Check out the Latest Articles:
  • Featured Beer Blogger: ADRIENNE RINALDI Featured Beer Blogger: ADRIENNE RINALDI
  • Homebrewing On Campus: The Future of Craft Beer? Homebrewing On Campus: The Future of Craft Beer?
  • Craft Beer Advocacy: Join the Fight to Save Cigar City’s Tasting Room Craft Beer Advocacy: Join the Fight to Save Cigar City’s Tasting Room
  • Craft Beer Evangelism: Why I Blog About Craft Beer Craft Beer Evangelism: Why I Blog About Craft Beer
  • Press Release: World’s First Beer Bloggers Conference Wraps Up in Colorado Press Release: World’s First Beer Bloggers Conference Wraps Up in Colorado
  • Featured Beer Blogger: CODY JOHNSON Featured Beer Blogger: CODY JOHNSON
  • Featured Beer Blogger: RYAN HOPKINS Featured Beer Blogger: RYAN HOPKINS
  • Cooking With Beer: Smoked Porter Stuffed Peppers Cooking With Beer: Smoked Porter Stuffed Peppers
Featured Beer Blogger: MIKE KOPERA

Featured Beer Blogger: MIKE KOPERA


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: Mike Kopera
Twitter handle: @thatcaskguy or @podcaskco
Name of blog: Podcask Conditioned
Current location:
Chicago, IL

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

Southwest Suburb of Chicago.  Worth, IL

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

I was and still am a huge hockey fan.  It was a good year for us here in Chicago!  :-)

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?

Oooh, I believe it was Red Dog.  Not good at all.  Our friend’s mom was working late so we drank that nasty stuff and let’s just say it didn’t end well at all.

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 Columbia College here in Chicago.  I commuted from the burbs.  I studied radio.  Which is why I thought the idea of adding the podcast to the website/blog might be a fun idea.  I never liked my voice back then (nor do I think it’s anything special today) but it’s a lot of fun when you can get excited and talk about something you love!

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.”

What was your first craft beer epiphany? Recall as many details about it as you can:

I remember it pretty well, in fact.  I remember I was always a Miller Lite drinker just out of college.  But after I moved into the city with one of my best friends, we got curious and decided to hit our local liquor store, Pellys around the corner to try something different.  First beer I saw that I had never had was a Bell’s Amber.  Brought home a six pack of that and REALLY liked it.  Decided to try another from that brewery.  Bell’s Two Hearted….BAM….hooked on trying all sorts of different beers.  For my next birthday, my roommate bought me a Goose Island Pub Pack.  I said goodbye to the tasteless, clear, yellow water for life shortly after that.

Beer Blog Background

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

Only about 3 months now

2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?

I’ve always wanted a way to be a part of the beer world.  Since I don’t have the start up money or the necessary skills as just a novice home brewer to open my own brewery, I figured this is a good way to get out there.  I’ve been loving it so far!  Then I thought the podcast along with it was a good idea.  But I’ve heard a lot of podcasts out there about reviewing different beers.  So I wanted to do something different.  Travel around to different breweries and encourage people to go out and visit them as well.  So I asked my friend Brad Ferguson to co-host with me. We want people to go out there and spend your money with the smaller local breweries that don’t have the endless budgets for advertising.  Go and try something you’ve never had before.  Explore, experience, meet great people!

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

It just kind of fit.  I knew I wanted to add a podcast to my blog so I needed a catchy way to incorporate it with beer.  I love cask conditioned beers so it just came to me.

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

Honestly, for now, it’s just a fun little hobby I have.  I love beer so I want to speak to the world about it.  But I love writing and would love if a dream came true and it turned into an actual paid job.  Some sort of marketing position for a craft brewery would be amazing to me.

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

So far, it’s just the amazing people you meet.  The brewers out there.  The people on the internet that have this great community together.  The chance to go to this year’s 1st Beer Bloggers Conference…looking forward to meeting so many of you in November!!

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

Obviously, I am always checking the Wench’s site.  But I’m a big audio/visual guy too, so I really enjoy seeing and hearing about beers/breweries as well as reading:

Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

  • American IPA – I’m a huge hop head.  Give me bitter hops.  I want to taste it on the enamel of my teeth.  Couple of my favorites in this category: Bell’s Two Hearted and the Goose Island IPA
  • Belgians – So many variations…the yeasts give you so many different flavors.  Couple of my favorites: Goose Island Sofie (Saison/Farmhouse) & Delirium Tremens (Belgian Strong Pale Ale)
  • Rye Beers – the bitterness on these is a bit more mild, but that lets in some spices and sour characters of the Rye to come through.  A couple of my favorite examples of this style are the Founders Red’s Rye and the Two Brothers Cane & Ebel

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

Hmmm….this is hard.  I could answer this based on breweries that I’ve only had some of their beers.  But since my blog/podcast is about personal experience, I’ll go with the favorite breweries I’ve visited. Basing on beers I’ve had plus experience at the brewery.

  • The Livery – Benton Harbor, MI
  • Half Acre – Chicago, IL
  • Three Floyds – Munston, IN

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

It would have to be Dogfish Head.  I love their style, their attitude, hard work ethic, desire to grow at their own pace.  And Sam Caligione is one of my personal heroes.  I’d love to one day sit down and have a beer with that dude.

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

Yes.  Not very great though.  I mean, I love all the beers I’ve made.  What’s better than making beer, kegging it, and serving it on tap in your own kitchen??  But I haven’t even stepped up to all grain yet.  So I’m still learning.

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

Not yet.  If I had the money and time, I’d be at Siebel without a doubt.  Plus, I should really start looking into Cicerone as well.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

Oh, that’s kind of easy.  Come to Chicago.  Go to the Hopleaf.  Order the mussels for two:  Belgian-Style: Steamed in Wittekerke white ale w/ sliced shallots, celery, thyme & bayleaf.  To drink, have the Kwak brewed by Bosteels.

The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

I’m in sales.

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?

As I mentioned before, I’d love to work for a brewery in marketing.  I’d love to promote what they have going on.  Write about it.  Tweet about it.  Facebook.  I’m kind of an internet dork who wants to work where beer constantly flows.  It’s nice to have dreams, right?

3. Are you married? Children?

Nope, and nope.

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

I’m a big music buff.  Any style/genre.  I’m a huge concert goer.  Living in Chicago, it’s pretty easy to find a great live show to catch.  And while doing that, you get to drink beer too so I get to combine two of my favorite things!

Off The Beaten Path

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

Russian Imperial Stout.  Strong and bold, yet with some hidden characteristics you need to sample a few times before really getting to know all that it has to offer.  (Although I’m a pale white boy)

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?

I would go with the Founders Red’s Rye.  It’s one of my favorite, hoppy beers.  And the label has sort of a personal side for me.  The old man pictured on the bottle looks WAY too much like one of my grandparents.  It always makes me remember my Grandfather every time I see it.  It’s kind of uncanny.

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?

Well, I’d maybe go with a Berliner Weisse.  A pale, golden wheat style.  Tart, sour, and very refreshing with very little bitterness.  Perhaps add a bit of fruit characteristics in there.  Maybe some peaches.

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

Invisibility, perhaps.  Think of all the free beer!

5. What are your thoughts on bacon?

Bacon comes from a magical animal.  In fact, I believe most everything should have a hint of bacon in it.  Mmmm….now I think I have to go have a smoked beer.



Share This Post
Tagged as , , , , , , + Categorized as Beer Blogger Interviews

Leave a Reply