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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Meet the Beer Bloggers - Matt Caldwell

Part Eight of the Meet The Ontario Beer Bloggers

Meet Matt Caldwell, the man behind the One Beer At A Time blog. 

It turns out the movie Julie & Julia inspired more than wanna be chefs, it helped form the motive behind Caldwell's blog. Instead of creating one Julia Childs recipe every day, Caldwell decided to try a new beer a day for a year and keep notes on them. From heavily hopped IPAs to roasted stouts and light lagers, Caldwell tastes them all.

Meet Matt Caldwell

Describe the moment when you first saw the craft beer light?
My first exposure to craft beer was around 1995 when I was working in a small restaurant in London, Ontario called the Pelican Diner. We only had 2 beers on tap and both were from Upper Canada Brewing Company. The Lager and the Dark Ale. I was particularly fond of the the Dark Ale. This was where the love for craft beer started but I think it fully developed when I moved to Toronto around 1999 and started working in renovations during the summer time. My boss Frank was a home brewer and craft beer nut. He really helped me develop my tastes for all things craft beer. Especially really hoppy beers!

What made you decide to blog about beer?
It was kind of a dare from my wife. We were watching the movie Julie and Julia where Julie does one Julia Childs recipe a day for a year. My wife said I should try it with beer. I said sure no problem, I could drink one new beer a day for a year easily......! Well it was not as easy as it sounded, try having a beer while you are sick. Not much fun!

My wife also thought it would be a good way to get out of my comfort zone of beer. Specifically Hoppy IPA's and APA's! She was right - I have really developed a love for many different styles since then. Especially Porter and Imperial Stouts.

How long have you been blogging about beer and how long do you think you'll continue?
I have been blogging about beer for just over a year. I am definitely going to continue as I have met so many industry people and new friends since I have started this adventure. I think that my blog will likely morph into more tales about beer pairing, events, and my trials in home brewing once I have finished posting all 365 beers.

What has been the biggest change in the Ontario brewing industry since you started blogging?
I would have to say that one of the biggest changes has been the amount of specialty/seasonal/one-off brews that have popped up. Brewer's like Beau's, Mike Lackey/Great Lakes, Amsterdam and Barvolo's own HouseAles (and a many more) have really pushed the envelope as far as variety. So much so that you hear of other brewers installing pilot systems and starting to produce more one-offs every day.

If you could change one thing about the industry here in Ontario, what would it be?
I think like many of the other bloggers that you have spotlighted it would be the draconian liquor laws in Ontario. Instead of me rehashing it here, just go read which has a much better explanation than I will ever be able to give!

What beer book would you recommend to someone looking to learn more about beer?
I think a great book is "Learn To Brew" by John Palmer. I know that it is a Home Brew book but I think it would be a good read for anyone interested in beer. John has a keen way of making it interesting and really gives you good insight on what goes into making beer, it pretty much answers any question you would ever have had about beer.

When you're not drinking, writing, or out at the pub, what else preoccupies your time?
Work :(....Just kidding! My family takes up most of my time since I have a young daughter but for fun I love to snowboard and travel!

Best beer festival or event you've attended?
I would have to say the best was my first time at C'est What's Festival of Craft Brewers. I am not sure which one since it was around 8 years ago but I had a blast and have been to many since! I am looking forward to going to Mondial this year though!

Name your favourite beer blogging experience
Hmmm....that is a tough question. I have been to so many fun events this year but I would have to say it was heading to The Burger Bar to share some special beers and finish my 365 different beer in 365 days.

Best time for a pint?
Saturday afternoons. I love being able to sit down with family/friends on a patio or in the backyard on a sunny Saturday afternoon and enjoy a pint. But really, is there a bad time for a pint?

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