Featured Beer Blogger: ERIK LARS MYERS

Written by The Beer Wench. Posted in Blogger Interviews

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Featured Beer Blogger: ERIK LARS MYERS

Published on December 10, 2009 with 1 Comment

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!

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INTRODUCING: ERIK LARS MYERS

Author of: Top Fermented

Beer Blogger Interview

Full name: Erik Lars Myers
Twitter handle: @topfermented
Name of blog: Top Fermented
Current location: Durham, NC

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Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Northern Maine, just a stone’s throw (literally) from the Canadian border. The town next to me was the northern-most town in the continental U.S. until some unorganized territory in Michigan’s U.P. got a post office.

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

Lots of soccer. I was the girls varsity basketball manager for a while. I play a LOT of volleyball, but I didn’t do that until my 20’s.

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

Six or seven 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?

I stole a drink from one of my grandfather’s Naragansett tallboys during a family visit once. I thought it was awful.

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 a little college in rural western New York called Alfred University. I was a theater major in college, so my main educational background is in acting, directing, and egotism. No sports while I was in college, unless you count Ultimate Frisbee on the weekends, but I was over-involved in theater. In addition to doing multiple theater productions each semester, I was heavily involved the improv theater group there, did radio plays, and I acted and directed a sketch comedy show based on Saturday Night Live which was, quite originally, called Friday Night Live.

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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:

The bar at college that I used to go to, Alex’s College Spot, had a World Beer Tour. You gotta understand, this is the place that sold giant steins for $12. Then, on mug night, you could go in and fill it with Natty Light for $1. They had a World Beer Tour. GREAT beer. Fantastic beer. It was the first place I ever found out that beer could be something other than the swill they were serving at frat parties. The beer that I actually remember the most from that was Lindeman’s Framboise. I’m not even a big fan of the beer, but the fact that a beer could taste like that – so amazingly different from anything else I could have conceived – was really eye-opening.

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

Most of my beer epiphanies now stem from re-visiting styles or beers that I previous didn’t like, coming back at them with a fresh palate and an open mind and finding what about those beers people enjoy. The one that really sticks out was the last time I was at a sports bar and someone ordered a pitcher of Coors – the regular golden can Coors. I drank it, because he bought it, and the first thing that struck me was that I could taste hops. Not a lot, mind you. But I was so pleasantly surprised at the subtle hop flavors that I sat and drank the whole pint in utter amazement.

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Beer Blog Background

1. How long have you been writing TOP FERMENTED?

I started by blog in March of 2009.

2. What inspired you to start writing TOP FERMENTED?

I was urged into it by my friends who were sick of hearing me spout on about beer in off-topic places (I also write for Intrepid Media and I’ve been struggling with NOT writing about beer, there). They now have me corralled into a spot where they only have to listen to me ramble when they want. In addition, I’ve been wanting to get a foot in the door in the beer industry for a while, since my long term plan is to open a brewery. This allows me to keep up with what’s going on, stay involved, and hopefully have a leg up when the time comes for me to open shop.

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

Well, “top fermented” is obviously a reference to ales – to which I’m partial. I also like the fact that “top” is a synonym for “best.” So the original thought was that “top fermented” would be like “best ales.” I originally saw myself reviewing beer, but I’ve since decided not to do so.

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

I’d really like it to be a source of fresh ideas for the industry. One of the things I try to do is to take a look at what’s currently going on in and around the industry and look at it with a fresh eye. My example is what I’ve been attempting to do with beer statistics – to come up with a way that non-beer-geeks can relate to beer and to hopefully encourage breweries to be more open with their consumers. The craft beer industry – as awesome and brilliant and friendly as it is, is like a giant clique. It’s got its eye turned in on itself so often that I don’t think it realizes how inaccessible it is to people who don’t want to bother with trying something crazy and new. It aspires to be a significant portion of the nation’s beverage industry, but it doesn’t really make an effort to make it easy for new customers to get involved. If I can even lean on a problem like that a little and offer a partial solution, then I’ll be happy.

I also really like debate. I love it when I say something that somebody disagrees with me on. The internet is kind of rough for it, since text is toneless and can be interpreted incorrectly, but it doesn’t change the fact that healthy debate solves more than constant reaffirmation. Sometimes, you have to be disagreed with to grow.

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

I’ve been able to, like I wanted to, get involved with the industry more. I’ve started working with the North Carolina Brewers Guild doing their website, writing for them, covering events and sort of help get them off the ground as they form. It’s been a really great way to meet industry people in the state and really get to know the small business end of the industry. I’ve also been able to start working on another top secret industry/blogging project that should make its debut in early 2010.

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

The ones I read every post without missing are:

  • Andy Crouch’s BeerScribe
  • Stan Hieronymus’s Appellation Beer
  • Jay Brooks’s Brookston Beer Bulletin

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Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

It’s like choosing between children. I can’t do it. What I tend toward changes based on time of year, time of day, and how I’m feeling at the moment. The one overriding exception is that I will always go out of my way for a geuzue.

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

Ommegang, Allagash, and Brooklyn. No matter what these guys make it is always, always worth trying.

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

Fullsteam, and I don’t just say that because I know the guys who are starting it. They probably most closely envision my own ideas of what I’d like in my own brewery.

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

I am. I tend to try all kinds of weirdo crap. Things that have worked out for me: Basil American Wheat, Rye-Potato Saison, Peat-smoked Raspberry Porter, and Rosemary Scottish 60/-. That said, 75% of the beers that I make fall right into style guidelines. The most important thing to me is that they are drinkable.

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

I’m a Cicerone Certified Beer Server, and I’ll be looking at taking the next exam step in the spring. I’ve done seminars at Siebel for brewery startup, and I’m planning on enrolling in their short course for brewing.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

Really hoppy IPA with really soft creamy cheese like muenster.

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The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

I’m currently a computer geek at a University.

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?

If I could, I would drop everything and start my brewery tomorrow.

3. Are you married? Children?

I am married. I have an adorable dog and cat combo that function as my children.

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

Volleyball. Lots and lots of volleyball. I’m also a huge fan of cooking, but I really hate dishes, so that doesn’t always get very far. On occasion, when the mood strikes me, I get out in the yard and fiddle with plants. I’m a big fan of giant tropical plants and cacti. They don’t play well together.

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Off The Beaten Path

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

A porter: Soft-spoken, mild, but with moments of brilliance.

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?

With an impending execution? Tactical Nuclear Penguin. Nothing like a bomber of 60 proof beer to dull the pain.

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?

Is there danger in answering this? I would make a bacon-smoked bock.

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

Invisibility.

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

I cannot legally tell the story for this. Suffice to say that, while threatened, I have never actually had a cavity search. Living right on an international border while you’re growing up is something else. Border guards have very little patience with college kids.

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

I love it, but I’m afraid that with the sustained pop culture attention that it will eventually jump the shark and that there will be a bacon backlash. I think I’d prefer it remained awesome, but not overdone.

SPECIAL THANKS TO ERIK FOR AN AWESOME INTERVIEW!

CHEERS!

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There are currently 1 Comment on Featured Beer Blogger: ERIK LARS MYERS. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. I’d love to be interviewed. It’s great that us beer bloggers share ideas and learn from each other.

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