Featured Beer Blogger: BRIAN YAEGER 2


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!



(and the book: Red, White & Brewed)

Beer Blogger Interview

Full name: Brian Yaeger
Twitter handle: @Yaeger
Name of blog: Beer Odyssey
Current location:
Beervana (Portland, OR)

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?
The once beer-desolate LA

2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Growing up I played the usual team sports like soccer (AYSO), baseball (Little League), and basketball as well as individual sports from bicycling to bowling (if I may). As an adult, I’ve accepted I don’t have the hand-eye coordination for most sports involving a ball which is why I love ultimate Frisbee! Oh, and racquetball. And still love solo sports like biking, skiing, and occasionally running.

3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
10, but it was an accident. I started drinking better beer while studying abroad at age 20 and attended my first craft beer festival at 21.

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 was 10 years old watching TV in the den when I got thirsty, climbed off our plaid linen couch and walked behind my dad’s wooden bar to the mini fridge. All I knew was that cans of soda were kept in there; so from what I could tell, the silver aluminum cans inside must be soda. I grabbed one, returned to the couch, and finished watching TV. I recall Punky Brewster seemed…Punkier. And I know that in her doe-y, freckle-encased eyes, I looked cooler. We shared a moment that day in 1984. Still, I didn’t finish my beverage because I didn’t much like it. I put the rest of it back in the bar fridge in case someone else wanted it. Not long afterward, my dad asked me if I had opened and drank from the can. Not knowing I did anything wrong, I fessed up that I had. I don’t think he punished me, I mean, how could he? That Coors Light was my introduction to beer, and it was punishment enough.

5. Where, if applicable, did you go to college? What did you study? What additional activities, organizations, sports did you partake in during college?
UCSB (UC Santa Barbara), then rated one of Playboy’s Top 10 Party Schools. Natty Light was the brand of choice because there wasn’t anything cheaper. I double majored (proof that U Can Study Buzzed) including Russian which is how and where I studied my junior year. I was very active extracurricularly. Primarily, I programmed at the college radio station for three years and was on the program board that brought concerts to campus so long before I was a beer geek, I was a music geek and my writing career started with music.

I also played a lot of IM sports, mainly Ultimate, but also softball, soccer, and took all sorts of PA (like PE) classes for 0.5 units including bowling. Not insignificant considering I graduated .5 units over the minimum.

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:

Fall semester of my senior year, sublime fortune landed me inside the Second Annual Pacific Coast Beer Festival as a volunteer. It was my first exposure to true beer culture and I marveled at the different booths. From noon to six, I poured samples of Simpatico, a lager, and Wild Boar, a wheat beer, at the Dubuque Brewing & Bottling booth. They even had a brewery in Iowa? At six o’clock, the gates closed, and all the volunteers were given free rein of the grounds. Like quantum sponges, we darted off in all directions drinking the remnants. The sober volunteer who drove us pulled his hatchback into the fairgrounds and we loaded it up with cases galore. When we got home, we divvied up our booty like trick-or-treaters taking inventory of their Halloween spoils. Oh, you should’ve seen my fridge. I mostly remember loving Blackened Voodoo from New Orleans’ Dixie Brewing which is still in business though the brewery was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina’s flooding. Incidentally, the Dubuque regional brewery closed in 1998 on its centennial anniversary.

2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
I have craft beer epiphanies like Donald Draper has affairs. They occur all the time and there’s too many to enumerate. And if I ever stop having them, I’m finished.

Beer Blog Background

1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
The first post on beerodyssey.blogspot.com appeared on February 25, 2006.

2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I’m archaic at worst and a Luddite at best. I am so behind the times that I never set out to write a blog, but an old-fashioned, hold-in-your-hands, paper-and-ink book. I only started the blog to update progress on the book’s research, then its promotion, and now whenever I want to procrastinate from one of the stories I’m working on for the print publications I freelance for. See? Archaic. My saving grace in going for bylines over whatever SEO means is that craft brewing itself is a throwback to the art of brewing and beer style.

3. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
Because RedWhiteAndBrew.com was taken (by some BS site holder).

4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
I like that it gives me a forum to participate in the monthly Beer Blogging Session and how instantaneous it is.

5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
I readily admit that I enjoy getting samples in the mail and media passes to festivals and other events, but those things are ephemeral. The coolest thing is just being a part of the community, since I love the beer people.

6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
You know there are too many out there. There’s so much cranky, funny tongue-in-cheek beer bloggery out there, and some arousing beer porn. Still, I miss Beer Haiku Daily.

Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Extra Special Bitter, American Stout, and Cascadian Dark Ale.

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Oh please. Impossible.

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

There are a lot of breweries I believe in and support beyond drinking their beer. But I think the employee/owners at New Belgium love working there for many good reasons (among them: it’s responsibly brewed, it’s a fun environment in a beautiful place, and they brew a great variety of beers, plus, they earn good money).

4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
I am. I took it up when I decided my next book was going to be on the homebrewing community. I’ve made some great (and not great) beer but the most unique is the Latte Stout I made for Half Pint, first as part of the wooing process, and most recently as our wedding favors. She loves stouts and lattes, so it’s a stout with some espresso and milk sugar in there.

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

I’m a Certified Beer Server. Yeah, I’ll probably take the Certified Cicerone exam soon.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
Know that what I answer today will likely change tomorrow, then again next week, etc. But overall, I’m a classicist who likes modern expressions. I’m always happy if the burger kicks ass as does the beer. Most recently that occurred at the Hop & Vine here in Portland, My first pint was the Heater-Allen Pils since I like starting my meal/evening with a lighter beer to get things going and it certainly acted as a good platform to let the burger shine. And their burger is delightfully OTT, over the top. Bacon. Fried egg (which I ordered over-hard), leyden cheese, house baked bun. I switched it up beer-wise and next had Upright Coffee Stout. Polar-opposite beer, but with the bacon’n’egg working the b-fast vibe, it was happy time in my maw all over again.

The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?
You’re lookin’ at it. Being a freelance beer writer doesn’t pay much, but the perks are unbeatable.

2. Are you married? Children?
Yes. No, not yet anyway.

3. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
Road tripping, Scrabble, concerts, and I’d like to get into pickling.

Off The Beaten Path

1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
I’d be an ESB. It’s not all that complex but each time you revisit it, it’s like, “yeah, this gets the job done.” It makes it look easy but there’s a reason most pro brewers make an amber and most homebrewers make IPAs.

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?
A bottle of Dixie Blackened Voodoo followed by a pint of Schooner’s Vin-de-cation ’08. I know that’s 2 beers; shoot me.

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 Double IPA “dry-beaned” with coffee beans. Doesn’t shy away from being bitter, and sweet, and then bittersweet in the finish with extra perkiness.

4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
The ability to emit any odor—good or bad.

5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
Had unprotected sex. Oh wait, you prob’ly wanted a funny one. I rode down the steepest, windiest road on my bike and didn’t touch the brakes til the bottom. Hit 55.5 mph. Jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, solo. Walked down the streets of Moscow during a coup d’etat. Quit my job with benefits to do this. I’ll stop there.

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
I’m a fan. It’s not the kinda thing that can jump the shark but it’s time it went back to basics like b-fast and burgers. Also, I’m dying to adopt a potbellied pig and when I do, I will swear off pork so long as it’s alive. I mean, I have a dog and you’d never catch me eating canine, so I’d cut out porcine, too, with great difficulty.



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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