In a new interview series here on CellarMonk, we will be seating Beer Bloggers in the comfy computer chair of fame. First up is a Twitter friend that was at the ready to suggest can't miss pubs to go to during this author's recent trip to London. Whether it's judging beer, tasting beer, or evangelizing beer, she is at the ready. Welcome the the Cellar, beer expert and food diva, Melissa Cole.
Name: Melissa Cole
Blog Name: Taking the Beard Out of Beer
Location (city, country): London, United Kingdom (UK)
When did your blog start? 2007
What got you into blogging about beer?
I write about beer for a living, and I get to go on so many great trips that I can't always place. Also, with my b2b writing background and so many pent-up rants, I thought it would be a good idea to start an outlet for all that!
Is beer the only thing you blog about?
Beer and beer & food, but I'm a bit random - I write for a living and only blog when the mood really takes me. I know a lot of people will say that's not the way to do it but I prefer quality over quantity - in many walks of life in fact!
How long have you been blogging about beer?
I've been writing about beer in way or another for over 10 years.
Any formal writing training? School, Internship, etc.
I have a BA Honors in Journalism
Do you just write about beer or do you have other beer pursuits?
I do a lot around beer & food, I've done five food festivals this summer for example, which is great for the soul, but rubbish for the hips! I also do a lot of corporate work, with beer tastings and also a lot of staff trainings for breweries and pub companies.
Do you attend any of the big beer festivals/conferences? If so, do you stay to yourself or join other bloggers?
I judge at GBBF, GABF & WBC amongst others and I don't see many bloggers there to be honest. Also, I have mates from all walks of the industry, not just writers.
Do you attend the beer blogger conferences?
I spoke at the Beer Bloggers Conference in London this year, I wanted to stay but had work commitments elsewhere. There have been some nasty accusations that, as a journalist, I feel I'm 'above' bloggers but it's quite the opposite, they keep me on my toes! I feel they've got an enthusiasm that can sometimes wane if/when you write for a living day-in day-out. I do, however, think that bloggers have some best practice and ethical dilemmas that I can help them with from time-to-time and I'm not shy about saying so!
What do you think of the growth in the amount of individuals now interested in both beer and writing about beer?
I think it's fantastic! On a selfish level, I get more work the higher profile beer gets and I know it sounds mercenary but it's true. However, it pleases me much, much more on a collegiate level that beer is finally getting the recognition it deserves..
Do you write only for your own blog or are your posts seen elsewhere?
As I said, I'm a journalist and my works appears in print, on radio & TV.
Are you published? IE. Anything we can buy and read
My book Let Me Tell You About Beer comes out in the UK and France in October - I'm hoping for a US release, you never know!
In the kitchen I make a mean? (beer related food)
Oyster dressing with Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, Carbonnade and chocolate stout soufflé.
Do you have a preferred/favorite beer style?
I don't, it depends where I am, what I'm doing, what I'm eating and who I'm with!
Three favorite breweries?
No chance I'm getting drawn into that! And I honestly couldn't say. I will say the three beers I've been most proud of from my collaboration brews have been M&M Porter with Dark Star, the Star Anise Mild with Sharp's and the now legendary Thai-Bo with Otley.
Favorite foreign beer?
One of any number of American craft beers
Favorite domestic beer?
Whatever's good on handpull in the pub
Please put your beer judge hat on and describe your Dark Star collabotration (M&M) beer:
A frighteningly drinkable brown porter, with a intriguingly smoked caramel chocolate nose, a hint of peat and a suggestion of raisin, all of which follows onto the body, where it's joined with a sour cherry and smoked fig richness and ends off very cleanly with just the merest ephemeral whiff of a good Islay malt.
Any advice to would be beer bloggers?
Yeah, don't follow my method. Do only blog about stuff you're passionate about but blog more often than I do!
I'd ask you one more question, but I have my thumb stuck in a firkin, so please ask and answer one more question about beer.
Why do you write about beer? Because it's fun, sociable and is something you can talk to anyone about in any situation!
About the Author
Melissa Cole is one of the UK's leading beer experts and a respected international beer judge, with over a decade of writing, broadcasting and evangelizing about the world's favourite drink. She's not shy of the practical side either, regularly joining up with leading craft brewers to produce collaboration brews which have proved popular with consumers and gained her respect within the industry. Her goal in life is to demystify beer jargon and to help more people enjoy quality brews, whether through the pages of this book or her popular blog Taking the Beard Out of Beer, or at her regular appearances at top food and drink festivals worldwide.
Follow Melissa on Twitter @melissacole