DRINK WITH THE WENCH PRESENTS:
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!
INTRODUCING BEER TWEETER: BRYAN PRYOR
TWITTER HANDLE: @suedefog
CURRENT LOCATION: Papillion, NE
1. Where did you grow up?
Waterloo, IA, and moved to Sigourney, IA, when I was 14.
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
I played JV basketball for ONE YEAR. I was the last fella on the team. But, when I scored the only two points of my career, the whole team cheered. That’s what being Dennis Miller on a basketball team is like.
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
I remember my dad gave me a sip when I was around 4, and like most kids, I didn’t know what I had! But, my first beer was when I was 14.
4. If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?
Imagine! I move to a town of 2000, and mere months later I hit the sauce. I was 14, and we were road tripping on our way to Shakey’s pizza for dinner before we drove back for the pomp and circumstance of the Sigourney High School Winter Formal. My green silk shirt left no doubt who was the cock of the walk. I had the beer(s) in the car, and it was a can of Budweiser, FULL STRENGTH.
5. Where, if applicable, did you go to college? What did you study? What additional activities, organizations, sports did you partake in during college?
Never did the normal college thing. I joined the Air Force after High School. I’ve been a medic and linguist. Now I’m in the Reserves as a Bioenvironmental technician (OSHA, EPA, Industrial Hygiene, etc)
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 epiphany happened in a roundabout way: I was 20, and in Saudi Arabia. As I was leaving the shower tent (stay with me here) I noticed one of our pilots had left his ID there. This was a BIG DEAL; this could manifest asspain by the boatloads. So, when I gave it back to him, he was REALLY happy, and told me, “When we leave and get to Shannon (Ireland), you’re getting a Guinness.
Well, I hadn’t ever had a Guinness. When we got there, I hung back like a puppy at the store not wanting to get noticed, but desperately wanting to be picked. When he saw me, he yelled, “Pryor! Get over here!” So, he bought me the beer. After they poured the Guinness, I went right for it.
Frenchy (that was his callsign) said, “No wait! You have to let it settle, then, they’ll top it off. THEN you drink it.”
I said, “Wow. Thanks, Yoda.”
He replied, “One day, you too will become Jedi.”
So I told you that to tell you this. I was stationed in Utah at the time. When I got back, I turned 21. I don’t think I EVER had a Bud, Coors, etc, in my fridge because of that experience. It was about that time the Wasatch Brewery opened, and I had their Hefe-Weizen. That’s when I KNEW there were great beers out there. Long story, but worth it.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
I spent most of the past decade in England, so that was just a reinforcement of good beer. I came back to Omaha, and two places: Upstream Brewing (the Scotch Ale will curl your toes, as well as the traditional cask-conditioned ale), and Nebraska Brewing Company (NEBREWCO) are what finally solidified it. I live one mile from NEBREWCO, and that whole place is built on making great beer, and trying new things with it.
Paul Kavulak, the owner, has done a LOT for craft brewing in Nebraska. I wish I’d been there for the Great Nebraska Brew Fest that was put on just outside NEBREWCO’s door. I’m partial, because he’s also a great guy. That place has made me want to brew my own beer, and gotten me interested in everything about beer besides my original interest: drinking it.
Another was last year. Bourbon County Stout. On tap. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, it could, “make a bishop kick in a stained glass window.”
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Wow…Bryan’s Choice? I love them all, but the Stouts, Porters, and IPAs usually are favorite. That’s like asking me my favorite thing about women.
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Well I have to go with Nebraska Brewing Company because it’s so close and what it’s done regarding my interest in beer. Then Goose Island, because I’ve never had a bad beer from them, ever. I was set up with a brewery tour New Year’s Eve 2008, and exponentially fell more in love with them afterward. I think Greg Hall’s brother gave us the tour, and his excitement about brewing was no joke. If I had to pick just ONE more? Right now, I’d say Dogfish Head. I can’t get enough of them of late.
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
Goose Island. I absolutely loved that place, and everyone there was HAPPY to be working on New Year’s Eve.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
Not yet. When I get home in January, I’m on it like Professor Frink.
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)??
CBBS. Just a certified beer BSer. My interest is high, so there’s nowhere to go but up. I’ve seen so many people in my life who try to get titles and memorize phrases that they’ve forgotten the passion behind what made them want to go far in that endeavor to begin with. If I ever do get any of those, I want to be able to remember that being an, “expert,” is fleeting.
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
Either that rare/medium rare steak I marinated in La Terrible I forgot was left open in the fridge, paired with Dogfish Black and Blue (I fell ass-backwards into this. The BEST THINGS EVER IN LIFE are NOT planned!), Encased meats and large quantities of Warsteiner, or just straight up Pizza and Beer.
7. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
Well, there’s yours simply because you not only have a taste for the stuff, you have fun doing it, and you really, really know how to put a sentence together. Second is tie between Ratebeer and Hopcast, and finally I’d go with Beer Runner. This is a toughie, because I have the attention span of a beagle, and click on links to other great blogs like that monkey in the old Mercury space program films would flip switches, so I’ve been to myriad great sites, but don’t save them.
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
I’m a defense contractor in Omaha, NE, and a Reservist in the AF.
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’d take my training in Industrial Hygiene/workplace safety and use it to get a job at a brewery. I’d absolutely love to assure everyone they were all safe while brewing great beer. But man, I’d LOVE to open a brewery in Monterey, CA! I spent two years there, and I could spend my life there if the right woman had enough money.
3. Are you married? Children?
4. Outside of beer and Twitter, what are some of your other hobbies?
I’ve been kettlebelling for two years, and am avidly looking forward to getting my instructor certification in April. I also run, and do Krav Maga. My friends and I regularly have Scotch tastings at our houses. I read mostly non-fiction except Ray Chandler and Cormac McCarthy.
I quit cigarettes, but still love a good cigar. Love movies that make you think that are heavy in dialogue; the kind you watch over and over and find something new. A good example is isn’t a movie per se; the BBC miniseries, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
I’m also into retro, old cars, pinups, and tattoos. Music runs the entire spectrum. On top of it all I try to study the languages I’ve learned, and I love to travel. Beer has played a great part in that as well; having a beer at a neighborhood local is a great way to see how people really are. I go around hitting people for misuse of, “their, they’re, and there.”
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
Anything aged in casks, because I am as well. I’d have to say though, something that’s traditional but taken out a new door.
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?
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. It’s like drinking VELVET. As many as I could have.
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 be a Chocolate Porter, simply because of the sweetness and the IN YOUR FACE I suspect you may have. I wouldn’t add much extra except chiles, because something that good already doesn’t need a lot of BS mucking up the works.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Hmm…can I be a Greek god instead? Good. I’d be Testicles.
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
I’ve managed to compact a lot in 32 years, but one stands out right now simply because I was on about it yesterday:
Skidded down a runway in Crete after a mission, able to see down the runway through the window on the side of the plane. You couldn’t have pulled a needle out of my ass with a tractor that day.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
There is no reason you CAN NOT have it every meal. Forget the toast, the potatoes; ALL FILLERS that’ll be turned into fat anyway. Eat that bacon! Ohhhh man! I had the Elvis Burger at the Vortex in Atlanta two weeks ago with a Sweetwater Festive. 1/2lb burger, peanut butter, bacon, and fried bananas. Kramer said it: “It’s like a circus in your mouth.”
One of my best friends makes bacon, so I get it fresh. You can’t live without bacon. There’s a skit from, “That Mitchell and Webb Look,” in the UK that has a great quote(and you posted it last week)”Pigs are expensive, pink and annoying, but they are also delicious, which is why we breed so many of them.”
SPECIAL THANKS TO BRYAN FOR HIS AWESOME INTERVIEW AND GREAT BEER TWEETS!
Wenchie ~ I can’t believe you interviewed my buddy Bryan! Too Cool!!! Beer Tweeters ROCK!!!
Nice interview and thanks for the Hop Cast shout out!
Thanks for your service to our country! Great interview.