Featured Beer Blogger: JOHNNY BROOKE

Written by Wenchie. Posted in Blogger Interviews

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Featured Beer Blogger: JOHNNY BROOKE

Published on February 16, 2010 with No Comments


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!

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Beer Blogger Interview

Full name: Johnny Brooke
Internet nickname: The Hammer, jbrookeiv
Twitter handle: @jbrookeiv, @beerreviewdude
Name of blog: Beer Review Dude
Current location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

Tucker, GA, 20 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta.

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

I played hockey as a kid, and I loved it, but they shut my league down, and it was the only one near me, so I was forced to quit. I did cross country in high school, mostly to stay in shape, and hated it. I played flag football in college.

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

16, during a cruise to Mexico, so it was legal.

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 family and I went on a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. During our time on the island, we went on an “excursion”, as they called it. We ended up on a beautiful, deserted beach, and our tour guide brought along homemade Mexican food and a cooler full of Cervesa Sol. I hated it, and only drank 3 sips.

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 college for 1 year at Berry College in Rome, GA and am still taking one last course online at Georgia State University. I’m majoring in Computer Information Systems, which is essentially a business degree with a focus on computer networking and databases. I wasn’t really active in organized clubs in college, besides a flag football team at Berry.

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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:

My experience was on m y 21st birthday (which happened to be 6 months ago) at the legendary Brick Store Pub in Decatur, GA. This pub is renowned for its’ vast selection of craft and Belgian beers. A friend of mine recommended the St. Bernardus Abt 12, which is served on draft at the Brick Store year round. This was the first beer I truly fell in love with, and I finally saw what the big deal about beer was.

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

My next biggest craft beer experience was acquiring a taste for hoppy beers. When my friends and I started reviewing beers on my site, we were all pretty new to drinking great beer. I had always thought that I hated hoppy beer, but realized I just hated overly bitter, hoppy beers. We reviewed an Imperial IPA (Harpoon Leviathan), and it totally changed my mind about hops. I loved the citrusy, grapefruit characteristics I picked up from the hops, and have never turned back.

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Beer Blog Background

1. How long have you been writing Beer Review Dude?

I started a cigar blog called The Weekly Cigar in April of 2009, but started publishing daily in early September of 2009. We started reviewing beer on that site around August of 2009. I started Beer Review Dude in February of 2010, as I wanted a full-time beer review blog.

2. What inspired you to start writing Beer Review Dude?

I had The Weekly Cigar, a blog that was cigar-centric. I started it as a way to keep track of cigars I liked and disliked. I realized that people found my reviews interesting, and that I had a decent palate. I started doing beer reviews with two friends of mine after I turned 21, mainly as a way to educate ourselves about beer.

I decided to start Beer Review Dude after I got into the cigar industry, as I thought my objectivity could be questioned because of my close relationships within the cigar industry. I had been wanting to start a full-time beer blog for quite some time, and that was the catalyst I needed.

3. Why did you choose the name of Beer Review Dude?

I’m a dude, I review beer. Pretty simple really. Also, I thought it was a memorable name and, with the words “beer review” in the title, it would attract a lot of visitors from Google and other search engines.

4. What are you personal goals for Beer Review Dude? What do you hope to achieve with it?

I would love to have my blog be the way I made my living, or at least be a large part of it. My goal is to have a successful website, whether that is a good number of daily visitors or a decent amount of advertising revenue; I am just along for the ride. I write the blog because it’s fun, and because I like to share my opinions on things, and if I could turn that into a career, that’d be great. If not, I’m still having fun along the way, meeting great people, and drinking great beer.

5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?

Honestly, the coolest thing for me is people enjoying my reviews. I love to hear people who say we are funny, informative, or whatever it may be. I love to see all the work I put into my blog pay off. Also, the occasional free beer doesn’t hurt.

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

Hopcast, Two Beer Queers, and BeerTapTV.

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Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

Quadrupel, Imperial Stout, American Imperial or Double IPA

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

Dogfish Head, Oskar Blues, Sweetwater (they’ve got the home field advantage for me since I’m from Atlanta)

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

It would have to be Dogfish Head. I think they really push the envelope with their beers, and they seem to have a great company “culture”. The owner, Sam Calagione, seems like a really laid back guy, and that’s the type of person I’d like to have as a boss. Also, I love their beers.

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

I’ve dabbled with it, mainly with Mr. Beer kits. It’s something I want to get more into, but the initial investment for all the equipment required for all grain brewing is pretty steep, especially on a tight budget.

5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?

Nope, I’m just a n00b. I’m hoping to become BJCP certified, but the only exam within a day’s drive of my house is in August.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

It would have to be a really good hamburger and fries with an extremely flavorful IPA. It doesn’t really get much better than that in my opinion.

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The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

I run the social networking department for a major cigar company. I am a Twitterholic, and being able to tweet for a living is pretty damn cool.

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?

Honestly, I love what I’m doing, but if I could successfully open a brewery, and could insure its’ success, I’d do it in a heartbeat. One day…

3. Are you married? Children?

I got married a few months ago to my high school sweetheart. No kids, but we will have some eventually (but not too soon).

4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?

I have been playing guitar since high school, and love it. I am a big music geek, and am constantly finding new stuff to fill my iPod with. Also, obviously, I smoke cigars, and love the social atmosphere they create. When else do a group of guys get together to sit around and talk? It’s pretty damn fun. I’m also a tech geek, and love messing around with new tech gadgets.

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Off The Beaten Path

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

Haha, hmm, that’s a tough one. I would have to say an Imperial Stout. I’m smooth (as in laid back, not with the ladies, lol), I’m strong, and I’m delicious. That’s probably the weirdest question I’ve ever had to answer.

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?

Easy. Westvleteren 12. I’ll probably never have this beer, since you can only purchase it direct from the monastery but, as I’m sure you know, it’s supposedly the best beer on Earth.

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 definitely have some fruit in it, mainly because traditionally ladies like fruity drinks (I know this isn’t always the case, ladies). Maybe something like the New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red? Something kick ass and craft beer-esqe, but with a feminine touch.

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

Time manipulation or invisibility. I’ve always struggled with the decision between these two.

5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?

I got in a crazy car wreck when I was 16 and came out totally unscathed. We hit a box of nails/random sharp objects that fell off of a construction truck. Both of our back tires blew out going 80mph down I-85, an extremely busy highway that goes through the city of Atlanta. We did a couple of 360s and skidded to a stop facing oncoming traffic. We managed to turn around and get to the emergency lane, all without so much as a knick from another car. Also, the car we were in was a 2000 Ford Explorer, which were infamous at the time for rolling during accidents.

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

I love it.



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