Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Vasili Gletsos

I had the pleasure to meet Vasili the other night at The Commons opening, and he was kind enough to do an interview for our blog. Please give a warm #pdxbeergeeks welcome to Laurelwood's head brewer.

Name: Vasilios (Vasili) Gletsos

Hometown: West Chester, PA, not that I have any relatives there

Favorite Beer: Stock answer is anything made well, but beyond that, I feel like every beer has a perfect time. The beers I talk about as favorites are mostly bound to a period in my life or place or something else that has no bearing on the beer other then it was well made and met me where I was at. That being said Gale’s Prize Old Ale, while the Horndean brewery was still open.

Favorite Beer Haunt: I really like a couple places that have opened up in my hood. Hop and Vine has great food and a relaxed atmosphere. Saraveza is a great place to meet up for a beer with a friend. I’m a big fan of both.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? The first American craftbeer I had was probably while I was living in Portland, Maine. It was probably some Shipyard, like Old Thumper, or Chamberlin’s Pale or Gritty’s Black Fly Stout, or Geary’s Hampshire Ale.

What did you think? My early recollections were that it was a fine and flavorful thing to have, like a nice cheese or bread or olives. I liked it but didn’t become obsessed until much later on when I was touring around. I tried some imported beers that really expanded my concept of what beer was. Then when I found out I could make it, I was thoroughly engaged.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: It has been a while, but I do still homebrew a few times a year. My favorite was probably an abbey single I would drink the hell out of. There are some others I have made that are a close second but I love it when you pull a glass, take a sip and are so delighted that you start topping it off right away.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? I am not very familiar with the organization, but I met Michael recently and he told me about them. Before that, I had seen some stickers, etc.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? I think beer is historically and culturally knit into the fabric of society. I also think we specifically are at a significant time and place for making and drinking beer. I approach each beer with the possibility of being delighted, inspired, unimpressed, puzzled, disgusted or any other reaction on the spectrum. I think approaching beer and brewing in this way makes me kind of geeky.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? Attitudes and taboos around drinking, everything from the legal drinking age to stupid narratives that are used to sell beer and generally dumb things down.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? This is an easy one: the people! Brewers, Beer enthusiasts, connoisseurs, home brewers, bloggers, industry folks; they are all so great to know and have interesting perspectives and are an important part of what makes brewing in Portland so rich and rewarding.

Where can we find you on the web? We have a website for where you can check out what we are up to as well as sign up for weekly news updates, friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@laurelwood1), or check out our past and present Brew News on Youtube.