Hello The Coast News reader. My name is Ryan, and I’m your new North County beer, spirits and beverage columnist. Welcome to Cheers! North County.
I spent the last week trying to figure out how to introduce myself and this new column to you. Figure out some way to inspire your confidence on the reflections you’ll find here week after week. I would sit at my desk, open a new document and start to make lists of the things I could tell you.
Things like my first memory involving beer. It was a Budweiser from the trunk of my friend’s car in the parking lot of the movie theater before “The Blair Witch Project.” I don’t think any of us made it all the way through the film. Or my first craft beer, a New Glarus Spotted Cow Wheat, which was handed to me in a small bar in Southern Wisconsin by the father of a girl I liked. That beer changed my life by setting me on a path of beer exploration and setting the tone for later when I asked for permission to marry the girl.
I thought I could tell you that most of my life has been spent in the restaurant and brewing industry, working my way up the ranks from dishwasher to bartender to general manager, designing product labels, writing about beer entrepreneurs, photographing zombie pub crawls, going on tasting quests to sample 365 new beers in 365 days, or teaching people how to best make a cup of great coffee while out camping. I could tell you about the beers I’ve drunk, or even tried to make, but every time I sat down to work on the list, I found myself interrupted.
My in-laws stopped by for a six-pack and after dinner whiskey by the fire. A local brewery rep wanted to meet up for a drink, and to talk about his upcoming wedding. There was politics, all of the politics last week, that inspired watching parties and beer during the festivities. Someone suggested a drink every time someone said, “health care,” but we decided it was too risky. There was hiking with friends, and a quick brewery visit afterwards.
All of these interruptions allowed me to reflect on my list, and come to the conclusion that the beverages, good or bad, are only a small part of the drinking experience. The important part isn’t my opinion of this beer or that cocktail, it was the people I was with, the experiences we shared, and the stories we told each other.
By being excited and passionate about beer, cocktails, coffee or any adventure that would inspire the clinking of glass, can or bottle I found a fine group of people from all walks of life that was, and is, excited about those things too. That community is me, and it is all of you.
The Cheers! North County column is really the experience of drinking, the people that make, provide and partake in the luxury of drink. I’ll be seeking out stories around these unique beverages and people. There will also be some industry news, reviews, tidbits and the occasional opinion. I’ll be honest, and fair. Sometimes we may disagree, but hopefully that will lead to us sharing a beer and a spirited debate. Together, we’ll go on some adventures. We’ll explore new places and create some new memories. We’ll have some fun. This column is about you, and this community. I look forward to sharing it with you. Cheers North County.
Have an idea for an article, and event I should check out, or have beverage news to share? Send a note to: [email protected], or follow @CheersNorthCounty on Instagram and Twitter.