and that might have been why I fell in love with the city.

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 started college in Portland, Oregon, which began my beer obsession, and then transferred to the University at Buffalo to be closer to home. I actually majored in Asian Studies – I was a fiend for Chinese culture and politics, and I spent a semester in China searching for flavorful alternatives to QingDao. I remember finding a Chinese stout, Yanjing, and buying cases because the beer was literally cheaper than water.


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:

The aforementioned Bridgeport Stout was definitely my first moment of craft beer awareness; I realized that the reason I wasn’t a big beer drinker at the time was that mainstream beer simply didn’t taste very good. I’d been drinking PBR like all the other underage kids, and the contrast between that stuff and this chewy, roasty stout bowled me over.

2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:

I had another epiphany a couple of years later, in China. My friend Stephanie, another Chinese language student, was one of the early beer gals in my life and a huge influence on me, and we spent a lot of time looking for decent beer in the Beijing bars. I remember being out one night and she spotted an IPA on a beer list, and asked me excitedly, “Do you like IPAs?” I had no idea, but I tried it and was instantly in love with the hoppy, fruity, amazing flavor. I don’t even remember the name of the beer – it was made at the pub – but it stoked a fire inside me and I was never the same. I realized that I simply had to learn more about the beer world, and I’ve been drinking insatiably ever since!


Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

Oatmeal Stout, Barleywine, Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

Impossible to narrow it down, so we’ll shoot for geographic diversity. Dogfish Head, Founders, and Hopworks.

3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?

Great Lakes. They make consistently phenomenal beer, their commitment to sustainability and responsible business is unparalleled, they’re located in a terrific beer city – and I come from a family of Buckeyes, so my Ohio roots go deep!

4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?

I have dabbled in homebrewing but have never had the space to really get into it. My first homebrew was a honey brown, but it got some sort of contamination so I thought I’d leave it in the basement for a few years and it would develop a respectable Belgian funk. That didn’t happen.

5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?
If a few years of bartending at a beer geek mecca doesn’t qualify you to pour a pint, I don’t know what does.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

I adore figs wrapped with bacon and a Trappist ale. And I’m a fiend for an IPA with a sharp cheese.

7. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?

I dig broads who blog. Three faves are brew.cook.pair.joy, The Beer Babe, and Sudsy Maggie – all are great in their own way and offer different perspectives. Obviously, Beer Advocate is my ultimate go-to resource for information and conversation. And I have to give mad props to Drink With the Wench, of course!


The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

I work at a winery on the Niagara Escarpment AVA, selling, pouring, making, talking about, and drinking wine. I also bartend at Pizza Plant, one of the best craft beer pubs in western New York!

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?

Though I love what I do right now, I’d be thrilled to be an importer of fine wines and beers from overseas. I love to travel and would like to incorporate that into my beer interests. I love the idea of exposing more people to better beer from all over the world.

3. Are you married? Children?

No, since I’m a bit of a vagabond, being unattached is a necessity. I can’t even keep houseplants. For example, I’m about to take off for three months to be a harvest intern at a winery in South Africa – that’s something you kind of need to be single for.

4. Outside of beer & Twitter, what are some of your other hobbies?

I love music – live shows, playing guitar, and listening to records – as well as hiking, cooking, languages, and traveling.


Off The Beaten Path

1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?

It’s a beer, not a style, but Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu. I love travel and Chinese culture and am a total geek, so I feel like it’s appropriate. Plus it’s a beer made with Muscat grapes, reflecting my tendency to swing both ways when it comes to beer and wine.

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?

Founders Breakfast Stout. It’s the ultimate comfort food beer – if I had one in my hand, I’d be so content I wouldn’t even be tempted to argue about capital punishment.

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?

It would need to be sassy with hops but voluptuous in malt character, so I’d make it a barleywine with a particularly sexy caramel/toffee mouthfeel but a bitch-slap of Chinook hops in the finish.

4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

The power to FINALLY convince women that if they’re going to drink five Mich Ultras, they might as well drink one or two real beers and enjoy themselves.

5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
I ate dog intestine once in a Korean restaurant. Also, I plan on going crocodile cage diving in South Africa, but whether I’ll live to tell the story remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

Having spent five years as a vegetarian and one year as a vegan at a less beer-y point in my life, I believe that I’ve earned the right to eat a disproportionate amount of bacon. Memorable bacon moments this year: caramelized candied bacon on Labor Day, dates wrapped in bacon at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and a bacon basket bar appetizer at Century Grill in downtown Buffalo.



Share This Post

Share this Article


There are currently 2 Comments on Featured Beer Tweeter: JULIA BURKE. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Wow, you’re heading to South Africa next – look forward to hearing about that adventure. Cheers!

  2. The reason many visit the pizza plant on tuesday night,
    Julia always know which beer to offer/suggest. Tuesday night at the Pizza Plant will not be the same without you.

    Julia, Bless wishes and do keep in touch. Please keep safe and have fun, learning experiencing and working

Leave a Comment