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: NIK CAMERON
AUTHOR OF: THE 13 BLOG
Beer Blogger Interview
Full name: Nik Cameron
Twitter handle: @13blog
Name of blog: The 13 Blog
Current location: South St. Louis City
1. Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in the St. Louis Metro Area. I’ve lived on both sides of the river and all over in the City and County of St. Louis.
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
I played hockey, baseball, soccer, and I wrestled.
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
I recall my first taste of beer when I was about 3 years old…same as my first toke on a cigarette. Parents were different in the late 70’s. My first full beer was probably when I was about 16 years old.
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 best friend and I bought a 12 pack of the nasty beer my dad drank, Red White & Blue Lager. It was a PBR knock off and we drank it warm so our parents wouldn’t find it. We drank this disgusting beer in his backyard while smoking Camel Special Lights on a Friday night. We were totally hardcore and so proud of ourselves. We were only 16 but we had gotten our own beer and smokes.
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’ve taken classes at St. Louis Community College and I’m finishing up my degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I’ll be a senior after this year. I’m getting a Liberal Arts degree focusing on English and Criminology. My wife and I are fighting about what I’m going to do after school. I want to go to Law School, but she wants me to become a freelance writer and novelist.
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:
Once I realized I could find beer that I enjoyed, I suppose it was Schalfly Pale Ale. What I didn’t realize was that it was nothing like Rolling Rock’s Pale Ale. This was a true pale ale of the English variety. It was bitter and brown and even though I only drank lagers up to that point, and didn’t even know that lager and ale didn’t mean the same thing…something really changed when I had that beer. I began attending the St. Louis Lift For Life Microfest each year after that and the rest is history.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
My father in law and I, he writes on the beer posts as well, have been doing beer blogging since the beginning of this year. I had been doing St. Louis foods up till that point and we added another column.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I have been blogging since about 2000 when I started a blog on my favorite minor league hockey team, The Missouri River Otters (RIP). Over the years I’ve moved and changed my topics and now I’d say 75% of my blog is dedicated to beer, at least until I start writing the new beer column we have planned. Then it will be about 90%.
3. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
For as long as I can remember, 13 has been my favorite number. It’s also something that’s a bit esoteric and it could be about anything, which is great because The 13 Blog has undergone some pretty big changes in the time it has existed.
4. What are you personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
I would like to have people care about it half as much as I do and just enjoy what I have to say. From blogging, of all sorts, I’ve had some pretty interesting experiences, not the least of which is becoming a front office member of a minor league professional sports team. I really want to be a great source of information for the middling beer drinkers. The people that know there are better beers out there than just the macro lagers, but don’t know where to start and what they like.
5. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
I read Hip Hops on stltoday.com and as silly as this is going to sound, Twitter. I do my best to find beer bloggers and craft beer nerds there and I get all sorts of links to articles and that’s how I find most of the sites and articles I read now.
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
Scotch Ale, Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Double IPA
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
Bells Brewing, Schlafly, & Stone
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
Square One Brewery in Lafayette Square, St. Louis, MO. They are a very small outfit that is located in a very historic pub in my favorite neighborhood of St. Louis, MO. I’m never going to move out of St. Louis. It’s my home and I love it and I’d love to help them move from just a brew pub into more bottling and distributing like the other new micro breweries in St. Louis are doing.
4. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
It’s a bit sad, but a pale lager and a St. Louis Style Pizza. I guess because that just tastes like home. If I’m drinking a beer, for me, it’s about the beer and not putting it together with something else. Normally when I have a beer with dinner, it’s something like a pilsner or a simple pale ale.
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
I am in an inside sales rep.
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 suppose if I could make that change, I’d have a very hard choice to make. I want to either be a prosecuting attorney or a novelist. So this is kind of why my wife and I are fighting over my graduate schooling.
3. Are you married? Children?
My wife and I are about to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary and we have a little daughter named Ella-Jane who is the absolute light of my life. There’s nothing better in my life than coming home to my girls. E-J has just learned how to high five and down low, so I’ve been enjoying that quite a bit lately.
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
I love to read about St. Louis’s local history. I’m an avid Otaku. I love manga, anime, and Japanese video games. I’m a complete and total nerd. Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory is my personal hero. I’m a very big hockey and soccer fan. I’m also trying to learn to speak five languages fluently. So far, I’m up to two and a half. My Spanish is very good and I’ve been using that professionally for 7 years. My Japanese is still no better than conversational, but I can read it better than I speak it. Again, I’m a total nerd. Thankfully so is my wife. We routinely have Star Wars, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, and Lord of the Rings marathons on blu-ray.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be and why?
I would be an India Pale Ale. It’s a style that can be very offputting the first time, but it’s so totally worth it once you understand what makes it great.
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?
For me, it would have to be Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. Not only is it the best beer I’ve ever had, but it’s very strong, and comes in 22oz bombers. So, when I was done, I’d be good and happy and it’s just that good.
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?
Hmmm. I think I’d have to go with special malts just to make it a bit more awesome. Yes, I’m sucking up.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I’m going to avoid quoting Brody from Mallrats now. Though first I’d want to banter well with super villains, though I think I’m pretty good at banter now. You know, I’m going to opt out of superpowers if they are offered to me. I’d make too much of an ass of myself and the American Way…yeah…this is for the best.
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
I don’t know if it’s the craziest thing I’ve done, but it’s one of my favorite stories. I went to visit a close friend a few months after he moved out of town. He asked me to bring up some Schalfly beer for him, which I did, but it was warm. So we went to get some cold beer, as he didn’t have anything cold either. Eventually we learned that there was nowhere we could buy packaged liquor after 10pm. We ended up driving to another municipality to get beer. We nearly ran out of gas on roads that looked like the moors in “An American Werewolf In London,” we got caught behind a tugboat pulled barge on a drawbridge, and by the time we got to his house, it took about two hours…or as long as it would’ve taken to chill the beer we had.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
Bacon is nature’s pepper.