The Hoosier Beer Geek 6 Pack is a feature where we run six questions by the folks behind the scenes in the beer world to get a little more insight into what they do and like and how they got their start. The Knights of the Beer Roundtable would like to thank our guest, Mike Sweeney of the St. Louis-based beer blog StlHops.com, for answering our questions.
1) Who are you, what's your beer background, and what inspired stlhops?
I'm just a yahoo that is pretty obsessed with beer. About 5 or 6 years ago I learned that my grandfather used to be a homebrewer and I decided at that point I wanted to carry on the tradition. As for the inspiration for STL Hops, I was just thinking one day, "I really wish there was a beer blog/website devoted just to the St. Louis scene." Rather than wait around for it to happen, I started it myself.
2) What do you hope to accomplish with stlhops?
I just hope people really find it useful. I like being able to alert people to new beers in the area or events that allow people to enjoy beer with other enthusiasts. I also hope that some of my passion rubs off on everyone that reads it. I'm not a quiet or reserved guy by any means, but if you get me talking about beer you'll never shut me up.
3) How long have you been writing stlhops? Is your staff just one person?
At this point it's just me, who knows what the future holds though? STL Hops is still in it's infancy, I just started the website back in September. In the mean time it's really surpassed my expectations. I've met a lot of the local brewers, a lot of enthusiasts and have had just a great time.
4) How many readers do you have?
I'm averaging about 50-60 unique readers a day and about 100-150 page views.
5) On your about page, you mention that you don't review beers ("I'm going to keep beer reviews to a minimum because frankly it's your job to go and try the beer") - but having said that, do you ever come across a beer so good that you find yourself wanting to review it anyway?
Judging by my response to Eric's Ale, I'm going to have to say yes. One of my problems with reviews, especially of local beers, is that brewers brew beer because they love it. For the most part, brewing beer isn't going to make you rich. So I have a hard time disparaging something that someone has put a lot of hard work into. I'd rather not write anything nasty as it doesn't accomplish anything.
Also, for the most part there are so very few beers I hate (Corona, I'm looking at you.) I have a few personal categories of beer: the must buys, the occasional buys or the OK, but I'd never buy again.
6) I noticed that you recently pulled of three straight nights of beer events ("the trifecta") - Do you ever find yourself thinking "I've been drinking too much beer?"
Let me tell you, after the first event on Monday night I thought to myself, "I've drank far too much beer." It wasn't the drinking of the beer those three nights that was so tiring, but just all of the activity. I have a normal 9-5, I'm getting a bit too old to go out for 3 nights of drinking. My girlfriend Irene and I are homebodies for the most part, so while it was a lot of fun I was glad to come home from work on Thursday and just enjoy a beer in peace.
Sometimes, those are the best beer experiences of them all.
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Hoosier Beer Geek wishes to again thank Mike for taking the time to answer our questions, and for his dedication to good beer.