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Featured Beer Blogger: RICK ANDREWS

Featured Beer Blogger: RICK ANDREWS


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: Rick Andrews

Twitter handle: @alesfrmthecrypt

Name of blog: Ales From The Crypt and  FIRKIN AROUND

Current location: Sarasota, Florida

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

Southwestern Connecticut

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

Softball and Track and Field through high school. I continued with Industrial League Men’s Softball through a few years after college, with my employers.

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

Hmmm…maybe around 13 or 14.

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 cousin and I were up in the “flying bridge” of his father’s cabin cruiser out on Long Island Sound.  Our parents were on deck below.  It was Carling Black Label as I remember.  My cousin sneaked 3 of them up to the crow’s nest on that sunny day.  Best part was we didn’t get caught or seasick.

5. Where, if applicable, did you go to college?

Norwalk State Technical College in Norwalk, CT and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.

6. What did you study?

Electrical Engineering at NSTC and got my BS in Business Management from SHU.

7. What additional activities, organizations, sports did you partake in during college?

I was a disc jockey for my college radio station, WSHU 91.1 FM at Sacred Heart.  It was the best time to be a DJ on the radio, ever.  Our station motto was, “College radio – The rare medium that’s well done!”

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:

My first real epiphany was in the 70’s, when I tried a beer from Pennsylvania named “Maximus Super”.  It was much higher in ABV and you could taste a real difference over other bland lagers of the time.   I believe it was a malt liquor, but it was tasty.  Really wish that beer was still around to compare.

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

Available beer in the 70’s and 80’s was mostly Bud, Miller or Pabst.  Believe it or not, Coors was a kind of fantasy beer that didn’t ship east of the Mississippi.  There was one package store in Pound Ridge, NY that would send a refrigerated van out west about every other month.  You had to know someone at the store to get Coors.  I know you’re all saying ohhhhh or ewwwww!  Hah!  That was a big deal back then.

I must say that the latest epiphany came about a year ago when I delved into Belgian beers.  One in particular from DeDolle, Stille Nacht (Silent Night), really turned me into a Belgian fan. Put bluntly, I could kill for this beer.

Beer Blog Background

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

Ales From The Crypt has been running for two years now.  Firkin Around launched this year in January and is still a work in progress.

2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?

Truly, I backed into blogging, but there were a few inspiring things.  First off, when I turned 50 a couple of years ago, I received a gift of 50 different beers.  Second, I felt the muse inside had something to say, even if no one but me ever read the post notes.  Third, my curiosity with photography plays a part when recording each beer for the blog.  I am also a computer nerd, so that helps, too.  But mostly I finally found something that encompassed all these things into a passion for spreading the word about beer; good beer…and sometimes even bad beer.  Just beer in general.

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

It was a natural choice.  After having a casket of 50 beers foisted upon me at my surprise 50th birthday party, my daughter said that I should record my thoughts on each one through a blog.  Continuing to answer the last question, she was probably the biggest inspiration to start the blog.

But now I needed a name for the blog…what would it be?  “Beers from the  Box”…nah!  “Cans from the Coffin”…nope!

Talk about your beer epiphany!   “Ales From The Crypt” was born, so to speak.  The Grim Reaper of Beer became my pen name and alter ego.  The visual style and flow of page elements in Ales From The Crypt became a natural progression from the name.

4. What are you personal goals for your blog?

My main goal is to continue my journey of beer, writing my tasting notes with each one I try.  The style of the blog is kind of dialed in towards that format, and I am satisfied with it that way.

Another goal is making new craft beer friends. I really enjoy when someone leaves a post comment or becomes a follower.  The short dialogues are great and it’s always interesting to see what someone else’s thoughts are on the same beer.

My other blog, Firkin Around, allows me to go outside the box of Ales From The Crypt.  This new blog affords me the latitude to write about beer events, cooking with beer or just general beer amusements. For me, it’s a radical departure from Ales From The Crypt. I was originally going to name it “Beer Diary…”

5. What do you hope to achieve with it?

Perhaps future generations will keep Ales From The Crypt going, though that’s probably a stretch. I guess it’s sort of a legacy thing.  At the very least, I hope to record each and every beer tasting for posterity.  Who knows? If nothing else, the internet may someday make me immortal.

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

That’s easy.  The best part of all of blogging has been the social experience.  We now drink virtually even when we are at different bars or parties, through vehicles like Twitter.  That is the magic of the internet.  All these people share the same passion for drinking great beer.

I exclaimed at my first trip to GABF last year, “…I don’t know a single person here, but because of blogging, I feel like I know everyone!”

I met The boys from, Jeremy Cowan and Zak Davis of Shmaltz, George Wendt, and on, and on.  Then there were others I did not get to see, but there is always this year’s GABF.  Many of the people I met are now friends of the blog.  The best part is that craft beer folks are they’re more than friendly; they are approachable and want to share the experience with you as well.

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


- Sudsy Maggie – Adventures in Home Brewing, Craft    Beer and Life on an Island

- Fermentedly Challenged

Those are the three I began with over the past couple years.  Oh, and of course, DRINKWITHTHE WENCH.COM is up there too.  There are other blogs that I read from time to time, but mine keep me pretty busy.

Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

Just 3, huh?  Well, generally speaking, I really like hoppy beers, pretty much any style that includes hops.  But you’ll regularly find me behind one of these:

- An IPA any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

- Then Belgian Strong Dark Ales. ‘Nuff said there.

- I have a real soft spot for a well done Märzen  (Oktoberfest, to the uninitiated.)

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

Again, so sorry to pick three…but if I had to say the most consistently enjoyed… I will go with:

  • Sierra Nevada (always wonderfully balanced
  • Rogue (always wonderfully different)
  • Stone (always hoppy)
  • Honorable mention: Odell (always elusive – I live in Florida)

…this question is so unfair to Shmaltz ,Dogfish Head, Cigar City or Brooklyn which could plug into any of those top spots as well.  And there seem to be more new breweries popping up each time I visit my favorite watering hole.

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

Odell.  If you have been there, you will know what I mean.  They are small, sustainable and have down to earth people.  All this is located in idyllic Ft. Collins, Colorado.  It would just be a dream.  I fell in love the first time I had a Cutthroat Porter.  I never pass up an opportunity to stop by the Odell tap room when visiting my youngest daughter at Colorado State.

4. Are you a homebrewer?

No, but it is on the short list of things to do.

5. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

As soon as I tell you, it’s going to be your favorite too…Rogue Double Chocolate Stout and New York Cheese Cake.

Did I just blow your mind?

The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

IT Business Analyst.

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?

Probably the Sales/Marketing aspects of Craft Beer companies.  I enjoy meeting people and would love to help promote the growth of craft beer for a good brewery.

3. Are you married?

Yes, 27 years to the love of my life.

4. Children?

Two daughters and a son; best kids on earth, ‘cause they listen to their Mom and Dad.

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

Does spending time with family count as a hobby?  I do enjoy getting behind the lens of a camera.  I also love cooking some of my Italian grandmother’s recipes.

Off The Beaten Path

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

I think people who know me would agree that I’d probably be a Rye IPA since I tend to be a bit extreme, kind of bitter and dry (read – sarcastic).

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?

Give me DeDolle’s Stille Nacht, or give me death!  This stuff is great I tell you.  Besides, it takes a long long time for the head to settle.  Heck, it might buy me a stay from the execution.

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?

Since I’m a sucker for blondes, you, it would be a stunningly elegant Belgian Blonde. Characteristics would definitely be:

Even though it’s uncharacteristic for a blonde, it would have to be un-filtered. This blonde would definitely be zesty with tangy citrus. Its perfume would be honey-like with exotic spice. She’d have enough ABV to mind expanding. And true to the style, it would be subtle yet complex.

This beer would have to be versatile. It would be comfortable with blue jeans and a lawnmower or fit right in at a formal evening of fun, stepping out dressed to the nines.  All in all she’s a long, cool, satisfyingly delicious blonde…that brings you back for more.

Also, I’d rename it a Wench-vleteren.  People would seek this beer because it would be known as the best beer on earth!

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

Some of your readers have requested invisibility.  I’d like the opposite.  NOT being invisible especially when trying to get the bartender’s attention!  That would indeed be a super power!

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

I drove a car into a frost heave in Vermont on a ski trip, years ago.  After a day on the mountain, my friends and I had to turn around to go get some ski equipment we had left behind.  As I swung the car around, I thought I was still driving on snow covered pavement. The top of the heave had been smoothed and leveled off by the snowplows.  This all happened in the blink of an eye. The car went in pretty deep.  It came to a stop on its side and we had to climb out of the driver’s side doors, like they were hatches!  Believe it or not, a truck came along and pulled us out with a chain.  The car didn’t suffer a single scratch!  As I recall, we all laughed about it over, (what else?), a few beers!

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

To quote Emeril Lagasse, “PORK FAT RULES ! ! !”



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