Monday, August 3, 2015

Follow Up Post- Interview with Kyle Kensrue of ABV!

I recently had the opportunity to interview Kyle Kensrue of the ABV Kickstarter from my previous piece. during my interview I found that Kyle has a deep passion for beer and a love for the industry and people involved. Through the show ABV he would be able to share the stories of these individuals. Read the full interview below! Also, don't forget to check out/ donate to the ABV Kickstarter! 

1. Do you brew?

I have tried to home brew. I wouldn't let anyone taste what I made but I learned a lot. But that's what I wanted to gain from it. I was studying for my Certified Cicerone exam and wanted to go through the process of brewing. I don't think I could ever be a full-time brewer. I enjoy developing a recipe and figuring out how to bring together certain flavors, and I've even brewed a collaboration beer with a local brewery called Transmitter, but I can't see myself brewing day in, day out as a full time job.

2. I know you state in the Kickstarter video that you got into beer through bartending and working in restaurants, but where did the passion for beer (motivation to become a Cicerone) come from?

I love the fact that brewing is the perfect combination of science and art. Alchemy. I got my start in craft beer working at a brewpub out in California. It was fascinating to see he brewers at work putting together a delicious beverage. Firestone Walker's DBA was the first "craft" beer I had. I couldn't get enough of it. And then when I moved to NY, I took it a step further and started reading about beer, trying as many different beers as I could and basically diving head first into it. The decision to become a Cicerone was pretty easy. I knew that it would lead to credibility in the field, especially with how competitive NY can be. I still want to continue in the program and become the first Master Cicerone in NYC.

3. What's your take on the current debate over bottle vs canned beer?I think both are necessary. I love what Oskar Blues did in bringing the can back. It's the perfect way to prevent a beer from being light-struck. And the ability to be able to take a can with you on the beach or camping is big improvement. They even invented the Crowler, which is a 32oz can version of a growler, blew me away. I went to Cigar City in Tampa during a bachelor party weekend and grabbed a crowler of Jai Alai IPA to take with me on the beach. I was in heaven.

4. When choosing a beer, what do you typically look for? (ABV, IBU, types of hops, etc...)

Is there a particular style of beer your tend to go for?  I’m a fan of just about every style of beer. For me there are a lot of factors in the decision of what to drink. Time of day. What I’m eating. Time of year. I do love IPA’s, Sours and barrel aged beers, but I don’t necessarily want them all the time. Sometimes I want a session beer to keep me going all night or sometime I want a big ABV to sip and relax. That being said, my all time favorite beer I’ve ever had was Double Barrell Hunahphu from Cigar City Brewing. That beer was amazing.

5. What is your go-to shower beer?

I’ve actually not consumed a beer in the shower since college, but my dessert-island beer would be Jai Alai IPA. And if it’s something to have before going out, then any good IPA or Saison is perfect.

6. If you could choose one beer to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

See above. Jai Alai is one I could drink any day any time.

7. In the Kickstarter you mention distribution through PBS, Netflix, and other stations. How large of a viewing area are you hoping for- a local show dependent on the breweries you go to, or something national?

I, ultimately, see this as a national show. I believe in this show because I think the stories behind the breweries translate to more than just beer geeks. They’re human interest stories. It’s about overcoming odds. Art. Entrepreneurial spirit. Everybody loves a good story and these breweries have some good ones.

8. Besides New York, what states have you considered filming in? (Virginia has a great beer history as well as a quickly growing number of breweries at about 110 last I checked!)

I’m interested in going all over the country. San Fransisco and San Diego obviously drive a great California beer scene, but I also love what’s happening in the up and coming beer communities, like Virginia. Georgia, for example, has been repealing some of the old antiquated prohibition beer laws and has started to see some substantial growth. That’s something else that I’d like to cover. How government can help foster growth in the beer business which positively impacts the economy and the community.

9. How did you determine which breweries you wanted to interview in New York for your initial "teaser" and first five episodes?

I have some good connections in the NYC brewing scene and some with the breweries outside the city too, but I did a lot of research. There are some breweries that I’ve never heard of, but I thought have a good story. Something that I could dig into and discover.

10. What do you anticipate being the largest challenge in your endeavor?

The largest challenge will probably be the funding. I think that there’s an audience waiting for a show like this. There are some beer shows out there, but none doing the style that I want to do. And I think because I’m focusing on the stories, it can bring in a much wider audience than just the beer geeks. But if I can’t secure the funding, then the stories won’t be told.

11. What is your favorite thing about the craft beer industry or the beer industry as a whole?

I love the artistry to it. I love that these people who have started a brewery ventured out into a business without a guarantee of making it. It’s not a “safe” move. But they love it and persevere and make it happen for themselves. They overcome the obstacles and bring their version of art to the public.

12. Who would you say are some breweries to watch?

Other Half and Transmitter are my two favorite breweries in NYC right now. But Empire Brewing just broke ground on a new farmstead brewery up in the Syracuse area and I’m really excited to see what they’re able to do with that when it’s up and running. The NYC scene is still relatively new, so there are a lot of new breweries popping up all over the place.

13. Who are your current favorite breweries/ beers to drink currently?

I’m from Tampa, so Cigar City holds a special place with me. And Firestone Walker’s DBA was my first “craft” beer, so they’re up there too. I like discovering new breweries and always try to keep an eye out for who’s coming down the pipeline.

14. What do you think it will take for a brewery to have staying power in this increasingly competitive beer market?

I think it comes down to two factors. One, is a meticulous approach to quality. A lot of new brewers start out as home brewers and brewing on a commercial scale is much different. They have to be constantly analyzing and tasting and examining what their doing to make sure they put the best product possible out to the public. The second factor is creativity. Don’t brew an IPA because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. Brew what you like. Brew what’s fun. Forge your own path.

15. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

It’s a really exciting time in the beer world in America. It’s cool to see America now influencing the rest of the world in brewing. I’m excited to be in the middle of it and hopefully with the show, I can help usher great beer into more homes all across the country.

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