Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
of the Craft first appeared in the March, 2013 issue of DaBelly.
This month’s column is the final column of the first five years;
March, 2017 will be the beginning of our second five years together.
Each month we spend time with a craft brewer
or other celebrity or visit some tasting rooms to sample their
brews. While there are several people I would love to talk to but
have not yet had the opportunity, there was one person I wanted to
make sure I included in the first five years of Art of the Craft.
He helps me explore quite a few questions,
including those about craft brewing. If I have a writing partner, he
is that person. He has been intimately involved in each part of the
process behind Art of the Craft.
Could you please tell us about
My name is Greg Richardson, and I write the
Art of the Craft column in DaBelly. I have strong opinions about
craft beers and craft brewing, and enjoy spending time with other
people in the craft brewing community.
There are few experiences in life more
pleasant than spending time in good conversations while tasting
excellent craft beer.
What brought you to Los Angeles?
I was born and raised in rural Wisconsin and
went to school for a long time there. I loved from Wisconsin to
Washington, DC for a couple of years, then to Chicago for several
years, them back to Washington before moving to Los Angeles near the
end of 2000.
My migration from Washington to Southern
California was part of a series of significant changes in my life.
It was not solely because of the California’s craft beers, though
they certainly helped me settle here.
Have you ever brewed beer yourself?
I have helped other people with their
home-brews, and have spent plenty of time with craft brewers in
How did you get so interested in
Growing up in Wisconsin, beer was part of
daily life. That beer was almost completely the pilsners produced by
industrial pilsners in one form of another.
I grew up in a time when many small towns in
Wisconsin had their own local breweries. They did not have wide
distribution, but brewed for the local community.
My interest in craft brewing was sparked
by my appreciation for the flavors of English
I have also developed a personal interest in
monastic life. The brewing practices and innovations of monks have
drawn me into a love of good beer in general.
Several years ago I organized a craft
brewery pilgrimage in which a group of us visited a new brewery each
month. We explored breweries in several counties, had a great time,
and became familiar with some wonderful brews.
Do you have a favorite beer-food
I prefer beers in the dark end of the pool,
porters and stouts. They go best, in my opinion, with foods which
have significant flavors and which complement them.
For example, I like a strong stout or porter
with cioppino or something else with a kick to it. I also enjoy dark
beers with a little added flavor, such as chocolate or coffee, or
For me, the combination of the seafood and
the spice with the rich, powerful dark beer cannot be beat.
Of course, I can also drink a good Russian
Imperial stout by itself.
Do you favor a particular California
Each craft brewery is different and I try to
keep an open mind as visit new tasting rooms. How I experience each
one probably says more about my mood and attitude than about them.
How do you understand "craft
brewing?" What is the difference between craft brewing and
I have heard various ways of understanding
the difference between craft brewing and industrial brewing. Some
people measure annual production or look at distribution.
My way of understanding may be more
In my experience, craft breweries are more
interested in trying new approaches and being creative, while
industrial breweries want to produce as much as they can in
predictable ways and move it as easily as they can. Craft brewers
are members of a local community while industrial breweries measure
themselves on a national or international scale.
What is your favorite music to enjoy
with a great beer?
I have to admit, which is a little
embarrassing because I write a column in DaBelly, I do not have
strong feelings about music.
Classical music helps me leave the rest of
the world behind. It is difficult to beat Beethoven and a great
I will talk with you again next month, at
the beginning of another five years.
Thank you for reading.
Greg Richardson is a leadership and
organizational coach, and a spiritual life mentor, in Pasadena,
California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and
monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive,
and university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and
he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk.
You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com.