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: WALKER DAVIS
AUTHOR OF: MILK IS FOR BABIES
Beer Blogger Interview
1. Where did you grow up?
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
High School, baseball year round. Post College, softball and bowling, which I love because I can drink beer during games and can play till I’m old.
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?
I was at college my freshman year and it was a Coors Light during a flip cup game at a Water Polo party. Needless to say those athletes drank me under the table and my night quickly de-escalated from there.
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 Pepperdine University and graduated with a degree in International Business. I joined Sigma Chi fraternity. I studied abroad to Florence, Italy my sophomore year, went to 18 countries and it was one of the best years of my life. My traveling companion for many trips is my current roommate and the other half of beereveryday, David, who has become a silent partner on the blog but not the beer-a-day drinking. My true single regret, is that I wasn’t very aware of beer then because I would have pilgrimaged to so many places and become a sponge for knowledge. The only breweries I visited were Carlsberg in Copenhagen and Heineken in Amsterdam, both cool but very commercial.
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:
It was late at night in the dirty kitchen of my David’s old college apartment a month after we returned from Europe. He was far more knowledgeable about beer at the time. He had bought an Affligem Tripel and demanded that I try it. He poured the full bottle through a strainer to collect the sediment and I thought he was nuts. I remember thinking, what the hell is wrong with this beer?! I thought he was playing a trick on me and that he’d actually filled the bottle up with toxic sludge, which would turn me into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or something…But remember that moment in the film Garden State where Natalie Portman tells Zach Braff to listen to The Shins “New Slang” because it will ‘change his life?’ He turned out to be my Natalie Portman. Did I mention we’re two heterosexual males? Anywho, I thought with the Affligem Tripel I’d hit the motherload of all beers. Ah, I was so young and naïve once…
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
There are four that stick out in my mind –
1. We did a 14 day straight tasting of Stone beers in October, which was truly amazing. We included a three year vertical flight of Old Guardian Barley Wines and I was fascinated at the influence aging had in each beer’s complexity. I’m currently storing a 2008 OG in my beer closet.
2. Our first brewery trip was a surprise birthday getaway for David in November to The Bruery and by pure chance they had their last year’s Christmas Ale on draft, 2 Turtle Doves. Up until that point I’d never had such a startling rich beer. My love affair with The Bruery began in earnest after this. At my current purchasing rate of Bruery beers, there’s a decent chance I’m putting one of Patrick Rue’s kids through private school.
3. Hair of the Dog Adam Old Ale – the label says the beer tastes like chocolate, smoke, leather and figs. It actually freaking did. Amazing. Each time I have one it’s like I’m testing something from Willy Wonka’s Factory.
4. My first Rochefort 10 – need I say anymore? Its richness and complexity is mind-bottling.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
August 5th, 2010.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I was in a ‘life rut’ last summer (one of those, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life moods) and I took a spontaneous road trip to Arizona to visit my old college roommate and his wife. There I met a couple who were trying a different beer everyday – only they weren’t writing about it. I didn’t have a creative outlet at the time and desperately needed one. I quickly realized that doing something different each day and chronicling my experience might just be what I needed to jumpstart my life. And my roommate David loved beer. I returned home that Sunday, told him about my idea and he immediately agreed. That week I set up the website and Friday, August 5th we had our first beer, Allagash Tripel.
3. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
Growing up, my brother had the best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression and he gave me the “Pumping Iron” documentary for my birthday a few months before. At one point – I can’t remember if it’s during training or when he wins Mr. Olympia for the seven consecutive time – he says, “Milk is for babies. Real mean drink beer.” It was hilarious. When it came time to give bestow the blog a name, it was one of the first out of my mouth.
4. What are your personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
At the beginning, the goals were simple: Drink a different beer every day before midnight and write about every beer. I perceived my role to be an explorer of sorts, because most my friends were like me when I first started – unaware of craft beer. So I wanted to write entries that were simple, entertaining and that would connect people to beer they probably wouldn’t have tried without having seen my blog.
My rating system might be my proudest device of the blog. It’s a beer rating system based on the films of Michael Bay films (equates to 1-7 stars). Michael Bay’s films, I love and hate at the same time. They’re so entertaining but they’re also so ridiculous. With a blog name that referenced pop culture, I thought this rating system fit the bill. The blog has been very controversy free except for the ranking system, which places Transformers above Armageddon. That draws a lot of ire, which is hilarious. People have really emotional reactions watching Armageddon and apparently not to robots. Pff, humans. But I stand my ground, as Armageddon being more illogical and crazier than Transformers – who brings a mini-gun to space? Come on!
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
The support and the enthusiasm by friends and especially my family has been really special. What I especially think is cool, and it was unexpected, is how it defined me as a person. I went to a wedding for a family friend in Houston over Memorial Day weekend, someone I’ve known since I was 4. During the reception, she came up to me and thanked me for being an flying down and being an usher, and then promptly apologized for not serving ‘good enough’ beer. Like, really apologized. And I started laughing hysterically. At her own wedding she was apologizing to me? That was so absurd to me (and coming from her, very sweet). The same thing happened during a recent trip to Chicago; apparently friends get nervous when serving me beer. Beer has become forever intertwined with my identity and I love it. I’m in no way a beer snob, but I suppose the year has simply defined me as a man of fine taste. HA, jokes on them.
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
Excluding present company (Ms. Wench, who I follow regularly) –
- The Greatest Beers of All Time
- The Barley Blog
- Beers In Paradise (an LA local blog that works really hard to give us the latest and greatest tap updates from bars and beer event news)
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Imperial IPA, Barleywine, Old Ale. I love really bold, rich and complex beers that assault my tongue with flavor.
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
I would usually say The Bruery but they’re moving towards making a lot of Sour Ales and I just can’t fully get behind that. So my answer is Stone, because not only is their culture and passion amazing, but they’re expanding in incredible ways. Their continued desire to make collaboration beers embodies the ‘community’ theme of the craft world, and they plan on opening a brewery in Belgium soon. Marketing and selling American beers to European customers would be an incredible experience! Plus, since European beer has been so dominant throughout history, it would be like the reverse of the 60’s British Rock Invasion. Stone’s Gargoyles would just take Europe by storm.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
I’ve become a very avid homebrewer and have brewed 6 different beers in the last six months. My first beer was a Christmas Ale spiced with cloves and Tahitian Vanilla and it was called King Moonracer’s Revenge (KM was the king of the Misfit Toys in the Rudolph Christmas Story). My wildest recipe is I just bottled, a Sea Salt Caramel specialty ale that I designed to mimic the taste of caramel candy with sea salt on top. I want the sea salt to make the caramel flavor pop in your mouth. Un-carbonated, it’s very rich and is looking extremely promising.
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?
Nope, but I’ve certainly looked into it.
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
Thai Food and IPA’s. The Thai Spice gives way to the bitter hoppiness of the IPA, providing for a unique back and forth.
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
Film and TV Development Assistant at a large production company.
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?
I would do marketing for a beer company. I’m becoming more and more attracted to the marketing and advertising worlds and this year has lit my hair on fire for beer. The greatest character trait of the craft beer industry is the passion people have for their beer. It’s infectious and inspiring. Being a part of that would be special.
3. Are you married? Children?
Nooooooope. I’m 28 and still a long way off from either. Fermenting a beer a month and maintaining that temperature is responsibility enough for this guy.
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
1. I love building furniture and have built a bar, coffee table, media/dvd stack, winecork table. I plan on turning my patio table top into a giant chalkboard.
2. I also do Krav Maga, which Israeli form of martial arts. Helps tame beer’s caloric side effect.
3. Just drinking out of cups, being bitch.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
An ESB because they are drinkable pub beers that make easy company but can also be a bit nutty. Plus, you know, sometimes I smell like biscuits.
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?
AleSmith Speedway Stout – it’s so rich and complex that I would not only still be savoring it as I was walking up the gallows, but its dankness would still be with me as I greeted sweet, sweet death. Plus it’s 12% so maybe I’d go out buzzed; isn’t that how we should all go?
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?
I would use Bourbon Barrels and make a sweet Belgian Dark Strong Ale with a healthy salt dose. I’d also include salt because I know how the Wench feels about bacon and the combination of beer sweetness and savory bacon would simply be combustible.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Nostalgia Man, who has the ability to take people back to a certain time in their life which changed them for the better. Hopefully the experience would rejuvenate their current life.
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
When I studied abroad, someone who had lived in France the year before returned with horror stories and a hatred of the French. He told me when I visited Paris, to punch a French man – which I wasn’t about to do. But what I did instead, in a very classy move on my part, was urinate over 4 French landmarks; in between the 1st and 2nd observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, in the bottom of the Louvre where the foundations of a previous castle are, Disneyland Paris and in the Gardens of Versailles. One could say, that I dispensed my own personal brand of justice. My parents will be proud to hear that one.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
It’s good for you…and everyone should own a bacon air freshener.