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How I became the Brewmaster – Part 1: The Quest of Craft Beer

So, I feel like a question many may have about me is how I became the Brewmaster? Well, sit down lads and lasses, it’s time to tell you all a story.

My family situation is a rather complicated one, suffice to say. But I think the important thing to establish is my father is foreign born, from a rather well off family in a not so well off country (certainly at the time). To him, obsession with European culture and aristocracy is something he fancies and above all else holds wine to be the most refined of drinks. Yes, I might be exaggerating a bit (only slightly though), but especially in my youth craft beer was not a common thing. Beer was considered to be one of five things: Budweiser, Miller, Coors, bitch beer, and malt liquor. But I had heard from him before that beer in Europe was something completely different. Things like Guinness were considered real beer and the rest were just American piss-water.

The previously mentioned categories still are, but I digress.

So when I turned 21, I embarked on a quest to find ‘real beer’ I could share with him that could be just as good if not better than the wine he would fan on about. This is mostly because he and I have always had a bit of an argumentative history, so I naturally wanted to prove him wrong.

My first real experience with what, at the time, was considered “Craft” was Sam Adams Boston Lager. I’ve had the regular stuff, but I was definitely not accustomed to a beer with a more hoppy character up front, so it came across as harsh. It was still an entertaining night with my family, however, as my father became schlitzed after two martinis served in margarita glasses, and I still have to say it was an interesting experience to try that beer.

Fast forward a bit and I find myself trying more beers. I stayed as far away as I could from anything with the word “Lite” in it, and without any better knowledge of other choices (mind you, the craft beer movement was still rather young in my area) my pallet had expanded to a total of three beers: Killians Irish Red (Owned by Coors in Golden, CO but I was not much the wiser) Blue Moon Belgian Wheat (Also owned by Coors), and Miller High Life (Owner obvious). Not much of an improvement, but I can at least say I had gone through many labels, hoping to find a gem. Most, though, were just owned by the same big three and I was no wiser.

Then, I met my wife. She, unlike I, had a much more expanded breadth and knowledge of good beer, having spent a summer in Germany. I thought myself proud having something that wasn’t a lite beer, and was confused by the beers that she ordered when we first started going out. It was bound, though, to bring me fully into the craft beer ring. This also coincided with Raleigh’s very first bottle shop, Bottle Revolution ¬†opening across the street from some of my best friends. We hanged out with my friends weekly for a night out and would stop by to pick up some new beers to try, and as a result we became friends with the owner, Ted. Thus is the story of how I got into craft beer. I found many new beers to throw my fathers way and show him that they could be just as good as wine. Since then we’ve hit many breweries and brew cities in the state and even a few out of state, made friends and connections with bottle shops and constantly expand our exposure to wonderful beer.

But that’s all about my passion for craft beer. What about how I became a brewer? Well that tale is for another day. Tune in next time, same drunk time, same drunk place!

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