When you have a Resident Beermeister on staff, it’s hard not to pick his brains constantly with questions about beer. Then again, sometimes you try picking it, and realize it’s saturated in a cold, frothy haze of mind-numbing hops. When you pelt him with questions constantly, he sometimes gets grumpy and shouts incoherent words in your direction until you refill his glass and leave him to his duties. And when those duties include rating over 900 different beers in the past year and a half, you know he’s working hard.
We managed to catch up to ModernThirst’s resident Beermeister, Matt Gates, at a very lucid and sober moment, and bravely posed some questions that have been running around our staff’s heads for the past several months.
Q: How exactly does one become a Beermeister?
Matt: It’s actually a very long, drawn out process. And, to be honest I am not at liberty to disclose the details. I will tell you that while most of it was enjoyable, it did result in some scars (emotional and physical). Despite all of the whimpering and tears, I’d say it was worth it.
Q: Is your liver superhuman?
Matt: I’m not sure if braunschweiger is considered ‘super human’ but I do find it to be a great liver supplement
Q: How often do you drink beer?
Matt: That is a personal question and a tightly guarded secret between me and my Untappd Friends
Q: What do you drink besides beer?
Matt: Water, black coffee, diet soda, vegetable juice, whiskey, soup broth, wine, clam juice, and milk.
Q: Are you drinking right now?
Matt: Well, its very difficult to drink and type. (Editor’s note: That means “yes”)
Q: What are your top 3 beers of all time?
Matt: Such a loaded question, it’s like asking about my top three breaths of all time, they are all important. I do enjoy the thrill of the chase for rare beers and I really appreciate all styles including most everything on the sour spectrum. While I don’t really want to be held to my ‘top 3’ I guess I will give you an answer to keep the editors off of my back. (Editor’s Note: Damn straight!)
- Heady Topper
- Barrel Aged Abraxis
- Rhinegeist Truth
Q: What’s with sour beers? If I wanted tart, I’d suck on a lemon!
Matt: Another loaded question. Sours are an enigma for many. Without trying to sound like a snob, they are an acquired taste. Most beer drinkers initially acquired the taste for American light beers first and then acquired the taste for stouts, IPAs etc. Sours are, for some, the next frontier. You get a very complex flavor, with infinite ways to tweak it with fruits and adjuncts. One thing that I like is it is a break from the normal hops vs malt decision. Sour beers, beer with bretts and the like tend to have a ‘funk’, this funk can be appreciated just as the bitterness of a hops can be appreciated. Also these beers tend to be sippers with lower ABV, which make them great for a long session or a bottle share.
Q: If you were a beer, what kind of beer would you be and why?
Matt: In the words of Bob MacKensie: “My brother and I used to say that drownin’ in beer was like heaven, eh? Now he’s not here, and I’ve got two soakers… this isn’t heaven. This sucks!”
Q: How does one know when special release beers are going to hit shelves?
Matt: Make friends with your retailer.
Q: I want to test your skills: Can you please rank the following beers in order of your preference?
- Alpha King
- Pabst Blue Ribbon
Matt: I’ll go with the order that you have them listed, although depending on my mood I could interchange the first two.
Q: How many different beers do you keep in your beer fridge?
Matt: Honestly, I am too lazy to count, but I have been in an inventory reduction mode lately, to reduce the number of beers that shouldn’t be aged. I’ll be picking up my monthly beer club bag tonight and visiting a store, so the inventory will probably be replenished shortly.
Q: What is your address, and is your beer fridge locked or armed with a home alarm system?
Matt: Around the clock snipers are expensive, but so worth it.