As a Beer Blogger, I spend a lot of time in my own world. In this Beer Interview series, I spent time getting varying perspectives on the world of Craft Beer from others in the beer industry.
Steve Palmer may not live in Sonoma County, but his passion for amazing Craft Beer and Wine is spurred on here. After traveling with his family to the area, a desire to chronicle their adventures led to the creation of The Sonoma Vine.
Tell me about yourself?
Name is Steve Palmer, I live in Lititz, PA with my wife and two sons. We are about an hour outside of Philadelphia. I am the CEO and co-founder for https://locally.fm, I am the founder and author of www.thesonomavine.com (Sonoma fanboy) and I enjoy wine, beer and food!
What is your preferred craft beer style? Why?
I enjoy IPA’s the most right now, also Rye’s; I think with all of the ways craft breweries are making IPA’s (AmIPA, ImpIPA, DIPA, etc) there is such a huge range to explore. My search is for balance and complexity – spice for sure. I don’t find IPA’s bitter, but often floral, rich, citrusy, refreshing (!) and the most diverse in it’s potential. If I were to describe my perfect IPA it would be like a BBQ spice rub – a little bit of everything leaning on spicy. It might be why I lean toward the Imperials; they can be heavy hitters and provide the combos I like. A few favorites are The Majaraja, Stone Enjoy By (really impressed – thought it might be a marketing ploy), Rye Da Tiger, Westbrook IPA and Racer 5.
How did you get into craft beer?
Local pub became a hangout. Stared out as a brown ale-Guinness kind of place, but evolved beyond Black and Tan’s to wider range of craft brews. Always liked trying new things so craft beer fit me pretty well. This developed into a passion only second to wine.
What made you choose your blog’s name?
A few trips to Sonoma, it just felt right. I love Sonoma County as it feels more like home (figuratively and literally). Intimate, friendly and home to world class wines. Great experiences can make you feel like you need to tell a story; mine is about Sonoma wineries, vineyards, people and friends.
What is your favorite beer / food pairing?
I love a Dogfish Head 90 Minute with wings. I will crush a few Westbrook IPA’s with pizza or spicy grilled chicken – southwest fare. Westbrook is out of Mt. Pleasant (Charleston), SC and makes a straight dope IPA for everyday. Works well with a lot of food.
What sort of challenges have you overcome in doing what you do?
In starting a tech company, I have forced our family to scale back and adopt a new standard of living. For the most part this has been met with support but not without additional challenges, all of which we continue to work through everyday.
Based on what you originally envisioned for your blog, how have things changed? Why?
My original plan was to create a reference blog about wineries and vineyards throughout Sonoma County. It evolved to become a place to share thoughts, tasting notes, winemaker interviews and a few other random topics. It has taken a back seat to my work with Locally, but I am looking forward to recommitting myself to the blog.
Do you home brew? If so, how often?
I have not home brewed beer (have made wine though). It is something I am interested in trying soon, however.
What’s your favorite style to brew?
I think I would try an IPA.
Should you age craft beer?
I am not a proponent of aging beer. Some can be aged but not for the sake of improving the beer, more so to introduce flavor profiles or textures over the short term (less than a year). I believe beer is a different animal than wine. Freshness is often a key for great craft beer, particularly IPA’s.
In next week’s installment of my Beer Interview Series, you’ll meet Stephen Johnson of New Brew Thursday.