Describe your first beer experience.
The first beer I ever drank was three-fourths of a can of Busch from a funnel. I was probably 14 and I was hanging out, for some reason, with my older brother Rick and his high-school band buddies. He convinced me to funnel my first ever beer so I could always claim that feat. Funny, 28 years later, I finally get to tell that story.
What is your favorite beer style and an ideal pairing for that style?
My favorite style is always a tricky question. I think the very best thing about beer is that there's always a style to fit your mood because beer styles are so diverse. I will say I just got back from a week at the Chesapeake Bay where we went crabbing every day and caught bushel upon bushel of blue crabs. Six straight nights of rolling out the brown paper and sitting for hours picking and eating crab. Without a doubt, the almighty IPA was the beer of choice all week long. It was a week of Victory HopDevil, Dogfish Head 60 Minute, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon and my newest best buddy, Ithaca Flower Power, which I was told I must get or forever regret by my beer manager at Leon's, Tim Ensor. It's an amazing beer we hope to have in Georgia one day soon. Let me tell you, the most perfect combination in the whole history of food is Old Bay Seasoning and fresh, hoppy IPAs.
What would you like to see happen to Atlanta's beer scene going forward?
I think Atlanta has become a fantastic city for beer. For the longest time it seemed like we were the only place doing anything interesting with beer. Now, I can't remember the last time I went out to eat anywhere and didn't find some effort given to the beer list. As far as law changes go, Georgia must improve the laws that affect our local production breweries. I would love to see laws allowing breweries to sell their own beer out of their own brewery, allow a pub/restaurant to be attached to the brewery for on-premise sales and even allowing breweries to self-distribute as they see fit until they need a larger distributor. Georgia will continue to lag in new brewery growth until these current laws are relaxed. We need more local breweries, as the time for good beer and local sourcing is now.