Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet the Geeks: Florida Edition: Sean Nordquist of Beer for the Daddy

Greetings from sunny (and hot and humid) St. Petersburg, Florida!  Thanks for letting me participate in this!

Name: Sean Nordquist

Hometown: Currently, St. Petersburg Florida.  Originally from Los Angeles, California.

Favorite Beer: The one in front of me.  There are soooo many to choose from that I simply can't pick one.  I tend to prefer hoppy IPAs and Imperial Stouts, but I am all over the map.

Favorite Beer Haunt: By default I have to pick the Ale and the Witch in Downtown St. Pete because it has a consistently awesome tap list and is so close to home.  But honorable mentions have to go out to Willard's Tap House in Largo, the Cajun Cafe on the Bayou in Pinellas Park, the Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor, and of course, the Cigar City Brewing Tasting Room.  All are excellent places to hang out and drink excellent beer and talk to great people.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried?  What did you think? That was a loooong time ago.  Hard to say which was FIRST.  I lived in Sonoma County in the early 1990s, and had access to a lot of great beers.  The ones I remember the most were Sierra Nevada and Anchor, Pete's Wicked Ale, and Rogue Ales.  I remember falling in love with Rogue brewing after trying their Shakespeare Stout.  Probably the beer that made the biggest impact on me, though, was Stone Brewing's Arrogant Bastard in 1997.  I think that opened up a while new world to me.

Do You Homebrew?  If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Yes, I have been a homebrewer (off and on) for over a decade.  I would say my best brew was probably my Imperial Stout called Dark Days of Spring.  It came out really well, and has aged very nicely.  One of my early attempts - Wailing Banshee Porter - was pretty damn good, too.  I am very excited to try my latest batch, Arrogant PandaWolf, an American Strong Ale.

How'd you hear about the pdxbeergeeks?  Well, I was already Twitterfriends with several of you.  I love what you guys are doing out there in Portland, and then was thrilled to see my old friend (and beer writing inspiration) Brian Yaeger joining you guys.

What does being a beer geek mean to you?  I think I try to follow the Sam Caligione philosophy of being an advocate for good beer.  An educator.  An enthusiast and evangelist.  And at the same time not being a snob or "that guy" who lords his knowledge and connections and cellar list over everyone else as though it makes him better.  Being a beer geek means I know a fair amount about beer, and can talk intelligently about it.  It means I represent the craft beer culture in a positive way when I go out, either by asking for it in restaurants and bars, or by behaving in a respectful fashion at festivals and tasting events.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US what would it be?  I see this really as a two layered answer.  First off, the US public at large needs to be educated about what beer really is and can be.  They need to know that the idea of "American beer" isn't the giant macros (which are not even American companies anymore) and cases of fizzy yellow water and the only goal being to get as drunk as posisble.  They need to learn that beer is not a single style, but has a breadth and depth they never imagined.  The people who say "I am not really a beer drinker" or "I don't really like beer" simply have not found the right one for them yet, in my opinion.  There is something for everyone.

The second layer of change needs to come within the craft beer community.  We have grown exponentially in the past few years.  Along with tremendous growth in the industry, the proliferation of beer bloggers, writers, websites, apps, and resources has been astounding.  The expansion is incredible.  But, like anything else, more does not always mean better.  I think there will have to be a contraction eventually and then an equilibrium will set in.  Along with that, I think that those of us who "represent" the craft beer culture need to think about the image we want to portray.  We can't stand and rail against the "swilling keggers and lowbrow macro drinkers" one day and then be incoherently intoxicated and sloppy and trashy the next while trying to claim the moral high ground.  An ugly drunk is an ugly drunk, no matter how good the beer is that got them there.  Unfortunately, I see too many "high profile" people in the craft beer world behaving in ways that - to me, anyway - reflect badly on the community as a whole.  I think we need to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard than the pervasive, macro-dominated beer culture.

What do you love about Portland's craft beer scene?  Sadly, I can only comment on what I have heard from friends who live and have visited there.  But it sounds amazing.  I greatly look forward to visiting there sometime in the very near future.

Where can we find you on the web?
Magazine: Creative Loafing: Drink -
Twitter: @beerforthedaddy