Featured Beer Blogger: A2 BEER WENCH

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Featured Beer Blogger: A2 BEER WENCH

Published on April 19, 2010 with 10 Comments

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: THE [other] BEER WENCH

AUTHOR OF: A2 BEER WENCH

Beer Blogger Interview

Full name: E.T. Crowe (Elizabeth Tarry-Crowe-but nobody calls me “Elizabeth” except me mum and the Mister when the credit card bill arrives, oh and my yoga instructor because he’s old school that way).
Internet nickname: A2BeerWench
Twitter handle: @Beerwencha2
Name of blogs:

  • www.a2beerwench.com
  • www.wolverinebeer.com/blog
  • www.aabedwench.blogspot.com

Current location: Ann Arbor, MI

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

I was born in Nashville TN grew up in Tallahassee Fl, and S.E. Kentucky.  Williamsburg to be exact. Home of Cumberland College where my dad was head of the music department which, as a Southern Baptist Institution frowned on all forms of vice including drinking AND dancing.  Funnily enough, my parents hosted some pretty damn wild “Faculty Parties” if I remember right-where I had my “first wine” for sure!
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?

Sports?  I sang, danced and played piano-but since I was “in the band” I attended all football and basketball games and am a HUGE fan of both sports.  I’m also a fan by default of soccer now that I have a club player I have to cart around hells half acre.  Have learned to compensate spending my time standing around waiting for her to finish by admiring soccer coach physique.
3. How old were you when you had your first beer? If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?

First beer (psst, mom, cover your ears):  16 years old at a party out of a keg in a ubiquitous red plastic cup.  I’m guessing it was probably Coors Light since I remember it tasted like beer flavored water.  Of course as a typical teen-age girl I drank whatever the boys provided-sometimes they got clever and brought “wine coolers” until I realized these were beer flavored fruity water and stopped that nonsense.  I’m a preacher’s kid from a small, boring, repressed (AND DRY) Southern village-it’s all true what they say. My parents kept a lot of wine around… And the more I drink the more Southern I sound just FYI.

4. Where, if applicable, did you go to college? What did you study? What additional activities, organizations, sports did you partake in during college?

I have a B.A. in English from The University of Louisville (Ky.) and am a rabid Cardinals fan through thick/thin, Petrino/Kragthorp/Pitino’s libido.  I am a member of Chi Omega fraternity where I was (big surprise) Social Chairman for 2 years.  I was also a Resident Assistant in the athletic dorm my Senior year-prepared me to be a mom of teenagers I like to think but probably not since I spent more time not in the dorm than in it!

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:

Yeungling Premium on the beach at Fripp Island, South Carolina in 1997 the year before I packed up my family and moved overseas for 7 years where I would come to appreciate Asahi (EXTRA DRY) while in Japan, Ephes while in Turkey and whatever I stumbled upon in my Local while in England although ales are my Second Favorite Style (see below).  I have not purchased a macro brew or any of their subsidiaries since.

While some among you may consider Yeungling NOT a craft brewer, I do and am modeling my own beloved company after theirs.  I can’t get said fine Pennsylvania brew in “America’s High Five” a.k.a. Michigan but love finding it whenever I’m Down South.  And plan to transport it over state lines after my Annual Trip to Louisville on the First Saturday in May (see how many people know what Holiday this is—hint:  it involves hats and mint juleps, oh, and horses)

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

In Michigan the opportunities for Craft Beer Epiphanies abound.  Starting with Founders in Grand Rapids I’ve worked my way through developing a real taste for the Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale—which is saying a lot because (as you know) ales are not my first choice but this is a really nice one—around to New Holland who brews the FINEST Kolsch style (Full Circle) I’ve had since spending a Christmas in Koln, Germany with friends.

My new favorite IPA is made by Arcadia Ales in Battle Creek. And of course Shorts makes some lovely beers, including The Magician but I personally can do without licorice flavored beer no matter how many awards it wins.  Of course, it’s been established that I am a Dogfish Head fan(atic) and am never more than a few feet from a Raison D’etre, and not just because I am madly in lust with Sam Calagione either.  It’s one of the few Belgian style ales that I return to time and again.  I’ll have to fill you in on the amazing options in Ann Arbor on my next Wench collaboration blog (wink).

Beer Blog Background

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

I’ve been blogging on wolverinebeer.com about a year but as Beer Wench since October last year.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?

I am in constant learning mode as part owner of The Wolverine State Brewing Co.  While I am a successful marketer (and semi-professional writer with a pretty large fan base, albeit I haven’t managed to earn any money off that yet) and have a thriving real estate business I was not what you would call “a beer person” in the traditional sense.  But when I was approached by The Boys (founders of Company) nearly 2 years ago now and have slowly but surely turned my back on Realtor life as we prepare to open our own brewery and tap room in Ann Arbor I realize one of the coolest things about it is—The Beer!

As I researched beer info (blogs, books, magazines) I realized that the bulk of them were focused on The Beer-as in the making of, the appreciation of various types of, the pairing of food with, and were dominated by men-sort of like the industry itself.  My take is a slightly off-kilter, sarcastic and let’s-poke-fun-at-ourselves female perspective incorporating everything from mildly serious discussions on labeling rules and regs to “best beer songs” which really got folks revved up!   I don’t speak on ANY topic however, without thorough research, and usually discussion with My Boys, who now include the adorable Oliver-The Brew Kid for Wolverine Brewing.

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

I’ve always wanted to be officially named A Wench-once you get to know me, you’ll see why it works!  And “A2″ is the “A-squared” shorthand for My Beloved Adopted Mid-west City (Although This Wench’s heart truly belongs to the South and I’m planning a fun sweep of Southern craft breweries for the fall once I hit all of our amazing Michigan ones-starting right here with my favorite: Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti).


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

Of course, I’m all about shameless promotion for The Wolverine State Brewing Co.  The Boys (yes they have names but I prefer to think of them thus) offered me ownership in the company not just because that was all they had to offer at the time (other than their adorable company and a tendency to dissolve into naughty email chat when we are trying to conduct business).  They knew I would take this thing seriously and My Plans for my blog dovetail with My Plans for My Company.

I want to become the premier microbrewer of mainstream and experimental craft lagers in the Midwest.  Also, with the help of The Boys and The Kid, the A2 Beer Wench will pursue Cicerone certification (in my spare time-ha!) while adding a video element to The Wench’s Education with The Boys, as I’ve found a film student at that University across town who will work for beer (score!) a la Gary Vaynerchuk and his winelibrary.tv which is sheer marketing GENIUS.

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

Hands-down the coolest thing so far happened to me this week-I finally Got Noticed by drinkwiththewench (one of my beer bloggin’ heros) hence said chance to blather on about myself, and was asked to partake in a podcast with a couple of “beer guys” one in Florida and one in N.Y.  We had our practice session yesterday and I think it’s gonna be great!  They can go on and on about a topic and I’ll jump in with my girlie/smart ass/industry expert/brewery owner perspective.  
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?

I love Mutineer Magazine’s Blog-frankly, am hoping they’ll consider printing a little, ah, fiction (if I take mine down a notch to an R rating of course).  I’m also a big fan of the girlsguidetobeer ’cause she’s just funny as hell and nearly as naughty as me plus of course, my new BFF The OTHER Wench as drinkwiththewench.  I tend towards industry minutiae /gossip/ trends/marketing/advertising and take my role as Wenchy Educator about said topics seriously.

Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

  • German Pilseners (Noble Pils or the like from our Buddies in Boston
  • Maibock/Helles bock (e.g. SN Glissade—yummy)
  • Kolsch (German obviously) or in that style a la New Holland’s Full Circle

2. Favorite breweries OTHER THAN MINE (naturally):

  • Dogfish Head
  • Shorts/Arbor/New Holland/Arcadia (it’s a Michigan tie!)
  • Yeungling

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

If you have not sorted out the answer to this questions yet…I’ll repeat:  Dogfish Head.  And truly not just because of Sam (heavy sigh) but because of the intensity of purpose his company brings to craft brewing, the savvy marketing and packaging they use and because he is Smoking Hot.  Sorry.  I can’t help it.

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

Nope—but I pay one to work for me.

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

No but am psyched to start my training—first Official A2 Beer Wench session is (appropriately enough) May 9 Mother’s Day with Oliver and The Boys.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

As one who could also easily be labeled “wine wench” which is what Oliver calls me when he throws up his hands in disgust at my booze choices when we are out—I’m a big fan of stinky, heavy cheese with my hoppy, vine-y beers (see list above).

The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

Owner/marketing guru for The Wolverine State Brewing Company which encompasses everything from long days of “ride alongs” with distribution sales reps, public relations writing, blogging (duh), soliciting Founders Club members amongst my many A2 connections, planning beer promo events (Hello World Expo of Beer!), arranging to provide/serve/promote my beer at the many fundraising parties in this town, planning for football season, meeting architects/builders/electricians/plumbers/city inspectors at The Brewery and Tap Room building, hand-wringing over the slowness of renovation, propping up The Boys when they are down or being propped up (our synergy is great-see the post from March 23 Wherein The Wench Loses Faith).

Whew.

Soon I get to buy chairs, tables, bar ware, dry snacks, lights, artwork, sling a paintbrush, all in the name of getting the damn place OPEN by July!  Then I hit tailgate season. . . Oh, and I sell a few houses now and then ($5 million last year) and write erotic fiction and endeavor to get it published-closer and closer by the minute although I’m considering opening an e-publishing outfit in the back of the brewery:  Hot Books/Cold Brews-whaddaya think?

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 am working towards my dream of giving up on real estate (GOD I HATE appraisers, ya know?), opening the Tap Room, brewing more and better lagers, selling them in the midwest (I’ve just got Michigan distribution right now), and getting paid to WRITE, which I will do preferably in the brewery at my World War 1 era steel desk that could be used as a bomb shelter in a pinch, where I watch the activity and smell the brewing process all day long.  I will admit that my Realtor colleagues are among my earliest and best fans (of the beer and the writing) though and will continue to be that no matter what!

3. Are you married? Children?

Mr. Wench is a well-known entity in my blogosphere.  He comes in handy when I need someone to bounce ideas off of, drive the kids to soccer, provide a naughty back rub (he’s indulgent this way), or be a straw man to make fun of on either blog (see the PMS post on the bedwench’s blog from March 24-all true!).  We’ve been together a while, been through a lot, and enjoy the journey.  I have a teenaged son about to embark on that life changing triumvirate of events known as Prom/Graduation/College (he’s majoring in “Hey I’m in College-where’s the party?”  Apple has not fallen far you see), and 2 daughters, 15 and 12.  Future Wenches in Training for certain.

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

Bikram Yoga-the sweaty kind or exercising in general as it keeps me sane-reading about beer or doing diligent research amongst the books in my Other Favorite Genre-watching soccer coach ass-drinking, probably too much but that’s what Milk Thistle is for—taking Power Walks with Ipod cranked to Rage Against the Machine or Cage the Elephant or Sheryl Crow with my 2 wenchy poodles.

Off The Beaten Path

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

I love this question because My Boys have decided that the first Experimental Lager on our taps will be named in my honor.  There is a bit of a debate about what it will be.  Here is how they weigh in.

  • Matt (“The Man” and President-bringer of all things boring and budgetary, corporate drone attorney of note but cool dude nonetheless): “”Rauchbier’ because it’s bold, raunchy and in-your-face!” (Rauchbier is German beer style that uses smoked malt so it has a really strong taste that most people can’t handle—he has to throw in the smarty pants bit every time!)
  • Trevor (“The Brain” and well, The Brain supplier of all things pie-chart and Meta Branding related): a 22 oz pilsner glass full of Pilsner Urquell. A refreshing original with a bite.  When I got this response the emails flew about The Brain as Wench ass-kisser but somebody’s got to be That Guy.
  • Oliver (“The Brew Kid” adorable and determined to make me take All Things Brewing very very seriously): You are a Raspberry Helles, it’s seductive, mysterious, and always in the mood. (CAUTION: this would be a very Off-Center Beer. To quote the motto, of the company, of the man who is to in the future, retain a restraining order against you)

Awwww, are they not adorable?

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?

In the spring/summer:  Sierra Nevada Glissade.  In the fall/winter: Dogfish Head Raison D’etre served to me by Sam himself. . .in a loincloth like that hot new Spartacus show on Starz—OK, he has to serve me the Glissade too.

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?

(Went to my Brew Kid on this one Ashley, hope you don’t mind—what’s his point anyway, other than the obvious):

“A German Helles with Raspberries, harking back to The Beer Wench as a staple of a good German Beer Garden where the refreshing helles is served in it’s most traditional setting.”

Raspberries ‘cause he knows I love them I guess.  Don’t know what all that nonsense is about restraining orders!

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

I am BEER WENCH, bringer of malted, hopped and fermented Goodness to the masses crying out for options to the beer flavored water lagers of the Evil Macros.  I use my Xray vision to seek out shitty beer fridge choices and send my muscular Minions, dressed in Wolverine lager t shirts and loincloths (a la Spartacus, see above) to replace all Labatts/Molson/Heinie/Corona options with my delicious Michigan made, craft brewed, yet competitively-priced brew.  Using my stealth mind control powers I can persuade beer snob bar owners to place my sweet tap handle alongside their heavy, meal-like ales as The Perfect Fizzy Yellow option for their thirsty patrons.  I need no other super powers as my regular charms serve me just fine, thanks.

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

While visiting Key West several years B.K. (Before Kids) Mister W and I made friends with a cool old Popeye-looking guy in a run down bar where we had decided to hang out pretty much every night because the appetizers and drinks were cheap (this is prior to having Real Jobs).  After 3 nights of chatting, getting to know him, listening to some awesome live acoustic guitar groups and drinking enough to cause our poor (then still young) livers to sob for mercy, he invited us down to the beach for a stroll and to partake of a controlled substance in the same family as our beloved hops.

Being the young and invincible, fit and cocky beings that we were (and still are, just with More Experience) we followed him there, partook, and heard his whole life story, which included the fascinating fact he had escaped from a maximum security prison nearly 5 years prior where he had been incarcerated for 1st degree murder, of which he was totally guilty, he said, eyes glowing as he gazed upon our bleary selves.  We froze like the proverbial deer in the murderous headlights, eased ourselves up to a semi-standing position, and walked backwards away, slowly, waving and smiling and murmuring under our breath—RUN!

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

If I could, I would marry bacon and we’d head to Belgium for our honeymoon where I would have a scorching affair with chocolate, while bacon watched.

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY SISTA WENCH FOR AN EPICLY AWESOME INTERVIEW!

Cannot wait to meet her one day and UNLEASH HAVOC!

CHEERS!

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10 Comments

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  1. The Wenches meet and The World Is Changed Forevahhhhh!
    cheers and now let’s meet in person.
    A2BW

  2. Great interview! Best of luck and much success with the brewery - hopefully it’ll make it to Jersey someday!

  3. LOL at the comment about Sam. I think every beer loving wench would love to work with him. ;o)

    Excellent interview!

  4. That cracked me up. One of the best interviews yet Ashley. Great to hear your story E.T. and good luck with the brewery.

  5. I am proud of the A2 Beer Wench! She is the best, and no, I did not know that she had her first beer at 16!

    Mother of the Wench

  6. thanks kids! follow me over on my blog and that way you’ll never have to go a day without a Wench!

  7. A2 Beer Wench has many many talents. Not only does she do the beer thing-y (sorry I just can’t get past the horrible experience I had with the stuff when I was 13 years old and involving puking in the bushes…shudder…) but she writes with one finger on the…(oh ET you know what word(s) you can use there…). Wolverine Brewing will be a great place to hang when they open their doors. Go, sister, go!!

  8. Awesome! Interesting….learned many cool things about ET….best wishes to both of you…….

  9. oh crap, outed by me mum!

  10. Beer Wench, I knew you long before you had that first beer at 16! When we lived in Brewton, AL, as kids, you and I were friends. Your mum was a teacher at the elementary school we attended, and I loved your family! I remember going to see your dad in “Camelot” at the junior college where he taught. Awesome memories! And you had an awesome family! Good luck with your blog and your ventures!

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