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: MARTY WALSH
AUTHOR OF: THE BEER GUY
Beer Blogger Interview
1. Where did you grow up?
Beverly Hills (South Side), Chicago, IL
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Jr Lifeguarding, Waterpolo (10 yrs, through college), Cross Country (4 years)
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?
First beer, I don’t know. First Craft beer, that I recall drinking and recognizing as something different, I was maybe 18? And it was a Pyramid IPA at my brothers house in LA. I hated it. It scared me away from IPAs for a long long time.
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 went to St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict (two schools, one institution, long story) in Collegeville and St. Joseph, MN. I played Club Water Polo for 4 years, Campus Greens (as in the Green Party), was a Teachers’ Assistant in the Economics Department, which was also my Major, along with a minor in Environmental Studies. I graduated in 2009.
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:
When I was a sophomore in college my girlfriend and I decided to do a 100 mile diet, which meant only eating foods grown and processed within 100 miles of where we lived. Because of that, I became very interested in processing foods from scratch and beer was a natural thing to do from scratch (especially since I wasn’t 21).
After one or two choices of recipes, which were based on the description on the side of the box and a little info in the back of John Palmer’s “How to Brew,” I realized I didn’t know jack-squat about beer or beer styles, and didn’t want to waste 5 gallons of beer and money and time on something I wasn’t going to like. I started buying (aka having my girlfriend, now my lovely wife buy) more craft beers of widely varying styles. I still love homebrewing, but there’s just too much out there that’s too good to not try it.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
Not so much epiphanies but just realizations. Beer and food go great together. You can drink craft beer and not get looked at as funny by non-drinkers as if you were drinking BMC beers.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
Just since October or so. I publish about three times a week.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
Our local paper, The St. Cloud Times has a blogging function on their website, www.sctimes.com. I was sick of two things, the lack of good beer in St. Cloud and the lack of anything other than political bickering in the blogs. So I applied some of the things I had learned about the beer community from various books and beeradvocate.com and started the blog.
3. Why did you chose the name of your blog?
The Beer Guy. Very simple, but that’s all it needed to be.
4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
I hope that I reach some people in my town (about 75,000 people) and get them to start drinking something other than Michelob Golden. There’s already a very intelligent wine community here, but people are often amazed that we carry 300 beers at our store, and apart from two or three bars in the city with the most restaurants per capita in the country from what I’ve heard, there isn’t much for good beer on tap. Hopefully I’ll get enough people educated and interested that they’ll change that, and I’ll be able to document that change.
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
Nothing much yet, I try to keep my identity a relative secret because I don’t want people to know what store I work at and think I’m just pimping it. Note I haven’t named it.
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
beeradvocate.com, mnbeer.com and beernews.org. Far and above my 3 of my 5 favorite websites probably, let alone about beer.
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Scotch Ales/Wee Heavies, Strong Ales, and anything in that general sessionable lager area.
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
New Glarus, Surly and Schell’s.
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
New Holland, just so I could have all the Dragon’s Milk I wanted.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
A casual brewer, the most interesting thing I have is in the carboy right now and is an apple ale. 2 parts hand pressed apple cider, one park dark brown ale.
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)??
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
A good, acidic hoppy beer with something creamy like Havarti or Alfredo Sauce.
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
Beer Geek/Specialist at a local “boutique” liquor store. Aka the clerk who knows about beer.
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?
An Economic Development Consultant/Director with Urban and Regional Planning involved. It’s just what I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m looking for that sort of work and waiting to get in-state tuition to go back to grad school.
3. Are you married? Children?
Married, no kids. Apartment and Budget is too small.
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
Cooking, especially with my wife and for groups of people. Also hiking up North or even just walking around the neighborhood.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be and why?
An Oak Aged, Very Malty Strong Ale. I would be almost as delicious as I am right now.
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?
Hmm, as I said I do love some Dragon’s Milk from New Holland, or something really rare like a really old J.W. Lees. No, anything in a Jeraboam Bottle. Put that sucker off as long as possible and be really drunk when it happens.
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 Dark Chocolate Infused Black DIPA with all the ingredients used by the Three Witches in MacBeth.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
Hmm. Perhaps off roading in a Taurus in a riverside industrial park where hobo’s are known to congregate, and getting stuck. Thank’s Doug, by the way. That’s all I can say.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
Fried, smoked, fresh, aged, carmelized, wrapped around a piece of Chicken, wrapped around a fillet, used to flavor other food, with pancakes, with sausage, with french toast, in french toast, in sausage….mmm, bacon stuffed sausage, in the morning in the evening, hungover, hunry, full. There’s always room for bacon. As long as it’s chewy.
SPECIAL THANKS TO MARTY FOR HIS AWESOME INTERVIEW!