Mike has been with City Brew Tours about two years. For most of that time he guided brewery tours in the Baltimore area, though he recently relocated to Raleigh, NC. Although we don’t have brewery tours running in the Raleigh area (yet!), we are fortunate that Mike jumped on board with our online craft beer experiences and continues serving our guests remotely.
Mike is the proud father of two rescue dogs, Stella and Mac, and a fan of the classic Baltimore beer brand, National Bohemian – as all native Baltimoreans should be.
Which city are you from and how long have you lived there?
I’m originally from Baltimore, MD, and lived there for 28 great years, but I’ve recently relocated to Raleigh, NC. Both cities have their perks, but Baltimore is definitely loaded with character and personality that can’t be matched.
Tell us something weird or surprising about your city!
National Bohemian (‘Natty Boh’) is the iconic “official” beer of Baltimore City and has been for as long as I can remember, but it hasn’t been brewed in Baltimore City for over 40 years. Despite this, we account for 90% of all Natty Boh sales, and will defend it with a zeal nobody outside Maryland will ever understand. “Oh boy, what a beer!”
When did you taste your first craft beer? Were you into it, or did it take you some time to warm up?
I worked at restaurants for many years in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, and was fortunate enough to serve a variety of local and East Coast craft, so naturally I began trying them at the bar after work.
My first craft beer was a ‘Clipper City Pale Ale’ – from a brewery now known as Heavy Seas! I loved it right away, and continued to seek out new brands and styles week after week!
How did you get into the beer/beverage industry?
I’ve been an avid homebrewer and craft beer geek for years and saw a beer guide job description for City Brew Tours. “Talk about beer AND get paid? That sounds waaay too good to be true!” – and it still feels too good to be true today!
What types of tours/experiences have you guided?
I’ve done tours both big and small in Baltimore for nearly 2 years. Now with COVID and my relocation, I’ve been focused on our Live Homebrew Experience — teaching aspiring brewers the art of beer making! It’s been tons of fun, and an absolute honor working at CBT and being an ambassador of the craft beer industry.
Tell us about a memorable moment during one of your tours/experiences.
I picked up a bachelor party in East Baltimore, and, instantly after boarding the van for the tour, I started to suspect that I knew them from somewhere. Turns out it was 12 guys I graduated high school with, but hadn’t seen for 10 years! We had a great time catching up, and I ended up joining up with their group after the tour was over!
Regardless of what you drink the most, if your personality was a beer style, which would you be?
American Lager. Refreshing, unimposing, and best served outdoors in the company of friends.
What’s your favorite drinking game?
Beer Pong, no question. I’m an avid gamer of all types, and I’m pretty competitive in general. I hate games that revolve around luck, and beer pong is one of very few drinking games that doesn’t.
Do you have pets? What are their names and personalities?
I’ve got two dogs, Mac and Stella – both rescue German Shepard mixes.
Stella is quite honestly the most bizarre dog on the planet, and acts more like a cat — she spends most of her day loafing around and maximizing her comfort (she builds these absurd blanket beds…).
Mac on the other hand, is a pretty classic dog – tons of energy, loves making a mess, tug-of-war, and barking at just about anything.
They’re both the best, and I can’t imagine life without them.
Which beers are your go-tos?
Style-wise, IPAs and Lagers of all varieties. With such a huge amount of local beer available I like to stick with styles as opposed to specific beers. German-style Pilsners, West-Coast IPAs, and NEIPAs are almost always stocked in my fridge year-round.
Where is your favorite place to grab a beer?
In Baltimore it would either be Oliver Brewing Company or Heavy Seas – both have excellent local history and amazing beer! That being said, you really can’t beat a homemade beer on your back porch, and that’s my current go-to.
Finish the sentence: Craft beer tastes best when…
…you’re drinking it with the people you love!