October’s Guide of the Month is none other than Steve Quartell, one of our newest team members in DC! This month we were able to have a chat and learn some more about Steve, both on the job and off.
Q: How long have you lived in the DC area? What do you love about it?
A: We moved to the area about 8 years ago, but have come and gone over the years between overseas assignments with the Department of State. What I love about DC is that despite its image as a federal, bureaucratic city – there is also a huge swell of people dedicated to crafting things by hand with great care and intention, especially in the food and beverage scene.
Q: What do you love about beer?
A: The people. Both in the industry and those who simply enjoy a well-made, refreshing beer. Beer helps people slow down and connect with each other like few other things can. I love that you can take a sip of one of your favorite beers from college, or back home, or a favorite vacation spot – and it instantly takes you back to that place, those people, and those good times.
Q: How long have you worked for City Brew Tours?
A: I started with CBT in DC just this past Spring/Summer – already living the dream!
Q: Do you remember your first day? How have you changed since then?
A: My first tour was a bachelorette party that came prepared with their own tutu adorned drink coozies, and the tour immediately after was a bachelor party. Had a lot of fun with both groups, but I’m pretty sure it was the bachelorette party that was the best at giving me a hard time 😉
Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?
A: Learning something new about beer, brewing or beer history and sharing that knowledge (especially in liquid form) with our tour guests. Suggesting a new beer style to someone on a tour and it ending up being their favorite beer on the tour is like introducing someone to their future wife or husband.
Q: Do you have any beer-drinking tips?
A: I take glassware fairly seriously at home, but you don’t have to go crazy about it. For a manageable collection that still complements the full range of beer styles, pick up two each of the following: Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada style IPA glasses (any hop forward beer), tulip glasses (fairly all purpose), and some mid-size weizen glasses (wheat beers and pilsners). Whatever glass you’re drinking out of, make sure you’ve rinsed it with cold water before pouring.
Q: Are you a home brewer?
A: I started homebrewing 5 years ago, out of necessity, during our first overseas tour in Cuba. I’ve been focusing on more classic styles lately, but my favorite beers tend to merge beer and food styles. I like fruit or pepper IPAs, coffee and milk stouts, anything that lets me experiment as a brewer and chef at the same time. You can check out an extract recipe I’ve worked on over a few batches for a session breakfast stout called “Breakfast Can Wait“.
Q: What is your current favorite beer? Beer-drinking activity?
A: I keep things pretty seasonal – I figure it’s one way to know you’re drinking fresh beer – currently I’m sipping on all the pumpkin beer that so many of you hate for some reason, in particular I love Rogue’s Pumpkin Patch Ale since they harvest their own pumpkins at their farm in Independence, OR. I also love brown ales for the early fall and Lake Anne Brew House out in the suburbs of VA makes a fantastic one, but I’m also a big fan of Public Option’s Nut Brown and Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale.
Q: What could someone catch you doing in your spare time?
A: Generally exploring the DC area’s rich cultural scene with a beer in hand. My wife and I like to catch shows at Woolly Mammoth Theatre and Taffety Punk Theatre Company, we also go to concerts around town or at the Kennedy Center, and we try to hike and camp in the Shenandoah Valley as often as we can get out there. I’m also a history buff, so I love going out to Mount Vernon. Sometimes to just sit out on the back patio overlooking the Potomac – a bucket list item of mine is to enjoy a porter (One of Washington’s favorites) out there during a fall sunset.