Featured Beer Blogger: BILL NIGHT

Written by The Beer Wench. Posted in Blogger Interviews, INTERVIEWS, LATEST

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Published on November 30, 2011 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!

INTRODUCING: BILL NIGHT

AUTHOR OF: IT’S PUB NIGHT

Beer Blogger Interview

Full name: Bill Night
Twitter handle: @itspubnight
Name of blog: It’s Pub Night
Current location: Portland, OR

Background “Snapshot”

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma (fun fact: I went to the same elementary school in Tulsa as the Beer Goddess Lisa Morrison, though I didn’t know her until we were both writing about beer in Portland).

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

I played some baseball, basketball, and soccer growing up but I was never very good and eventually quit. As an adult I took up swimming for exercise, and I’ve always used a bicycle as my main source of transportation.

3. If you can recall, what is the story of your first beer? Where did you have it? What style and brand was it?

My early experiences with beer aren’t noteworthy. It was 3.2 beer as a teenager in Oklahoma, then cheap swill when I first got to college in Texas.

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 went to the University of Texas at Austin, and got out after four years with a math degree. I belonged to an official student group at UT called the Royal Order of Pythons. We were Monty Python fans for the most part, but really the club was just an excuse to get together, drink beer, and pull various stunts to make fun of the more serious campus organizations. Every member held the title of Vice President. Even though we’ve dispersed around the country, many of us are still great friends more than 25 years later.

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 the fall of 1984 I went with the Pythons to the student union at UT to drink beer. One friend went to buy some pitchers and asked, “Is Shiner Bock all right?” I had never heard of it, so it was fine with me. Shiner Bock turned out to be a dark, creamy beer, with much more body and flavor than the bland, fizzy beer I’d had before. Wow, in addition to giving you a buzz, beer can taste good! Even better, it was one of the cheapest beers in town at the time, especially on tap. I still have a warm spot in my heart for Shiner, and their seasonal and anniversary beers the last few years have been impressive.

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

I can pretty clearly remember my first Guinness, first hefeweizen in Munich, first Old Foghorn, first American-style IPA (at Waterloo Brewing in Austin, R.I.P.), first Jubelale, and many other firsts. But my next real life-changing beer was at the Lucky Labrador in Portland in the fall of 2004 (or maybe it was 2003): my first fresh hop beer. A flyer on the bar announced that they had a golden ale on tap that they brewed with fresh hops, not dried but loaded into a pickup right after harvest and thrown into the beer within a couple hours of being picked. It wasn’t a strongly flavored beer, but I was instantly fascinated by the green, polleny, fresh hop flavor. That was the first one I noticed, and every year there seem to be more fresh hop beers. They’re not for everyone, but I love them.

Beer Blog Background

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

Since 2007. Exactly four years on December 3!

2. What inspired you to start writing your blog?

My good friend Lee Nichols in Austin has a blog called I Love Beer. During the fresh hop season of 2007 I sent him an email about a few fresh hop beers I’d tried, and he published it on his blog. It made me realize that my friends, neighbors, and I were constantly obsessing about beer, and we lived right at ground zero of a rapidly expanding beer scene in Portland. It seemed worth documenting, so I started my own blog.

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

When my daughters were little and it was hard to find time to get out of the house, I tried to get into a weekly routine of rounding up a few buddies to go out for a mid-week beer. So I would call or email them to invite them out to the pub, and eventually the shorthand for our outings was just “Hey, it’s pub night”. It’s a tradition I kept up when we moved from Austin to Portland, and it was the obvious choice for the blog’s name. Ironically, I’ve fallen out of the habit in the last couple years. Maybe it’s time to start a regular pub night again.

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

Mainly I hope to document this exciting period of time in the Portland beer scene. I don’t take it too seriously – one of my favorite things on the blog is the Beer Review Generator, which takes the piss out of the Beer Advocate/Ratebeer crowd, all in fun, of course. A somewhat drier feature is the Portland Beer Price Index, which documents the price changes of our favorite beverage.

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

It’s fun to get the occasional freebie and talk beer with the people making it. But for me the best part is meeting all the beer people who aren’t necessarily insiders or writers, but just friendly folks who care deeply about good beer. I love the beer people.

6. What are your top 6 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?

Whew! I’m glad you allowed me 6 choices and not just the usual 3, because I truly geek out over beer blogs and follow scores of them pretty closely. For information about our local scene in Portland, I can’t live without Beervana, The New School, or Brewpublic. But I also get excited by blogs that stand out with a unique voice or an innovative way of writing about beer. Three that I really like for their fresh take are: Bottle Battle, which doesn’t just review beers but does blind tasting comparisons; Urban Beer Hikes, which maps out epic West Coast pub crawls; and A Pint for Dionysus, which instead of dwelling on aroma and mouthfeel puts more focus on the writer’s mood, the atmosphere at the bar, and the characters he meets there.

Beer Talk

1. What are your top 3 favorite beer styles?

IPA, Hoppy Northwest Red, Porter. But really I like it all.

2. What are your top 3 favorite breweries?

Deschutes, Lagunitas, Widmer. But really I like them all.

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

I don’t see myself working in the industry, but I’d be happy to be a quality-control taster at Deschutes.

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

Nope. Other people are already brewing too much good beer, I’ll just drink theirs.

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

No. But give me enough time and I’ll think of a sarcastic alternative to them.

6. What is your favorite beer and food pairing?

Any kind of nice strong ale with some Belgian-style mussels in broth.

The Personal Side

1. What is your current day job?

I’m a software engineer.

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’m pretty happy with what I’m doing right now, but maybe I’d try my hand at travel writing. I’ve always loved traveling and learning about different cultures and their food and drink.

3. Are you married? Children?

Married 16 years. Two teenage daughters.

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

I love to travel, though family life cuts back on that quite a bit. I like to ride my bike.

Off The Beaten Path

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

Let’s go with Cascadian Dark Ale. A little gloomy and dark, some would call me bitter but there’s a floral quality there too.

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?

Fresh Hop Mirror Pond from Deschutes. My favorite beer ever.

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?

The Beer Wench will be consumed in great quantities, so it can’t be too strong. It has to be lively and effervescent, so I think a good dunkelweizen would do the trick. The Reinheitsgebot will constrain us from adding any extra ingredients.

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

Teleportation.

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

In January of 1993 I hiked seven miles to the top of Blue Mountain Peak, the highest point in Jamaica at 7400 feet, carrying only a few spice cakes for food. There was supposed to be a cabin up there for shelter, but when I got there just as the clouds were rolling in for the night, I found that the wooden doors and shutters of the cabin had been burnt for firewood by earlier unprepared hikers. When it got dark I zipped up into my light sleeping bag. It was pitch dark, windy and cold, and every time I dropped off to sleep, some rats holed up in the cabin would start nosing around me startling me awake. It was the longest thirteen hours of my life; at the first glimmer of light I headed back down the trail as fast as I could.

6. What are your thoughts on bacon?

Stick with the top-shelf bacon and you can’t go wrong.

THANKS BILL FOR AN AWESOME INTERVIEW! CHEERS!

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

  1. Bill is one of the coolest cats I know. Mad respect to this guy.

  2. […] Drink With The Wench: Featured Beer Blogger: BILL NIGHT […]

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