A Little About Me
I’ve lived in Oregon the majority of my life, but decided to put down roots in Portland five years ago for a job doing web design and branding. I’m now one of those nerds who blogs about beer, rides their bike when it’s sunny, cheers loud for the Timbers, cries over the last season of Game of Thrones, and explores new places as often as possible.
My Craft Beer Journey
Believe it or not, I didn’t drink until I was 21 (shocking, I know). One of the first “craft beers” I ever tried was a Widmer Hefeweizen (in quotes because it was so commonplace that I didn’t realize it was craft). One of my most impactful early influencers was definitely McMenamins. I would frequent the locations in Salem and Eugene for a burger and a Bagdad or Hammerhead.
In my beer beginnings, I refused to like stouts because they were too strong. One time I almost spit out an oatmeal brown because it was bitter. Eventually, I moved past my pickiness and gained confidence to try new beers. I started at the grocery store and soon moved on to local taphouses. Once breweries and growler fill stations were on my radar, I couldn’t get enough.
Local Fan Girl
Salem’s beer scene started to develop around 2009 and I made any excuse to check it out. I followed Gilgamesh Brewing from their beginning, as well as Santiam Brewing, Vagabond Brewing and Salem Ale Works. To my delight, an old friend of mine started Growl Movement and it quickly became my favorite hangout. I ate lunch there quite often. (Half pours were my jam. That’s the most appropriate way to try beers and still be productive at work, right?) I went to almost every tap takeover they had, pestered all my friends to join and had a blast meeting reps and collecting way too much swag.
In tandem with my Salem experience, I ventured north to Portland for their never ending supply of brewfests. The 2013 Oregon Brewers Festival on the waterfront in the summer was my first, and it opened my eyes to seasonal beers. Tiny tastes of beer from breweries I’d never heard of inspired me to find out as much as I could about the beer world. Bottle shops, breweries and brewfests became destinations for me, sometimes even the intent of a vacation. If I hadn’t been, I wanted to go. If it was new, I wanted to try it.
From Curiosity to Something More
Fast-forward to a 2016 summer road trip to California. I took a pitstop at Port O’Pints Brewing in Crescent City, and had a pleasant experience talking with one of the brewers about how they wanted to develop their beer and taproom. How could they be so friendly and open with a complete stranger, simply because I was from Portand?
It became obvious that the local beer industry was inclusive and open to sharing their craft with others for the betterment of the community. Talking with Port O’Pints inspired me, and helped make the decision to start writing about my experiences.
I started reviewing breweries in September of 2016, but things didn’t really take off until the following January when Men’s Health included me on a list of people to follow on Instagram.
From there, I chose to dive in and fully embrace all things beer. I adopted a heavier social media role, posting about brewery openings, new beers, and brewfests. In tandem, I started contributing to the Oregon Beer Growler, a local magazine that was focused on all aspects of the beer industry.