Before you worked at City Brew Tours, what was the most interesting or unusual job you’ve ever had?
For about four years I was a private investigator in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Hidden cameras, tinted windows, multiple disguises, and everything else you’re imagining. However, like most things, it sounds way cooler in theory than it is in practice. Lots of early mornings, late nights, staring out the windshield, and gas station coffee. However, whenever you did catch whomever you were surveilling doing the thing they weren’t supposed to be doing it got pretty exciting. It also afforded me the opportunity to see a lot of tri-state area that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
What beer is in your fridge/cellar right now?
Fridge: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Southern Tier 2XMAS, Penn Brewery St. Nikolaus Bock
Cellar: Dogfish Head World Wide Stout (2018), Prairie Artisan Ales Christmas Bomb!, a homebrew winter warmer that I’ve been bottle aging until December
What’s something new you’ve learned about beer in the past week?
Maybe not beer, but brewing, specifically home brewing. I learned that hydrometers (the instruments we use to calculate alcohol content in beer) are calibrated for different temperatures. I brewed a beer over the weekend that had a lower than expected original gravity. Apparently the new hydrometer I was using was calibrated for 60 degrees as opposed to my old one that was calibrated for 68. Thankfully there are online calculators to figure out the difference. Turns out there was a .002 difference and I was closer to my target gravity than I thought. Lesson learned I should probably read the instructions on my equipment.
What has been one of your proudest moments working at City Brew Tours?
At the beginning of every public tour, I always say my goal is “to turn a van full of strangers into a van full of drinking buddies”. One time, at the end of a tour, 13 people who just met had such a great time that they decided to go to another brewery together after the tour was finished. I’d would call that a success.
What was the last book you read?
The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists are Using Data to Build Better Players
What are some of your favorite breweries outside of the ones that we run tours at?
Dancing Gnome, Cinderlands, East End Brewing, and Hitchhiker Brewing Company
If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I think I would be a turtle. Hear me out. You take your house with you everywhere, you swim then lounge in the sun all day, and you kind of just go about life at your own pace. I don’t know, sounds pretty rad to me.
If you could only drink one style of beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Why would you do this to me?! But if I were forced to pick I’d say brown ale. It’s refreshing enough for the summer months, but roasty enough to warm your bones during the approximately 8ish months of winter in Pittsburgh.
What is something that people would never guess is part of your job as a beer tour guide?
Pittsburgh ambassador. A lot of guests on my tours are visiting from out of town and want to have a real authentic Pittsburgh experience while visiting. As a life long Yinzer, I get asked all the time what places are must-visits and where the locals go. I love sharing with people all the things that Pittsburgh has to offer. Whether it is seeing a game at beautiful PNC Park, taking in the sights on the incline up to Mount Washington, or the best brunch spots in the Strip. I’m your guy for insider information about getting the most out of your trip the Burgh.