Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beer 201: An Intermediate History of Me and Beer

Just who in the heck am I and what makes me competent enough to start producing a blog on the Michigan brewing scene? Well, I’m Jeff Priskorn; also known as Phruity to some. I grew up in Royal Oak and now live in Troy with my laudable wife Jacquie. She’s an actor and a writer, and I… well, I wear a lot of hats. I’m a software engineer by degree (Wayne State University, ’93), but I’m also an actor and a voiceover artist, and on weekends I sing (scream?) in a rock and roll band called Mad Rabbit, known as Michigan’s Live Jukebox™. Playing in a band for over 10 years has given me plenty of opportunities to sample the best and worst libations metro Detroit-area bars have to offer. Early on, it was whatever was cheapest – no one makes a living being in a band, don’t you know that? This included your standard slop: PBR, Miller High Life, Stroh’s, Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, etc., ad infinitum. From there I started experimenting with somewhat higher-quality offerings: Sam Adams, Blue Moon, Leinenkugel (Shandy, Fireside Nut Brown), Magic Hat No. 9, and the like. And then? Well, the hops really hit the fan in May 2011.

Our wedding anniversary is in May, and as such Jacquie and I try to take a week of travel and leisure sometime every May. Last year I was really starting to sample and experiment with Michigan-made beers, and though Jacquie is not a beer drinker (wine is more her thing) she was game to plan a Michigan microbrewery adventure with me. We scoured the Michigan BeerGuide and the Michigan Brewer’s Guild’s Great Beer State magazine and came up with a killer itinerary. As part of our visit to the Munising and Whitefish Point areas, we hit four pubs in the U.P.: The Vierling, Blackrocks Brewery, Lake Superior Brewing Company, and Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub. Then we went down through Traverse City: Short’s, Right Brain, North Peak, Mackinaw Brewing Company, and Left Foot Charley’s. From there it was down the west coast of Michigan: New Holland, Saugatuck, and a 12-pack full of breweries in the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas. I’m sure I’ll get to a full recounting as we go along; suffice it to say that we hit close to two dozen breweries on our trip.

The anniversary couple at Short's, sampling (L to R) diet root beer and Anniversary Ale.

We also took a long weekend into Ann Arbor last July, hitting about six more in that area, and being domiciled in Troy means that we’re often in the Royal Oak/Clawson/Birmingham areas as well. My beer journal has over 300 beers in it, the bulk of them Michigan-made. Not all are thoroughly reviewed, but I’d say 60% or so have detailed notes, which I shall, in time, perhaps, offer up in this very space. (NOTE: I’m pretty proud of that last sentence; it’s not often you see five commas in one semi-coherent statement.)

So that’s a short history of how I got my “start” in the world of beer connoisseurring and reviewing. Yes, a tear-jerking story of rags to riches. Or something. Join me next time when I’ll start getting into the whole point of this blog: reviewing pubs and beers!

No comments:

Post a Comment