A conversation with @beer_voyager

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This post is part of an on-going series of posts where we plan to highlight craft beer personalities from Instagram.

Today, we talk to Justin (@beer_voyager). Justin is Bozeman, MT-based craft beer fan, wilderness lover and contributor to PorchDrinking.com.

Today, Justin tells us how Dogfish Head actually kicked off his love of craft beer, how his roots in Northwest attributes to his love of the wilderness, and also lists some of his favorite breweries (of the 214 breweries he’s been to).

You can follow Justin on Instagram at @beer_voyager.

What was the first craft beer you ever had?

I’m not sure I can pinpoint my first craft beer, but I can tell you I’ve always hated the watery, yellow fizzy stuff.

The thing that really ignited my interest and love of craft beer was watching the docuseries on Discovery Channel with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head. It was mind blowing to see all off the creative and bizarre things they were doing with beer. That curiosity lead me to mixed 12 packs from Sam Adams, New Belgium and others. Trying a wide variety really got me into craft beer and opened my eyes to all the delicious flavors out there.

What are some of your favorite beer styles at the moment?

This is always an impossible question for me to answer because I always have a large variety of styles on hand and like to drink multiple styles whenever I’m having some beers. This summer’s beer consumption seems to lean heavily towards sours and IPAs though. 

While we’re on the topic, what are some of your favorite breweries at the moment?

This is a tough one because there are so many amazing breweries right now. I really enjoy Modern Times, Mountains Walking, Fremont, and Urban South – HTX.

We see you’ve been to 214 breweries.  What were some of your favorites along the way?

I could easily list some from the last question, but I’ll dig deep and think of some different ones. I’m going to list some breweries that not only make good beer, but have something I felt was special about them or just a really unique location.  

Smelter City (an amazing historic building that they’ve beautifully remodeled), Map Brewing (a local spot with one of the best views a brewery could ask for), Holy Mountain, Pizza Port (pizza & beer, what else could you ask for?), Dark Sky, Ballast Point Long Beach, and Copper Hop Ranch (hop farm and brewery). 

I’ve never been to Montana before, but I’ve heard great things.  What are some differences between the Montana craft beer scene and other areas of the country? 

Well I’m fairly new to Montana, I’ve only been here for about 9 months now. One thing most people don’t realize is that Montana has a ton of breweries for the population—second highest per capita in the country. People in the state love to drink beer and while their style preferences can be behind the times and may occasionally oppose current trends, they are all about supporting the local breweries—which has been really cool to see. In terms of beer from other states, Montana is a bit of a distribution wasteland compared to other neighboring states. Thankfully, there are over 100 breweries in the state to satisfy people’s thirst.

We see you’re big in to hiking.  What sparked your love of the outdoors and hiking?

I was born and raised in the Northwest and that’s just a part of the lifestyle. I’ve always loved being outside and escaping to the mountains. Every time I come across something amazing on a hike (a view, waterfall, etc.) it only makes me more interested in exploring and wanting to be outdoors. 

You take some amazing outdoor beer pics.  What kind of equipment do you use?

Thank you, I appreciate that! There has been a lot of trial and error learning how to take a decent picture. I use a Nikon DSLR and rotate through a few lenses and lens filters regularly. Once I got the Nikon (shoutout to my wife for the best birthday present ever), then I mostly stopped using my Iphone for pictures.

And obviously you have to keep that beer cold while you’re hiking.  What kind of coolers do you carry?

I have a cooler backpack that I bring on nearly every hike. It’s not the fanciest one out there, but it keeps all of the drinks and food cold (which is the goal). Keep your eye out at Costco, I got mine there a couple years back for a steal of deal. 

Do you have any other Instagram accounts you’d recommend for beer lovers?

There are a lot that I enjoy and some of my favorites are ones that share my love for the outdoors and hiking. Shoutout to my fellow beer hikers—they take great pictures and drink great beers in some amazing places @beerhikechill, @crushquest, @thirstyexplorersclub, @beersintow, and @sdbeertour. For photography & photoshop goals @craftbeerdeer and @singinkang are great.

Lastly, how can our readers at all home find you online?

You can find me at @beer_voyager on Instagram or writing occasionally over on PorchDrinking.com.