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: SCHNEIDER MIKE
AUTHOR & HOST OF: BELCHING MONKEY
Beer Blogger Interview
Full name: Schneider, Mike
Twitter handle: @schneidermike @belchingmonkey
Name of blog: BelchingMonkey
Current location: The Triangle of Awesome (Boston, Austin and Seattle)
1. Where did you grow up?
Willoughby, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland that is full of character, history and boredom.
2. What sports if any did you play growing up, through college and beyond?
Mostly soccer and hockey. I also skateboarded quite a bit although I was terrible. Now I love skiing and soccer.
3. How old were you when you had your first beer?
I started drinking beer at age 6. My dad let me have the first sip of his first beer of every evening. I was his drinking buddy.
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 first full beer was a Michelob Dark. I had it at the lake in my neighborhood. I drank it pretty fast and my friends were worried because I had never taken them up on the offer for a beer. I was 16. I felt nothing and had no trouble drinking it because I had been sipping beers since I was 6 years old.
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 Miami University, I majored in Accountancy and MIS. I was in a fraternity and spent most of my time with intramural hockey and an improvisational comedy troupe. I also deejayed weddings and sorority parties to make money. I sucked at college. I had no idea what it was about. I did not realized that it was about experimentation and experiences, however I did begin my transformation from beer drinker to beer snob. I drank a metric shit-ton of Old Milwaukee. I majored in the wrong thing. I had a long-distance relationship and I put way too much pressure on myself to do who-knows-what. I did, however, have an amazing time at Goggin Arena watching CCHA hockey.
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:
In college, I started out drinking a lot of swill like Busch Light Draft, Hudepohl’s, Old Milwaukee and Bud Light. They got me drunk and the additives always made the hangovers particularly terrible. Not only did I want more from the taste, I was not into being drunk. I liked beer, but I was convinced that it did not need to taste like someone hooked your tongue up to a pair of jumper cables, so I created “good beer night” with my roommates. At the time, I had no clue what that meant. At the time my palate thought Miller Genuine Draft was Lagavulin 21 or Drie Fonteinen Ouede Gueze, in other words, about as good as it gets.
We went to the package store with my mates and we each picked a six pack of something we thought would turn us from drunk pussies to Thundercats. My roommate Andy picked Moosehead and the guy who was old enough to buy picked up a six of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I do not even remember what I picked. I think it was Spaten, which is awesome, but I took one sip of the Sammy and had an out of body experience. I saw two rainbows, a unicorn and Elle Macphereson naked. I had never had anything like it and wanted to find out more about Boston Beer Company.
2. Have you have additional craft beer epiphanies since the first? Detail as many of them as you wish:
I have them all the time. This could get long. #twss
Even though I discovered Samuel Adams and Guinness in college, it wasn’t until I got my first job that I tried anything pricier. I grew up in the Midwest and most people teach you that change is bad. For instance, I always wanted to learn Chinese as a kid and would ask people if I could. They would say no way kid, it’s too hard. I got caught up in that Backstreet Boys, Chevrolet and drumsticks-on-Friday lifestyle a little until one day I came across 4 packs of another Samuel. Samuel Smith.
I bought 4 Oatmeal Stouts and took them to my ex fiancée’s house to drink with her brother and father, who were Dundee Honey Brown sessioneers. We all took a sip and spent the next hour talking about the flavor. I felt so sophisticated that I turned on fucking PBS and we watched Masterpiece Theatre or Bob Ross or something.
Great Lakes Brewing Company provided several epiphanies, but it wasn’t until I started drinking Double IPAs that I realized that some bottles actually contain magic. Great Divide Brewing Hercules, Avery Majarajah and of course the Tony-Hawk-meets-Wayne-Gretzky-Harry-Potter-Mother-Theresa-Bill-Gates-and-Michael-Jordan of beers, Pliny the Elder.
Beer Blog Background
1. How long have you been writing your beer blog?
Since 2008 off and on.
2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I wanted to create content about something I was passionate about. Gary Vaynerchuk takes credit for getting me started in my appearance on WLTV and he definitely was a major influence. I also credit Gregory Ng of Freezerburns. When we worked together at a Boston ad shop, he got me into social media. We invented a few cool loyalty programs and an LBS system that failed because we tried to do it with passive pings before anyone had a smart phone. I also credit my dad for getting me into beer in a way that led me to believe it was just another good thing in life versus a taboo thing that I had to have against the wishes of authority.
3. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
I guess I wanted to be different from the rest of the beer bloggers and vloggers and I wanted it to be a brand that could be more than a website or a show about beer. On the surface it looks like don’t take myself all that seriously, but I actually do. I’m not a big belcher and I identify more with bears and tigers than monkeys, but I told Greg the name and we both couldn’t stop laughing about it so I bought the URL.
4. What are you personal goals form your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
I want to be the Gandalf of Beer. This story is evolving. I used to just think of it as a lab, but now I take it very seriously.
5. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger?
Cool things happen all the time. The coolest is when someone at a pub or package store recognizes me and say they like the show. I also like when people want to drink a beer with me. Being on Wine Library was amazing because I’m kind of Vayniac - and Wayne Gretzky has been on Wine Library!
6. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
Total beer focus?
I like what’s going on over at Hoptopia. Of course Mutineer Magazine provides good beer perspective with authors I like. Josh Christie’s site Brews and Books is an interesting juxtaposition. I also use Beer Advocate all the time, but I think that’s more out of necessity than lust.
1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?
This is like asking me which kid I like the best or to pick one album to listen to on a desert island. American Ambers, Double IPAs, Wild Ales
2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?
I do not have three favorite breweries. I have thirty three or more. I discover new ones that I like all the time. Dogfish Head, Great Divide and Anderson Valley are all very special to me, but there is a whole list of others that wind my gears.
3. If you could work with or for any one brewery, which one would it be and why?
BelchingMonkey Brewing Company of course.
4. Are you a homebrewer? If yes, what is the most unique and interesting beer recipes you’ve brewed as a homebrewer?
5. Do you have any beer certifications (BJCP, Cicerone, Siebel, American Brewers Guild)?? If so, what are they?
I sure do not.
6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?
Pumpkin beer and Turkey
The Personal Side
1. What is your current day job?
Technology evangelist and strategist for a marketing consultancy.
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 like risk. I would do something in technology or venture capital. I also dream that I am in the restaurant business a lot, but I do not know why. I am usually making burritos.
3. Are you married? Children?
Yes and yes
4. Outside of beer and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?
I love soccer. I play as often as I can. I am obviously also very interested in tech and gadgets. I play video games when I have time (rarely). I like to hit the gym to stay fit. I’m also into BBQ.
Off The Beaten Path
1. If you were a style of beer, what style would be an why?
An Imperial IPA. I am big and bold, but am an acquired taste and I am not for everyone, but once you get to know me…
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?
Please bring me a Brew Dog “End of History” and a cigar. At an inconceivable 110 proof, I believe I could create some sort of explosion and escape.
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?
Beer Wench would be a Wild Ale with a wall of sourness. Those who are able to unlock the secrets find crisp plum tartness and unexpected richness and tannins due to pinot noir barrel aging. The bitterness would give way to an unexpectedly sweet finish, but only to those who are patient enough to wait.
4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
flying, invulnerability, speed, x-ray vision, extraordinary pain threshold and liquor tolerance, abilty to detect Pliny in a 10 mile radius
either that or I’d just be Spider-man. That is who people say is my super hero doppleganger
5. What is one of the craziest things you have ever done and lived to tell the story?
I once drank a whole 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew in a sitting. I also split my head open during an improv sketch. Chic threw a rabid cat at my face. I did a “Kramer” fall, thrashed around and hit my head on the lip of the stage. Lots of blood.
6. What are your thoughts on bacon?
Please may I have some more?
SPECIAL THANKS TO MIKE FOR AN AWESOME INTERVIEW!