HUNTER/Gatherer #2 — Matt Granstrom

Matt is an in-house graphic designer for a specialty tool wholesaler in Chicago. He gets out of the city more than most, especially to downstate Illinois, Wisconsin, and some uncharted territories of the craft beer boon. He’s authored over 2,000 beer reviews, is an avid chronicler of beer travels, and collects records, books and art. The internet is awesome, and so we met up for a beer at his local spot, Four Moon Tavern in Roscoe Village where he promptly shared a Hoodwink from Two Brothers. 

What’s your favorite beer and style?

Hard to say, it varies by mood and the seasons. Middle of summer is great for Kölsch, Gueuze, or IPA. Fall/Winter for Weizenbock, Imperial Stout and Old Ale. Particular beers…Cantillon Gueuze, Fantome, De Dolle Oerbier Reserva, Russian River Beatification, Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Mars Grand Reserve, Goose Island Bourbon County… this list could be 50 beers long!

What’s in your fridge right now?

Too much beer, a bottle of Korzenny Polish mead, some tortillas, veggie chorizo, chihuahua cheese, cilantro, and habaneros.

What was the first beer that clued you in?

Tried and Alaskan amber ale back in 2000 that triggered the epiphany that all beer wasn’t fizzy & yellow. Fell into the craft beer thing face first after getting started on German beers: Paulaner, Hacker Pschorr, Kostrizer a few years later.

What’s your most memorable beer moment?

First beer festivals in 2007: Festival of Barrel Aged Beers in Chicago and Dark Lord Day in Munster were defining moments in my formative beer nerd career. Tasting Fou’ Foune (very sour apricot lambic) on tap at the Map Room was a fun way to get introduced to the world of traditional lambics.

Bartender or brewer?

Brewer, since there’s more creativity involved. Respect the hell out of bartenders though, for the amount of stuff they put up with.

What was your greatest beer hunt?

Hard to say, but it’s always fun to find something unexpected in unlikely places. Moments that stand out include visiting New Beer Distributors and Spuyten Duyvil in NYC, and the first time visiting Discount in Milwaukee. Visiting Jolly Pumpkin in Dexter. Taking the backroads of SW Wisconsin to buy my first case of beer at New Glarus (first batch of Enigma). Happening across a 1994 bottle of Dobbelen Bruinen, and a 2001 Two Brothers Bare Tree on dusty shelves in seedy suburban liquor stores. Lots of fun beer hunting stories…

What’s a beer on your wishlist?

Looking forward to trying a few things at FoBAB saturday…Oakshire, Goose Island, Jolly Pumpkin, Half Acre, Destihl, Fitgers. Also looking forward to trying beers from New Chicago, Pipeworks, and Rolling Meadows near Springfield.

Everyday beers?

Daisy Cutter, Krankshaft, Founders Porter.

Michael Kiser