Featured Beer Blogger: ERIKA BOLDEN 4


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!




Beer Blogger Interview

Full name: Erika Bolden
Name of blog: The Weblog: Wednesday Food
Current location: Andersonville, Chicago

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

Santa Barbara, CA

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

Swimming and water polo. In high school I retired my lycra and went into theatre and improv.

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

Age 5 for initial exposure, then at about 18 I started drinking Guinness.

4. If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?

I remember playing under an orange tree in the backyard when I was five, my dad was mowing the lawn and asked me to keep the ants off his beer while he worked. My first instinct (unbeknownst to him) was to have a sample. It was Negra Modelo, which I recall only because after a few sips I thought the foil on top was far more interesting.

5. Where, if applicable, did you go to college? What did you study? What additional activities, organizations, sports did you partake in during college?

Depaul University, BA Philosophy, Art History. I nerded it up in college residing over the philosophy club and spending my nights with rented tapes from the library. I also saw live music weekly, and worked at a restaurant that afforded me an excessively distracting social life.


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 restaurant where I worked during college had a fairly sophisticated drink list. On tap they featured Maredsous Dubbel. At the time I was underage, so I had to keep my beer education… well, inconspicuous; but I remember a coworker asking me what I wanted to drink and I referred to “the one with the monk on it.” It was both rich and effervescent, acidic and sweet. That was the moment when I was liberated from the Budweisers of the world.

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

In the fall I attended a brew day hosted by my buddies at the up-and-coming Pipeworks Brewing Co.it was then that I realized the only way for me to really understand styles, flavor profiles, adjuncts, and nuance was to get my hands dirty and start homebrewing. Since then my comprehension for all things beer, from grain to glass, has grown exponentially.

Last year I was at the Hopcat in Grand Rapids—they had Bell’s Two Hearted casked and on tap and I took samples from each. I had taken for granted the degree to which co2 lines affect mouthfeel and taste. It was like two different beers.


Beer Blog Background

1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?

The Weblog has been around for ages, but I began contributing in December 2008.

2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?

I was asked by the blog “owner” to write a weekly food feature, which has gradually become a beer/ food feature.

3. Why did you chose the name of your blog?

As it already existed, I sort of piggy-backed onto it as “Wednesday Food.”

4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?

The blog extends much further than “Wednesday Food.” My hope is that people who are there for different features are likewise inspired to improve the quality and variety of what they eat and drink.

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

Broadened exposure. The readers are largely academics who I’ve never met, located throughout the US and abroad. The best part has been learning what is available and prevalent, new or rare, in any given region. Though I wouldn’t turn down free beer.

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

  • RATE BEER : best beer review site.
  • HOW TO BREW : great website for both beginning and experienced homebrewers, especially in a moment of crisis.
  • BEERNEWS.ORG : pretty much the only substantial source for thorough beer news coverage.


Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

-Barleywines and strong ales: I’m a sucker for big, hoppy beers, Double Bastard from Stone is a beloved choice.
-Specialties and Flavorings: things like Founder’s Hole Mole, Southern Tier’s Pumking, Maui’s CoCoNut Porter.
-Local: I know this isn’t a style, but it should always be a consideration when picking up a six pack. Support your beer community, save money and the environment.

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

-Dogfish Head: consistently satisfying across the board.

-Stone Brewing: I respect their innovation, the quality of their beer, and their commitment to sustainability.

-De Dolle Brouwers: it forces me outside my domestic-beer comfort zone—and it’s always worth the trip.

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

Definitely the most difficult question posed. Probably 21st Amendment because they are ahead of the game in terms of innovation (cans! huzzah!) and experimentation, and they really emphasize the power of pairing. Plus I miss the Bay Area.

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

Yes. I’m fairly new to homebrewing so I don’t have a huge repertoire, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with pepper infusions, smoked porters, and once summer approaches I’ll acquaint myself with Belgians and Saisons.

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

Not yet.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

In August I visited the Three Floyds Brewery where I paired an entrée of celeriac remoulade and slow-cooked pork cheeks with Behemoth Barleywine. I think I wept.


The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

I’m the assistant director of an art gallery, which means I photograph paintings and make coffee.

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?

The more I brew at home the more infatuated I become with the process and tradition of making beer, so I guess I’d really like to work at a brewery. I’ve also discovered that sitting in front of a computer makes me crazy, so I’d like to be working more with my hands. If anyone needs a good trub-shoveler, I’m an email away!

3. Are you married? Children?

No and no. Though I do have the world’s greatest immediate family and a delightful boyfriend.

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

Cooking and photography have always topped the list, but I also do container gardening and play the cello. Chicago makes it hard to camp, which I miss.

The Alpha King

Off The Beaten Path

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

My gut says an American IPA, with really piney hops, copper colored and with a citrus finish.

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’s Bourbon County Stout befits a death march, and come on, if I’m being executed I’d rather meet my maker a bit buzzed. If the question is really asking for my favorite beer, let me just say, Bell’s Two Hearted.

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?

This weekend I brewed an Imperial Golden Ale—intense, well-rounded, yellow-gold—that I would name, “The Beer Wench: Love Her for Her Beer Alone and not Her Yellow Hair.” Zing!

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

Time Travel. No question. If that doesn’t count as a superpower, put me down for flight.

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

I once went bungee jumping off a bridge on the South Island of New Zealand. Probably more exciting was the time I rode passenger with a friend who got his Mustang up to 135mph on the I405. This was remarkable not because of the speed but because the I405 was, for once, totally vacant.

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

Right at home between lettuce and tomato.

New Year's



About The Beer Wench

Ashley is a self-proclaimed craft beer evangelist & social media maven on a mission to advance the craft beer industry through education, inspiration and advocacy. She is currently the “Director of Awesomeness” at Bison Brewing in Berkeley, CA — where her responsibilities include everything from marketing, sales, PR, social media & events. Ashley is also a freelance consultant and professional speaker on the subjects of social media, beer mixology, food & beverage pairings. She is the founder of DrinkWithTheWench.com & BeerMixology.com as well as a regular contributor to CraftBeer.com.

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