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Old 11-12-2008, 02:32 PM   #1
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Default Any Suggestions on Interview Questions for my Column?

I write a wine column in a regional rag, Flavor, and have also been asked to write a column on Craftbrewing (and homebrewing in the future, but that's another thread). This afternoon, I'm interviewing Taylor Smack, the owner and brewmaster at Blue Mountain Brewery and Hop Farm. I've known Taylor for awhile, since he was brewing for South Street. He just started this brewpub/hop farm last year, and he's doing a bang-up business. So I'm featuring him in my column, and I have a bunch of questions worked out that I want to ask him---but I thought, hell, I have yous guys' great minds at my disposal , might as well use 'em. So, what do you think would be some good Q's to ask a brewmaster? This magazine features good food, regional specialties, etc., it's not a beer geek rag, so stuff like "do you do a triple decoction with your lager, and if so, how stiff is the portion you pull out" isn't gonna play. Think, general beer-ignorant public.

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.planned:
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.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:58 PM   #2
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Some advanced dumb people questions could be:

Does he grow all of his own hops or does he also have to buy hops to suppliment what he grows?

Are any of the hops varieties he uses special to his brewery, does he have a "signature hop".

Does he plan on growing his own grains on his farm? How about malting etc?

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Old 11-12-2008, 03:01 PM   #3
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"What would you say, Mr. Smack, is the one outstanding difference between what you are doing with your beer and what a long standing brewery like Anheiser Busch is doing"?

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Old 11-12-2008, 03:03 PM   #4
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Many fertilizers are Petroleum based. So My question would be:
How has the economic downturn and the increased oil price (and recent reduction in oil price), affected your farming operation, and has the on-site brewery helped offset those costs, and if so, do you see reducing transportation costs by localizing business and manufacturing as a viable solution to other businesses in your area?

Also, What kind of fertilizer does one use for hop plants on a large production scale?

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Old 11-12-2008, 03:12 PM   #5
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I'm new to drinking different beers (i.e., I normally drink domestic beer). What would you suggest I try from your brewery if I am interested in supporting a local brewer?

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Old 11-12-2008, 03:12 PM   #6
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Any beers that he wanted to make at his old job but couldn't, and now that he is the owner, will?

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Old 11-12-2008, 03:28 PM   #7
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Cool, thanks---those are all great.

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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Any beers that he wanted to make at his old job but couldn't, and now that he is the owner, will?
Good question. Horrible sentence, but a good question.
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:34 PM   #9
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What types of beers go with what meals?

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Old 11-12-2008, 03:36 PM   #10
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Evan! surely you are smart enough to come up with questions. All of these are good questions. As a professional interviewer my one and only suggestion is DO NOT ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. And the best questions are follow ups to answers the subject gives you. Pay very close attention to what he's saying.

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