A pic of Raven & Sierra at Chapter House in Ithaca, N.Y.
One of the things that has surprised me since I’ve started this blog is the people from outside our region who have contacted me or referenced this blog. I’ve exchanged a series of emails with one particular couple from Pennsylvania and the more I read the more I realized they really know their stuff as it relates to beer and general travel. When I found out one of them blogged previously I had to ask them if they’d be willing to do some guest beer travel related posts for my blog (as few or as many – I’m hoping they latter – as they’d like). To establish some Atlantic Canadian “street cred” for the couple, they are HUGE Great Big Sea fans which by most definitions make them honorary citizens anyway. Introducing Raven & Sierra:
Atlantic Canada Beer Blogger (ACBB): How long have you been mixing your love of great beer and travel?
Raven & Sierra (R & S): It started for me in 1993 with a 3 month long 25,000 mile trip to the western USA and Canada. The trip was primarily for nature, hiking, sightseeing, camping, etc. I had already discovered European imports in 1991 (when I turned 21). My first love was Chimay Red…from there the ball started rolling. On the previously mentioned trip I hit, now old stalwarts, Anchor Brewing, San Francisco (even got to meet and chat with Fritz Maytag!), Widmer in Portland, OR, Pike Brewing in Seattle, WA and Wynkoop in Denver, CO. After this eye opening and palate awakening experience I came home with a sense of purpose to find beer like what I had on the trip in my home area. Lucky for me Stoudt’s Brewing, which was founded in 1987, located 45 minutes from my house was doing this very thing! I quickly became a fan of Stoudt’s Brewing and searched out for similar places. Good thing, the time period of mid 90’s was the first wave of craft beer expansion and around me places were popping up almost monthly! Dogfish Head, Bullfrog Brewery, Selin’s Grove Brewing and Troeg’s Brewing all fueled my initial years of craft beer passion.
ACBB: What are some of the beer related trips you’ve taken and what are your favorite spots?
R & S: Wow–you just about name it in the USA and Canada and we have been there. I have drank a craft beer from every state and province that produces craft beer. In addition we have drank a craft beer IN every state and province save Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi and The Yukon. There are not any craft breweries in N.W.T. (use to be one in Yellowknife but not currently that I know of) or Nunavut.
The only trip we have made afar primarily for beer was a week long trip to England where we did NOTHING but drink cask ales and cider! Plans are in the works for a trip to Belgium and Germany in the not to distant future.
As far as favored places….oh boy, in the USA, I would have to say San Diego, CA and Portland, OR are two cities that are VERY hard to beat. As far as a region I am very fond of Vermont. In Canada our favorite location has been, without question, Montreal, QC.
ACBB: How familiar are you with the Atlantic Canadian beer scene and what are your impressions of the beer here?
R & S: We are very familiar with the craft beer scene in Atlantic Canada having taken some half dozen trips to the region over the last 10 years. We have been to just about every craft brewery or related outlet (like Marky’s Laundromat Espresso Bar) that there is. Some of the newer ones have escaped us but we hope to hit the locations missing from our list this coming summer.
My impression of the craft scene in Atlantic Canada is the region seems to be behind the times but is trying hard to catch up and break through. I know availibility of outside product is a challenge due to Provincial laws and control of the inventory. It also seems the notion of pushing boundries regarding styles and flavours is also lagging
behind, at least compared to what is going on here in the USA. I see places like Garrison, Rogue’s Roost and Acadie-Broue trying to change that notion. My impression is the staunch ideals of old school English style brewing is strong in Atlantic Canada….and you need places to SHAKE things up!
ACBB: What are your next planned trips and what breweries are you planning on visiting / beers you are planning on trying?
R & S: Over that past 6 months we have been to Portland, OR, Montreal, QC, Northern California (to include the opening day tap of Pliny the Younger at Russian River Brewing Company) and Vermont. Near future trips look to take us to Pittsburgh, PA for East End Brewing Company’s final installment of Gratitude, their amazing barleywine and to The Gaspe Peninsula, The Magdalen Islands, P.E.I and New Brunswick over a 3 week long expedition in June.
ACBB: What resources to do you use to plan your beer related travel?
R & S: Other than simply saying “the internet” my primary resources for travel information are BeerAdvocate.com, Beermapping.com, MyBeerBuzz.com and BeerPulse.com. Also, word of mouth from fellow beer geeks that I am in contact with has been very helpful too.
Future posts from the couple will be identified with the Raven & Sierra handle at the top of any of their post. If you’re interested in reaching the couple directly you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org