Wednesday, January 26, 2011
As promised, the following is our inaugural installment of a weekly Wednesday feature where we let our good friend Max muse on the glories and wonders of the hop, unchecked and unabridged. Without further ado...
In an age where my toaster can cook an egg and my phone does most of my thinking for me, I find that there are two things that I enjoy that my ancestors may have as well: sex and beer! And while I am no expert at either, for the rest of the year I will be here once a week to talk about my true lover (sorry, Jules), BEER! For the next forty some-odd weeks, I will be counting down my top ten favorite beers. While I'm no math major, I'm pretty sure that leaves several weeks in which to talk about my favorite beer bars, new beers on the market as well as three cities that I will be visiting over the next calendar year that are known for their pubs and brews: Portland, Chicago and San Francisco. And, if you and I are lucky, Denver.
So who am I and why would you want to hear what I have to say about beer? Well, my name is Christopher Michael McClain but you can call me Max. I'm a 28 year-old beertender at a pretty damn good beer bar in the new Mecca for all things hoppy, San Diego, CA, which some might say is qualification enough. I can recall the first time I ever had a "good beer". It was my 21st birthday and up until that point if it wasn't Bud Light, I wasn't interested. But then I went to the City of Sin! And while everyone else was banging away on the slot machines and black jack tables, I was in a microbrewery enjoying my very first Hefeweizen. That sweet and zesty clove-filled flavor quenched my thirst brought about by the 130 degree weather that is Las Vegas in August. It was love at first pint.
Eventually, I met Miss Rachael Steele. She knew beer the way Peyton Manning knows the Titan's secondary - inside and out - and she shared as much information with me as she could. I was living in San Francisco at the time and working for one Brahmabutta Swami at an Irish Pub and Curry House called "Kennedy's". Thirty-three draft beers, some 150 more in bottle and the best freakin' Indian food you'll ever have (which is not always the best combination the morning after, if ya know what I mean). After a couple year stint there, I moved my new found "expertise" to a boutique beer distribution company where my portfolio consisted of everything from Stone and Bear Republic to Allagash and Ommegang. My job was to go around, pedaling the thousands of beers that I sold to bars, restaurants, liquor stores, etc., etc. One can only handle waking up at 7 A.M. every day for so long, so after a couple year stint there (yes, it's a running theme, just go with it), I moved back to San Diego and found a job at the illustrious K&B Wine Cellars where, with the help of the Adam Parker, they have put together a tap line up of thirty-two mostly stellar beers as well as a bottle selection that one must see to believe. And after a, say it with me, couple year stint there, I wound up at Hoffer's Beer, Wine & Cigar Bar where I pour beer for a living and couldn't be happier.
While I'm no Michael Jackson (the beer god, not the pop god), I know a thing or two about a thing or two and would love it if you'd join me in my adventure into Hopland. I'd also like to hear any feedback that you might be willing to give me in the comments section or on Facebook, or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, my beer-loving brethren, have a beer for me.