Featured Beer Blogger: LUKE LIVINGSTON

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Featured Beer Blogger: LUKE LIVINGSTON

Published on February 24, 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!




Beer Blogger Interview

Full name: H Luke Livingston
Twitter handle: @livingstonmedia
Name of blog: BlogAboutBeer.com
Current location: Portland, ME

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

Auburn, ME

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

Growing up, I played a bit of everything – Rec basketball, little league, soccer, snowboarding. I played Ultimate Frisbee in college and still play in summer leagues. And I still snowboard. I’ve politely retired from all the others.

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

I had sips of beer from my dad as early in life as I can remember. As for when I had my first full beer, I believe I was 18. And it was some terrible light lager.

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 don’t really remember my first beer; it was at a party with friends the summer between HS and college. But my first memorable beer was – my dad took me to Montreal for a long weekend before college (because he wanted to buy me a real beer in a real bar and, being 18 at the time, that wasn’t acceptable here in the US). The beer itself wasn’t anything special – Molson Export, I believe – but the event itself was one I’ll always remember.

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 spent my freshman year at Susquehanna University in tiny little Selinsgrove, PA (which is, by the way, home to one of the best brewpubs I’ve ever been to – Selin’s Grove Brewing Co). I then transferred to Clark University in Worcester, MA for my sophomore year, which is where I received my degree in 2007. I was a communications and film double-major.

I also played on the Ultimate Frisbee team (and was the president of the club), was a tour guide and was on a committee which brought concerts and things to campus. Here’s one though – there’s actually now a clause in the Clark student handbook that says you cannot brew beer in your dorm room. It wasn’t there prior to my junior year; that’s not a coincidence…


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:

Mine came when my parents came down to Massachusetts for my twenty-first birthday weekend and for my birthday, took me on a tour of the Sam Adams brewery in Boston. Say what you want about their beer, but the tour was awesome and I learned a lot about beer – how it’s made, what goes into it, what differentiates craft beer from more mass-produced beers. And during the free tasting, in addition to learning how to correctly taste beer (including appearance, mouthfeel, the bitter tastes of hops, the sweet malty tastes, the finish, etc.)

I had the Sam Adams Chocolate Bock on tap for the first time. That’s still one of my all-time favorite beers and was definitely like nothing I had ever had before. I had no idea beer could taste like that! And I was hooked.

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

I think homebrewing for the first time was definitely an “epiphany”, so to speak. I think once you actually produce beer yourself – even just 5 gallons on your stovetop – and really get an appreciation for the work and the science and the precision that goes into crafting beer, it’s tough to go back to drinking anything less than the most flavorful, most hand-crafted beers you can get your hands on. “Epiphany”? Who knows; but it definitely is pretty mind-opening.


Beer Blog Background

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

I launched BlogAboutBeer.com in August of 2007.

2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?

I actually approached beer blogging sort of backwards. I was reading about blogging on sites like Problogger.net and hearing about people making all this money from blogging. I was looking for some residual side income and thought blogging was a good, easy choice. So I thought about what I might know something about, and decided I knew enough about beer to blog about it. I quickly discovered, though, that I knew far less about both beer and blogging than I thought I did (I was pretty full of myself) and it is in no way an easy way to make money. But I was still addicted and very thankfully stuck with it.

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

I wanted something memorable and highly applicable. I thought about what I was doing – blogging about beer – so I typed that into a domain search engine and, very much to my surprise (not then because like I said, I had no idea what I was doing and just assumed I was the only one to write about beer) BlogAboutBeer.com was still available. Again, looking back I didn’t think it was surprising or a big deal, but now I’m very happy and very surprised no one had snatched it up before me.

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

I think I’ve met my personal goals for my blog already. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of awesome people and make a lot of great friends through the site. I’ve gotten lots of delicious and free beer sent to me in the mail for review (and lots of fun schwag) and gotten to attend a lot of really fun events. What more could I ask for, really? I guess for the future, I just hope to continue to grow the site and my readership and to be able to continue doing what I’m already doing.

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

The free beer in the mail is pretty cool. And the “press passes” to all of the festivals, tastings, etc. But yeah – what’s cooler than free beer?

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

That’s a tough call, there are so many great ones out there and my RSS reader is full of ‘em. I guess the ones I read the most are beernews.org, hop-talk.com and twinbeer.com. I followed Hop-Talk pretty closely in ’09 because I was excited to see if Al could finish his goal of drinking a different beer every day for a year (he did). Beernews.org because it’s the best way to keep up with industry news (and I know Adam, the site’s author well; he actually grew up across the street from me) and twinbeer.com because I know Russ (one of the site’s Twin authors) very well. Same with brewsandbooks.com and beerbloggers.com; all run by friends. I have more fun reading blogs, regardless of the topic, when I know the people behind them personally.


Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

Beer styles? Probably porters, stouts & Belgians, in that order.

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

That’s a tough one, because there are SO many incredible breweries across the country and around the world; it’s tough to pick just three. Locally, my favorite would be Allagash – I’ve never had a beer from them I haven’t loved. I love everything from Dieu Du Ciel in Montreal and third… probably either Dogfish Head or Oskar Blues. Not so much because of the beer (although they’re all delicious), but because I really respect Sam at DFH and what OB is doing with cans (keep in mind, though, that we can’t get a lot of the big, shiny mid-west & west coast beers – Lost Abbey, Russian River, Bell’s, Goose Island, etc. here in Maine so I don’t know their stuff quite as well).

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

I’m going to leave this one blank. If you visit BlogAboutBeer.com in a few days, you’ll see why.

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

I am. But I haven’t brewed an awful lot that’s really “interesting” or unique; I’m still rocking a stovetop extract set. Although my two favorite brews of mine are a Belgian-style holiday ale I did this past Christmas which I brewed with cinnamon and aged on a vanilla bean. And a raspberry porter recipe of mine which won an award in the fruit beer category at the 2008 New England Regional Homebrew Competition in New Hampshire.

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


6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

I’m a sucker for beer & cheese pairings. Cheese is probably the one thing in the world which can give my love for beer a run for its money.


The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

I’m keeping this one a secret too. But check out BlogAboutBeer.com later this week for the answer.

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?

See above.

3. Are you married? Children?

Nope, neither.

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

I love living in Maine and all things Maine & the great outdoors. Ultimate Frisbee and disc golf; camping/hiking; snowboarding; the Boston Red Sox; I watch a lot of TV and movies; and, little known fact, I’m actually a professionally-trained juggler and, although I’m mostly retired from it these days, I’ve been performing since I was in the seventh grade.

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Off The Beaten Path

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

Haha, wow. I’ve never given it much thought… I’d like to think I was a unique Belgian ale with all sorts of layers and flavors and was interesting and highly sought-after. But in actuality, I’d probably be a boring ol’ Bud Light or something.

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?

The biggest, baddest, highest alcohol beer I could find, so I could go out on top (I know that’s a copout… sorry).

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 as sassy as possible. Probably lots of mouth-puckering hops.

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

The power to turn water into good, flavorful beer. Not sure how many lives it would save or evil it would do away with, but I’d be the most popular superhero ever!

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

I’ve actually lead a pretty low key (or lame, if you will) life. Probably the craziest stories I have involve good friends, the city of Montreal, and certain illegal, green, smoke-able drugs, so I won’t go into those. But I did nearly slice one of my fingers off juggling knives years ago….

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

I’ve actually been a vegetarian since I was 11, so I don’t eat much bacon. But I do eat (and enjoy) a fair amount of Moringstar Farms Facon Bacon.




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