I Think About Beer with Christopher Barnes
I’ve been working on the front lines of the craft beer movement for over 15 years. Initially, I wanted to work with wine (I know, the dirty secret is out). When I spoke with someone in the wine business, they mentioned that I should learn more about beer because, chances are, if you’re working with wine you’ll also be working with beer. So, I bought a beer book. And it was then that the words of the great Michael Jackson touched another person: me.
That started my beer journey. I started tasting my way through the beers he talked about and one of the earliest ones flipped a switch in my brain: Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale. To this day, brown ales hold a special place in my heart even if I hardly ever drink them anymore.
I started in the beer industry officially in June of 2001, right at the end of the last major “craft beer bubble.” Do you remember Saxer Lemon Lager? Well, if you drank it, I’m hoping you can forget it. If not, it’s probably better that you haven’t. Now it makes a fun punchline in “do you remember” jokes.
15 years later, I’m a Certified Cicerone®, a Certified Cider Professional, & a MBAA Beer Steward making me one of the few people in Oregon to hold all 3 certifications. I’m also studying for the Advanced and Master Cicerone® test. I’m not sure when I’ll be ready, but that is my goal.
Today, I’m the Import Beer, Specialty Beer, & Cider manager at a small, independent, craft beer distributor. I’m directly responsible for the largest and most varied book of Imported beers in one of the most provincial of beer markets: Oregon. I’ve traveled the world visiting breweries and indulging my passion for craft beer & cider and specifically imported craft beer & cider.