Everyone (or at least everyone I talk to about beer) loves Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery. I could dive right into my list of reasons why but I think it’s worth sharing how this blog post idea came to be.
Last week I attended a Mikkeller tap takeover at The Blue Monk (our local Belgian beer bar) and there was a gentleman seated at the bar who had obviously been there for a while. He didn’t look intoxicated; he was simply settled on his stool, which was situated right at the center of the bar. He was seemingly alone, save his dog-eared copy of The Brewmaster’s Table.
After a couple of hours of beer drinking, the guy with the book initiated a conversation as I attempted to close out my tab. While I’d initially assumed he was the pompous kind of beer nerd, I found myself asking if Garrett Oliver had signed his book and then writing him off as a lesser geek because it wasn’t in fact signed. Everyone I know who has a copy, has a signed copy. Everyone has a signed copy because Garrett Oliver signs a lot of copies. In fact, he has a reputation of being one of the most benevolent brewmasters in the craft beer industry.
That my friends, is how this list came to be.
Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery
8 (Non-Beer Related) Reasons People Love Garrett Oliver
1. He’s Out There
Garrett Oliver has hosted more than hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of beer tastings, dinners and demonstrations in fourteen different countries. He’s always writing something new or doing interviews. As far as events go, he’s not just attending the big beer festivals that all the big shots go to (to see and be seen) – he’s still doing weeknight beer dinners and hitting up total tap takeovers in all kinds of places (even Buffalo.)
2. He’s Approachable
When he’s at an event, he’s talking to people – and not just the important ones, either. There are a lot of brewmasters walking around with big, big egos – Garrett Oliver doesn’t seem to be one of them. When you know more about beer than anyone else in the room and you’re and internationally recognized authority yet you can still come off as the most down-to-earth guy at the party, you’re doing something very right.
3. He’s Social
Aside from the events he makes time to attend, he’s interacting with people on Facebook (I’m one of his nearly 5,000 friends) and on Twitter. He doesn’t act like a celebrity and he’s actually interacting with people, commenting on things, and having conversations.
4. He’s Genuine
It doesn’t take long to figure out that Brooklyn’s brewmaster is a guy you’d want to have a beer with, even if he had no celebrity status. He’s very obviously smart, funny, cultured, and not in any way pretentious. To witness someone at his level talking to people like they’re people is as refreshing as a tulip glass of Brooklyn Sorachi Ace. Judging by everything I’ve seen, heard, read, or watched on YouTube, I’m confident he and I would get along really well.
5. He’s the Ultimate Beer Geek
My friend Pete here at the office described Garrett Oliver as “the beer geek’s beer geek” – not only is he passionate about beer, the food you eat with your beer, writing about beer, talking about beer, and everything else related to beer – he actually makes beer; good, innovative beer.
6. He Has a Sweet Name
Garrett Oliver is just one of those names that begs to be uttered in its entirety – every single time. It sounds rugged and regal all in one breath. It’s technically two first names yet no one would ever think of not trusting him. It’s a respectable name and if you ask me, he’s doing it justice.
7. He’s an Eligible Bachelor
Please note that I’m not just saying this because I’m a woman. There is just something intriguing and captivating about a person who is so passionate about their craft they’d forgo settling down to do what they love all day, every day, everywhere.
He’s Not White
8. Garrett Oliver doesn’t shy away from the fact that he’s America’s only African American brewmaster, so why should I? His skin color actually works out in his favor. Who needs a twirly handlebar mustache to stand out when you’re the only black guy at the beer tasting? It’s no secret that those who defy stereotypes fascinate people. The fact that he’s a pioneer of the craft beer movement without looking anything like “a brewer” makes him all kinds of interesting.
There you have it folks – all of the non-beer related reasons I can come up with.
Anyone have something to add? Maybe Mr. Garrett Oliver? I’m convinced he’s so social and approachable that he may find this post and leave me a comment.
[techtags:GARRETT OLIVER, BROOKLYN BREWERY]