With the British & Irish Lions have beaten the Wallabies and Andy Murray the new King of Wimbledon, it seems only right to look north for inspiration for the latest featured blog. And where better to go than to a man who can be seen sporting a kilt at the beer and wine world’s grand occasions.
Willie Wilson (above with James Watt from BrewDog) has been working in the beverages industry for more than a quarter century – in other words, pretty much since the first beer that sowed the seeds for the craft beer revolution was poured at Fremantle’s Sail & Anchor. He’s run real ale pubs in the UK, the restaurants of five star hotels and also worked in the British pub at Disneyworld, which isn’t something too many can claim to have done.
A certified sommelier, he spends pretty much his entire life surrounded by great beer and wine and writes a blog on his experiences that features such useful things as where to find real ale (or de-gased kegs) around his adopted home city of Sydney. He also appears on the cover of the third edition of Roger Protz’s The Real Ale Drinker’s Almanac (see below on the left).
Name: Willie Wilson
Name of blog: beerwinebeer.com
When did you start the blog?
I started in the middle of last year. I should probably pull my finger out and write a bit more, although I am keeping myself busy with research.
I write about…
The plan was to write about beer and wine, in particular the places that we drink them and what I think makes them better than others. Looking back, I seem to be a lot more focused on beer than wine. That’s not a bad thing really.
What you do when not blogging:
My day job is as Food and Beverage Manager at the Convention Centre in Sydney. I’m also a certified sommelier which comes in useful at work. As most people know, the Centre is being demolished at the end of this year so the next chapter of my life is fast approaching. I can assure you that good beer will be involved (and I’m sure I’ll mention it in the blog)!
Why did you start writing the blog?
Over the last few years I’ve got to know a lot of passionate beer and wine people through Twitter. While sitting drinking with them I realised that they were actually interested in my ramblings so I thought I would put them down in a little more than 140 characters.
Why should people read it?
I’ve got a lot of experience running bars and I’ve been selling decent beer and wine now for more than 25 years, originally in Scotland and then in the US before hitting Sydney. I think I know about things from a different angle than others.
I also like to remind people that drinking is supposed to be about enjoying yourself and try to keep a sense of humour about it. If you are finding the blog a bit dull then I recommend you read it in a broad Scottish accent.
What do you love / enjoy most about beer?I could talk about the taste, the complexity of decent beer (the length of toast) and all of the recent innovations that keep me excited about it but in the end of the day beer for me is all about the social side. There is nothing better than sharing great beers with fellow beer lovers.
Your favourite Australian beer?
I find it difficult to go past Bridge Road Chevalier Saison, though I’m pretty happy that Ben Kraus went past it and made their India Saison.
Favourite non-Australian beer?
It’s not Scottish patriotism when I say the guys at BrewDog are making some incredible stuff. If I hear someone has Hardcore IPA on tap I’ll go well out of my way for it.
Favourite place to enjoy a beer?
You’ll find me in the Darlinghurst Local Taphouse more often than not. I’m still amazed by how often they tap beers that I’ve never tasted before and the guys behind the bar are great.
Hopes for beer in Australia?
I’d love to see more exciting beers in regular pubs; it’s great to see good independent beers making inroads but I want hotel owners to take a few more risks.
Of course, when I look at regular pub wine lists I realise that just because there is now plenty of good beer in the country it doesn’t mean that hoteliers will list it.
The more we can educate drinkers the more they will force their local pub to stock quality products.
Events such as Good Beer Week, GABS, Sydney Craft Beer Week and Queensland Beer Week are all great ways to educate beer drinkers. We all need to get out there and never settle for rubbish beer.
You can follow Willie on Twitter too.