1. When did you start to find your passion for craft beer?
I discovered craft beer well before the age that I was supposed to be drinking beer haha. I grew up in Southeast Kansas so I've moved Boulevard Beer since the early 90's. Boulevard is still my go to during Kansas City Chiefs, KU Jayhawks, and Kansas City Royals games at my favorite bar in Queens where I live, John Brown Smokehouse. You can't go wrong with Tank 7! I know this is going to sound like I'm doing an advertisement for them, but I'm so lucky that I live a few blocks from the gathering place for all New York City fans of everything Kansas City! This BBQ is incredible too, the burnt ends are delicious! John Brown Smokehouse is like my "Cheers" and they always have amazing craft beers on tap there. I also tried Sam Adams Triple Bock around 1993 and I instantly loved it and wanted to find more beers like it. I've also been a big fan of Belgian beers and Trappist beers since the early 90's. I discovered Samichlaus in the early 90's too and it's still one of my favorite beers - I drink it every year on St. Nicholas Day, December the 6th, the day it is brewed in Europe!
2. You've become an expert at pairing beer and horror movies, even writing an article for Decibel Magazine about it. How can our readers go about learning how to pair the right beer with their favorite horror movie?
Thank you for the kind words! There are so many great beers nowadays that are horror film themed so it's not too hard to find a great beer to pair with your favorite horror movie. Alesmith's Evil Dead Red goes great with any of the Evil Dead fiylms. I recently had it while watching the newest season of Ash vs. Evil Dead, which is one of my favorite TV shows ever! Unibrou's Maudite goes great with Satan themed films like John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. Great Lakes' Nosferatu obviously goes great with vampire films. Pumpkin beers pretty much go with any horror film because they all remind you of Halloween and come out in the fall. I personally watch John Carpenter's Halloween every year on Halloween with a nice bottle of my favorite pumpkin beer, Southern Tier Pumpking! Elysian's Dark O' The Moon pumpkin stout goes wonderfully with the werewolf masterpiece An American Werewolf in London.
3. What's your funniest/craziest beer related story?
I won't get into graphic details but I've drank beer though an orifice that isn't my mouth where I work on Sirius-XM satellite radio! I also got to drink one of my favorite beers, Ballast Point sculpin, right out of the tank in San Diego, and it sprayed uncontrollably all over my face so we called it brewkakke! I'm also trying to convince my family that when I die I want my body to be put into a barrel full of beer and I want to ferment for a few years and then be released as the first corpse fermented craft beer so that all of my friends and family can drink me. I think it's safe to say that qualifies as a crazy beer story! Richard Christy Barrel Aged Corpse Barleywine, hopefully not coming very soon!
4. What's your favorite beer right now? Why?
Wow that's a tough question because I have MANY favorite beers! If I had to choose one, I've really been digging Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break on Sunday mornings lately. I LOVE coffee beers, and it is so relaxing to go for an 8 mile Sundaymorning run, come home, shower, pop open a can of Imperial Biscotti Break and sit down to watch a relaxing episode of CBS Sunday Morning! I love the brewery Funky Buddha too because they make tons of amazing breakfast beers like Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, which is like heaven in a glass! Their French Toast beer is unbelievably delicious on a weekend morning too! I also recently traveled to Chicago and brought back some Three Floyd's Zombie Dust Pale Ale, which is my favorite pale ale ever. Also, The Alchemist's Heady Topper is my favorite IPA, see I told you I couldn't pick just one favorite! Spring is here now too so I'll be drinking plenty of my favorite spring beer Pretty Things' Fluffy White Rabbits if I can find some!
5. Ever think about starting a beer review channel where you review beers alongside your dad?
Maybe one day, although my dad is more old fashioned than I am and he just likes a good Coors. I tried to get him to drink an IPA recently and he thought something was wrong with it, although it could be fun to have my dad try some of the crazy beers that I'm into! I'd love to have my dad try Wynkoop's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which I think is delicious, but a lot of people can't get past the fact that bull testicles are involved in the ingredients. My dad would probably love that one though because we grew up on a farm and ate Rocky Mountain Oysters quite often! Trust me, you don't want to see what Rocky Mountain Oysters look like in their raw form, sitting in a pan before getting breaded and fried, I still can't get that image out of my head 30 years later!
6. You can only have one beer for the rest of your life. What is it?
Southern Tier Pumking. I have so many great memories of drinking that beer because October is my favorite time of the year, I love Halloween and horror films, and Pumking reminds me of all of my favorite things every time I drink it. My birthday is April 1st and I always save a bottle of Pumking to drink along with my favorite movie of all time John Carpenter's Halloween. I save that beer and that movie for two special days a year, April 1st and October 31st. I even have some Pumking that I've been aging for several years that I'll be popping open this year, it ages very well, especially the Rum Barrel Aged Pumking that came out a while back. I LOVE the Rum Barrel Aged Pumking after aging it for a year. I didn't just jump on the pumpkin beer bandwagon either, I discovered it in the mid 90's and have loved it every since!
7. We know you like traveling for beer related events/festivals. What's the best trip you've taken so far and what made it so special?
Luckily there are many! My wife is awesome and she loves traveling to fun beer related events like me! We traveled to Belgium a few years back and visited Cantillon in Brussels which was incredible. We got to tour the brewery and drank tons of Cantillon there. We even bought several bottles to bring back in our luggage, we were like rock stars to all of our craft beer friends when we got back haha! Moeder Lambic is an incredible bar in Belgium that has Cantillon on tap, that was definitely a highlight of our Belgium trip too, I had one of the best IPA's ever while I was there, Amiral Benson from Brasserie du Monte Saleve in France. While in Belgium we also visited the most unique and cool bar we've ever been to in Ghent. It's a bar that one of my beer gurus, my friend Robert Hodson, told me about. Called Velootje, and also known as "The Bicycle Bar", it's unlike any other bar I've ever been too and I don't even know if it's still open. It's at a very friendly guy's house and you have to walk a path through his collection of oddities to get to a bench to sit down. He has two types of beer Delirium regular and Delirium dark and it's unlike anything my wife and I have ever witnessed. We stayed there for five hours and even went back the next day. If you google "Velootje Ghent" you'll see what I mean! My wife and I were fortunate enough to travel to Oktoberfest in Munich last year and it was beer HEAVEN! If there is a heaven, I want it to be a mix of two events, Oktoberfest and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando.
8. Burnt Hickory makes a beer for your band, Charred Walls of the Damned. What is it and how did that come about?
Scott Hedeen, the owner of Burnt Hickory is a big music fan and he contacted me one day about doing a beer for my band Charred Walls of the Damned and I of course said hell yes! It's a Belgian style barleywine and it is so freakin' delicious! I'm so proud to have our band's name on the beer because it is such a well made beer and people love it. I'm so excited for the Decibel Metal and Beer Fest April 22nd and 23rd at The Fillmore in Philadelphia because Scott will be pouring Charred Walls of the Damned there! I've never had it on tap so I'm so excited! One of my beer gurus, Dave Witte, who is the drummer for the band Municipal Waste, is a beer genius and he'll be hanging at the fest and I'm sure bringing some crazy rare beers! We recently were both part of a massive drum jam at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond Virginia which was incredible! I LOVE Hardywood's beers (especially the Farmhouse Pumpkin and Gingerbread Stout) so getting to visit their brewery and play drums there was a dream come true. Dave also took me to a bar he's been telling me about for years that is beer heaven on earth, Mekong in Richmond, VA.
9. Are you buying into the hazy IPA craze?
Yes I LOVE hazy IPA's! The hazier the better in my opinion! I love IPA's that you can almost chew, with things floating in them! There are so many breweries making incredible IPA's these days like Tree House, Grimm, Other Half, The Alchemist, Finback, Lawson's Liquids, Prohibition Pig, and Maine Beer Co. It's a wonderful time to be an IPA lover! My wife and I live right near an amazing brewery in Queens called Rockaway and they make an IPA called Hawaiian Pizza that we're obsessed with! I'm such a beer geek that I have a specific IPA Glass at home that's made to enhance the aroma of IPA's. I pretty much have a glass for every different style of beer which drives my wife crazy cause half our cabinet is beer glasses haha!
10. What beers motivate you and get you ready for that double bass pedal?
The motivation for me is knowing that once I'm done playing that double bass pedal I'll be rewarding myself with a craft beer! I don't drink beer before I play drums, unless I'm playing a goof off gig with my buddies in the bands Pisser or Bung Dizeez haha, because I look at metal drumming as a race that you're running. It's so physical that I couldn't imagine doing it after having a few beers. I'm a runner too, thanks to my wife motivating me to run because she's a marathon runner, and I use beer as my motivation for running, just like drumming. I know after a half marathon that I've earned a nice craft beer and I've burned off enough calories to deserve it! My wife and I run the Brooklyn Half Marathon every year, it's our favorite race of the year and it ends at Coney Island which we love! We go right to Coney Island Brewing Company and have some of their delicious beers like Beermosa, Freaktoberfest, and the Cotton Candy Kolsch. Then we ride the Cyclone and the Ghost Hole! I consider myself lucky because when I toured with the bands Death and Iced Earth I got to drink beer all over the world and discover so many great beers that I still drink today! All this beer talking is making me thirsty, I think I'll go have a beer right now, awesome talking beer with you, Cheers!