Welcome to A Tempest in a Tankard! In these pages, you will find everything from reflections about beer and culture to concrete recommendations about where to find a decent bottle or pint in far-flung places in North America and beyond. Sometimes I will spotlight a particular brewery or brewpub; other times I will narrow the focus to a particular beer. Wine occasionally graces the stage, as do spirits and nihonshu (saké). And what are libations without food? Every now and then I’ll include an original recipe that pairs well with a particular beverage.
Most anyone enthusiastic about quality beer can pinpoint a moment when the proverbial scales fell from his or her eyes. The hero of my conversion narrative is a Maisel’s Hefeweizen that I had at a tavern in Saarbrücken during the first of my study sojourns abroad. No more Kokanee for me. But beer took a bit of a back seat to wine, saké, scotch, bourbon, and cocktails of various stripes over the years. As graduate school was winding down, I plunged back in with both feet and took up homebrewing––a perfect antidote if there ever was one to long hours spent researching and writing about the past. As if homebrewing weren’t enough, I’ve since become a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program)-certified judge and have several competitions under my belt now.
I drink locally, but not fanatically so. “Local” has come to mean many places for me: the Vancouver area (where I grew up), Montreal, Tokyo, Berlin, Sendai, the Finger Lakes region, Paris, the Saarland, central Oklahoma, Salzburg, Rheinland-Pfalz, and, most recently, Vienna. So you might see references to “local” happenings in places as diverse as Tokyo and Upstate New York.
As much as I’ll try to stick to a regular schedule of postings, I travel frequently so that I can keep Tempest interesting for you. I might post once every few weeks, or post a few articles in quick succession. Check back often. Sometimes pieces written months ago tend to get lost under the weight of more recent posts. I’ve included an Index at the top of Tempest’s page to help make navigation a little easier.
Feel free to contact me using the contact form below. I will do everything I can to get back to you in a timely manner. If you’re a brewer, you can also arrange to send beer for review using the same contact form. Keep track of what’s going on here at Tempest by subscribing via e-mail (click on the Good Beer Here button), liking Tempest on Facebook, following the happenings via Twitter (@TempestTankard), or checking out my sometimes beer-related photos on Instagram (@tempesttankard).
Franz D. Hofer