…as told to you by a pregnant lady. And for sure, one that still knows way more about beer than you do.
Say hello to Marie from Cheaper Than Therapy! She graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions about beer and blogging. I’m saving a cold one for her…
Q: You sure seem to know a lot about beer. How and when did you get in to it? Did you evolve from the likes of Nattie Ice-chugging college students, or did you always have better taste than most of us?
A: I have always had better everything than most of you.
Nah, but yeah. I drank shitty beer by the gallon in college. Keystone Light was my poison. Every once in a while we’d really live it up and buy some Corona or Shiner. But I saved most of my money to buy good pot…
I knew there was better beer out there, but I couldn’t really comprehend how good. I also knew there were these things called stouts and porters, but I just kind of always assumed I wouldn’t like them. I was like a lot of people in that Big Beer had conditioned me to believe that beer should not have much flavor. I blame it partially on the fact that I lived in Lubbock, Texas throughout my formative beer-drinking years. (Although in Lubbock’s defense, Hub City Brewery did have some great beer.)
I’ve always been a fan of drinking though, so once I had a little more money, I started branching out. I really got into it when I started hanging with a couple guys from work who were real big beer geeks. My epiphany beer was Dogfish Head 90.
Q: Everywhere you turn, there seems to be someone yammering about “craft” beer. What exactly is craft beer? How is it different from a microbrew or a mass-produced beer?
A: In the book Great American Craft Beer, it says that a microbrewery was once classified as one that produced less than 3000 barrels annually. Then a lot of brewers who had inadvertently exceeded “microbrew” levels due to their sheer awesomeness got kind of pissed, and the number was raised to 10,000. Then 15. The American Brewer’s Association now maintains a strict 6 million barrel microbrewery threshold. For now.
Mr. Fancy Pants Brewer’s Association defines a “craft” brewery as one that is “small, independent and traditional.” Then they go on to to describe just exactly what qualifies as small, independent and traditional. And then they offer some more subjective criteria.
It’s kind of stupid.
I think if a brewer makes a legit effort to be distinct and flavorful rather than just trying to appeal to the masses, it could be considered craft. Oh, and you have to really like doing it. You can’t be a faker who’s just in it for the money.
But I try not to get too hung up on the semantics (that’s what wine people do). You figure out what tastes good to you and you drink it.
Q: On your blog, you’re always drinking beers that I’ve never heard of. You seem to have a ton of local favorites. What are your top three?
A: SO GLAD YOU ASKED.
Indiana is really lucky to have some fantastic local breweries. I go on and on about Three Floyds, but for real, they epitomize everything I love: great beer, heavy metal, tattoos. Those guys just know what the fuck they’re doing. Three Floyds’ Imperial IPA, the Dreadnaught, is my all-time favorite. My second would probably be Arctic Panzer Wolf Double IPA or Apocalypse Cow (another DIPA). Alpha Klaus is one of their seasonal porters that is really incredible. Hoptimus (like from Transformers?) is an IPA from New Albanian in New Albany, IN, and it’s pretty killer too.
Upland (Bloomington, IN) has a fantastic black IPA called Komodo Dragonfly, a seasonal take on their Dragonfly IPA (picking up a theme here??)
ALSO ALSO ALSO the new 3 Pints Brewpub in Plainfield, IN has some beers that smell wonderful. But you’d have to ask my husband. They only started brewing after I was already knocked up.
Well, that was more than three. But screw your three.
Q: How about favorite three beers that you could find anywhere in America in a typical grocery store?
A: New Belgium (they make more than just Fat Tire!) is one of the largest craft breweries in the country now, and their Ranger IPA is fantastic. I think you can find Stone beer in most places too; I really like their Sublimely Self-Righteous American Black Ale, but if they don’t have that, pick up an Arrogant Bastard. You also can’t go wrong with Sierra Nevada pale ale. Also, I might get killed for saying this, but A-B’s Shock Top Belgian Wheat is really not that bad. If you’re in a pinch.
Q: Help me expand the non-running-and-oatmeal-eating section of my Google reader. Name a few of your favorite beer blogs?
http://www.dailybeerreview.com/ is one I read every day. He’s reviewed thousands of beers so it’s a great source for researching stuff. And we’ve done a couple of beer trades so I can vouch for his expertise. He’s also pretty funny.
http://www.brewkkake.com/ is pure gutter. He doesn’t blog very often, but when he does, it’s definitely worth reading.
http://willrunforbeer.blogspot.com/. She’s a really good runner and she drinks a lot of beer. Proof that that everything in moderation adage is bullshit.
http://beerporndaily.com/ is also funsies.
And for any Indiana friends out there, http://www.hoosierbeergeek.blogspot.com/ is our local beer-enthusiast organization. The site has everything you would ever need to know about local beer: where you can find it, special events, reviews, etc. A really fun crowd of people. Also they seem to have some really weird fetish for pandas.
Q: I remember that one time when you went to Germany and drank a bunch of beer and blogged about it. That was neat. If you could take another beer-related vacation, where would you go and what would you do? (And can I come with you?)
A: I love visiting exotic places and foreign countries, but for a beer tour, I’d stick to the good ol’ U.S. of A. I’d love to take a few weeks to drive or cycle up the west coast. California, Oregon and Washington have some fantastic local breweries, camping and sightseeing.
Q: You recently got knocked up. Congratulations! I must admit, though, that I did a double-take when you posted your announcement because it seemed like the sort of thing you might joke about. Your blog has become rather well-known for its hilariously deadpan satire. Where do you get your material?
A: Thank you! I waste a lot of time being insolent and making fun of people, so it may come as a surprise that I actually have a heart. Or a uterus.
Material…I like to take stuff I think is stupid and expand on it. My intention is never to hurt feelings; rather, to say what (I hope) everyone else is thinking and to make people laugh. And sometimes to hurt feelings.
Having said that, there are a lot of bloggers out there who give bad advice and seem to take the idea of being a fitness role model way too seriously. And also they take way too many pictures of themselves doing the most mundane and/or absurd things. From sitting in a car drinking iced coffee to getting a colonic (okay, I’m exaggerating, but really? I wouldn’t be surprised. And I’m not a prude, okay, but is nothing sacred?) It’s really just an excuse to post flattering (and if we’re being honest, not-so-flattering) pictures of themselves. I see myself as providing a public service to help these people understand how ridiculous they are.
Also, when it comes to humor, nothing should be off limits. Eating disorders, drug abuse, Down Syndrome, AIDS, cancer, abortion. All of these things have the potential to be very funny. The Ebola virus is hysterical to me. So is crystal meth.
Okay, look. Before I start pissing people off, these are things we have all encountered in our lives, either personally or via a friend or sex partner or family member (except maybe for Ebola), so I’m not trying to diminish how scary they can be. But you make horrible jokes about them, and suddenly they don’t seem so scary. Don’t give them power, and they won’t overpower you. It’s like finding out the monster on Scooby Doo was just that disgruntled lighthouse keeper all along. I never try to simply be gratuitously shocking; I’m trying to make a point. And if somebody doesn’t get it…well, I’m too lazy to explain.
What was your question again?
Q: I have no idea. Um, okay, final question: sliced fruit in yer beer. Yay or nay?
A: Personally, I think a good beer should be able to stand on it’s own without requiring fruit to enhance it. BUT I also think the coolest thing about beer is that there are no rules (um, unless you’re the ABA, I guess). You can’t embarrass yourself at your dinner party by pairing a beer with the wrong dish. You don’t spit out your beer at beer tastings. You can dip your pork rib in your beer and nobody will give you side-eyes. And if you ask that your beer be served in a snifter, you’re not a snob, you’re a geek.
So I would say yes to anything, if it serves a purpose. (Dogfish Head’s “neo-Berliner Weisse” Festina Peche is served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup to soften the intense sourness…I know, what?) But if you’re just doing it because you think you’re supposed to (or worse, because it makes the photo look prettier!), then nah.
Thanks so much, Marie!
And with that, I’m gonna go drink a cold one on the beach.