Interview with Craft Beer Drinker: Alan Espino

I met Alan Espino by chance. He contacted me because he wanted some graphic design work done. Upon getting to know each other better – I like to get to know my clients so that we know we are compatible to work with each other – we both found out one amazing detail…we both love craft beer. He mentioned that he brews, and I mentioned that I run a crafty little website that revolves around craft beer. Alan is a man who highly appreciates craft beer and really knows his stuff. Before we started the interview, he began with:

Alan: I should probably get a beer before answering these questions, right? Founders Double Trouble if you’re curious.

CC: What is your favorite craft beer?
Alan: For the sake of not writing a dissertation, I’ll say Mikkeller Beer Breakfast Brunch, Cigar City Bourbon Hunapuh Imperial Stout, Alchemist Heady Topper fresh hop IPA, and Alpine McIlhenney’s Irish Red. I’m sure there’s more than one answer to that question.

CC: How many years have you been drinking micro brews?
Alan: Around when I first started college. Since I was the only one with a fake ID at the time, my friends would make me buy our body weight in unnamed mass market beers while I would spend the same amount of my own money on a 6-pack of craft beer that actually made it down to Miami. I’m exaggerating on the price but looking back it did hurt my wallet then. Still does actually.

CC: What was your first craft beer experience?
Alan: I remember drinking a Sierra Nevada IPA at 18 and hating it. I was convinced someone put a Christmas tree through a juicer and marinated it overnight with rhino urine. Definitely an acquired taste. It then turned into me not being able to get enough of the hoppy goodness. You west coast hop heads have the right idea.

CC: So you homebrew huh?
Alan: Yes, I do homebrew. I went into all-grain after brewing two extract batches. Besides making tasty session beers, I like experimenting with all kinds of things. Tossing different kinds of wood into the fermenter, dry hopping with everything from actual cones to fat emulsified avocado, and putting cookies or cereal in a Randall.

CC: If you could have a six-pack of any beer in your fridge, what would it be?
Alan: If I have to only pick one, it’ll be Three Floyds Gumballhead. They pack it with Amarillo turning a standard American Wheat into everything but standard. I can always be in the mood for that beer. Plus, they don’t distribute down here.

CC: What is your best beer moment/memory?
Alan: The first time I tried a barrel-aged beer from a home brewer. Going to a beer festival for the first time. In reality, I continuously have great beer moments….getting a shipment of beer from an out of state friend, finding a hole in the wall brewpub and being blown away of how good their stuff is (i.e. Pegs Cantina in St. Petersburg, FL).

CC: Why do you love craft beer?
Alan: Because of blogs like this. The sense of community that’s engrained in the craft beer world is just fantastic. That’s what drives the desire for perfection and experimentation in the whole market. As a result, we get some incredible beer that brewers are proud to supply and call their own and proud of being able to enjoy.

CC: Why do you prefer craft beer over the Big 2?
Alan: That’s a simple one. The way I see it is, why would you eat cheap machine made fast food while you can have a meal that is constructed as a complex labor of love by an individual who is focusing on every detail. But there’s a place for fast food at times right?

CC: What is your favorite food/dish?
Alan: Spicy Thai food with an IPA followed by a chocolate dessert with a nice imperial stout.

CC: What are your hobbies?
Alan: Outside of the craft beer genre, I take advantage of the lack of seasons down here in Miami. Summer all the time. I enjoy the outdoors. Kayaking, kite boarding, scuba, rugby. I also play the drums.

CC: Do you have any interesting brewing experiences, and what do you and brewing have in store for the future?
Alan: Well yes, I do actually. During my undergrad, I brewed a beer using human urine and E. Coli positive water for a chemistry class. The purpose was to illustrate how effective the boiling step and the utilization of hop’s antimicrobial property were prior to the advancement of technology. A lot of angry people drank my urine that one day. Also this past December I was able to successfully catch and propagate wild yeast from Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. We’ll see what interesting concoction comes from that. Hopefully the brew gods smile down on me in regards to my future in brewing. We are in the works of starting up the only production brewery in all of the Miami area. That’s six million people with no tasting room or brewery to visit. If all goes as planned, that will change, adding another voice to the craft beer community that we can be proud of and call our own.

CC: What would you recommend or tell the craft beer noob?
Alan: Welcome to your new addiction. I hope you have an understanding boy/girlfriend. I joke about it but I feel like a craft beer equivalent to a Jehovah’s witness at times and I’m sure you will to to some degree. Share the beer goodness.

What do you think about Living the Craft Beer Lifestyle? Let us know.

Nico Miranda

I'm a father, husband, son, brother, friend, gamer, graphic designer and Craft Beer Enthusiast. I love reading about, writing about and drinking craft beer. I am Living the Craft Beer Lifestyle.

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