Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Matt Wiater

Matt J. Wiater
Name: Matt J. Wiater

Hometown: I've lived in a lot of places, but I consider Flemington, NJ my hometown.

Favorite Beer: My answer changes by the day, and today my answer is Deschutes Brewery's Solace Rose. I tend to be drawn towards beers that are highly experimental, though they don't always end up in my stable of favorites.

Favorite Beer Haunt: As much as I like the social aspects of Portland beer events, I do require a little me time with just a great beer. In those instances, the quiet hours at places like Saraveza, Beermongers, and Bailey's Taproom are essential.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? When I first moved away from mass-produced American lagers, I ventured over to U.K. breweries like the Samuel Smith Brewery and Orkney Brewery where beer had much more character and tasted less pasteurized: oatmeal stouts, wee heavys, olde ales, etc. These traditional styles were all very new to me and gave me a radically different view of beer.

What did you think? While more expensive, it was easy to understand drinking quality over quantity as these beers were much more complex than what I started drinking. I never looked back.

Do you homebrew? I've homebrewed for the last 10 years. At most, I'll brew four batches each year.

If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Imperial Vanilla Bourbon Porter Batch One. Batch Two was horrifying. Building on Batch One, I added more of everything for Batch Two, and it up tasting like slightly vanilla flavored gasoline. It settled down after about four years, but never reached the successful balance of the first batch.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? Through attending the Beer Bloggers Conference in Portland.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? To me, being a beer geek revolves around being educated about beer, brewing, and beer culture. It's important to be an ambassador for your local beer scene and share your knowledge and experience, while respecting other opinions.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? Too many snobs are masquerading as beer geeks and turning people off to the culture and the beer looking down on people who may not be as knowledgeable. Everyone's journey through craft beer has a definite beginning, but no real end. Once that journey starts, each step is an important discovery and everyone has a different pace. There's no reason to race towards an imaginary finish line.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? Unlike a lot of other industries, the Portland Craft Beer Scene has a great camaraderie between breweries and brewers. For the most part, even though everyone is competing for market share, there's an undercurrent of support and friendship that helps to define the attitude of the whole Portland beer community. This unity also impacts the quality of the beer as friendly competition tends to be more about making great and interesting beer, rather than focusing on the bottom line every day.

Where can we find you on the web? portlandbeer.org | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr