Name: Kristie Martin & Ashleigh Bennett
Name of Blog: Two Girls, One Beer
Location: Portsmouth, NH & Cape Cod, MA
Tell us a little about yourself?
Kristie: I’m 26 years old, originally from Cape Cod, MA but moved out to the Seacoast region of New Hampshire to involve myself in a flourishing beer scene. I have a BA in English and Film and a background in restaurant management and cooking. I currently work at WHYM Craft Beer Cafe; NH’s only exclusively craft-beer bar. Between my work in New Hampshire, a boyfriend in Rhode Island, and my family and friends in Massachusetts, I spend a lot of my time traveling New England searching for new beer experiences. When I’m not doing that, I’m usually hanging out with my cat, watching weird movies or cooking.
Ashleigh: I co-founded Two Girls, One Beer with my friend Kristie because we kind of fell into beer together. It’s a fun hobby that took off more than either of us could have predicted. During the day I work in creative services for a marketing company, and then in my time off I love to explore the worlds of craft beer, even though where I live, Cape Cod, is kind of a craft beer desert. One day they’ll get Shock Top out of the craft section and catch up with the rest of the world…
How did you get into craft beer?
Kristie: I think I started to make the transition from 40 oz. to craft around the time I went to college out in Western Massachusetts. Coming from Cape Cod, where the beer scene had been rather limited, I discovered liquor stores devoting whole isles to beer, I saw my first brewpub (Amherst Brewing Co), switched from Miller High Life to Long Trail, volunteered on a packaging line in exchange for a 12-pack, and finally, mainly because we thought it would be the cheapest way to combat our heroic beer in-take, Ashleigh and I brewed our first beer.
Ashleigh: I used to not understand the point of craft beer; this was back in college, when my patched up punk-vest wearing self self thought, “Why do people drink pricey beer? A 40 gets you just as buzzed.” But about five years ago, towards the end of college, I started to leave behind some vestiges of youth and branch out into the standard beginner “craft” beers (Sam Adams seasonals, local breweries, Shipyard), and it started to grow from there. Shortly after graduation we also both hit an unemployed stretch and began homebrewing together as a cheap hobby, and that gave us a whole new appreciation for beer, not to mention a solid understanding of each component.
How long have you been writing your blog?
Kristie: What made you start to write? Before TGOB, I was writing a food blog that had a small section of beer reviews. In the fall of 2011, Ashleigh and I were out in Rhode Island visiting a corn maze, and decided to stop for lunch at a brewpub that turned out to be just a disaster of an establishment. So I’m pretty happy to say that the blog started because we just HAD to tell people that this was some bad beer.
Why did you choose the name?
Ashleigh: It’s based on the famous viral video, we wanted something catchy that people would remember. It got a little embarrassing at job interviews a year ago when I listed it on my resume.
Favourite beer style(s)?
Kristie: I lean towards saisons, lambics/gueuzes; but I’m really not picky. I have beers that I love from most every style.
Ashleigh: Nothing beats a pumpkin beer when you’re surrounded by New England autumn, but that’s mainly situational. Otherwise, sour beers- lambics, gueuzes.
Kristie: Maine Beer Co., Jack’s Abby, Blue Lobster, Mystic Brewery, Evil Twin, Hill Farmstead, Cantillon
Ashleigh: Earth Eagle in Portsmouth NH constantly produces some really amazing creations.
Are you a home brewer? If yes, what is your favourite creation?
Kristie: I’ve tried. The thing that gets me is that I always want to brew these outlandish creations before I even get the basics down. i.e. lemongrass ginger saisons before I can even make a pale ale. So I think next time I try to brew again, I’m just going to work on basic styles. I did make a pretty nice gingerbread milk stout last winter though.
Ashleigh: I try, but I have more failures that explode in the cabinet than I do successes. Sterilizing everything…ain’t nobody got time for that. Now that I have a dishwasher and don’t have to hand wash everything, I’ll probably give it another go.
Favourite beer & food pairing?
Kristie: Buffalo wings with a big IPA. I know most people tend to lean away from hops when paired with spice, but I love how they enhance the heat and also clean out your palate for the next wing. Plus, IPA’s and blue cheese work wonderfully, and to me, buffalo wings are just a vessel to get more blue cheese into my mouth.
Ashleigh: Beer and cheese plates. Especially the cheese plates that come with various pickled veggies. Along that same line, Gruyere and lambics.
If you could work with or for any brewery which one would it be, and why?
Kristie: One that doesn’t make an apricot/strawberry/watermelon wheat in the summer.
Ashleigh: I’d like to work with a brewery who isn’t afraid to push the envelope and tries a variety of styles outside of the typical basic seasonal releases. Since our blog tries to stay local, I’d have to say Mystic Brewery. Also Earth Eagle who I mentioned earlier, I mean, they made a beer out of Christmas leftovers.
If you had to recommend one craft beer to someone who has never had a beer before… what would it be & why?
Kristie: That’s tricky. It really depends on everyone’s personal tastes. I’ve dealt with people who thought they hated Belgian beers until they were presented with the right one, like an accessible Allagash or Unibroue. Or people who are usually wine drinkers but will fall in love with a beer like Monk’s Cafe. For someone who has never had craft beer before, I would probably start with something like Maine Beer Company’s MO; incredibly clean and fresh tasting with the perfect balance of toasty malts and fruity/piney hops. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love that beer.
Ashleigh: This is hard, if someone doesn’t know beer, there’s no way to know what they like. For that reason I always tell people to go to a tasting, brewery, or brew pub and order a flight so they can have a tiny bit of each basic type, so they can taste the differences, and branch off from that.
Favourite beer festival?
Kristie: We both love the Pumpkin Fest put on by Cambridge Brewing Co – tons of pumpkin beers from all over the country, pumpkin-inspired food, a beer tapping out of a giant pumpkin, and everyone is wearing costumes. I also really like Boston’s Extreme Beer Fest. I usually get tired of festivals because not many breweries bring out anything new, but at the Extreme Fest, you’ll get beers and takes on styles you’ve never seen before.
Ashleigh: The Cambridge Brewing Co. Pumpkin Fest. It’s the only thing I’ll stand in line for three hours in a snowstorm for.
And last but not least…
Everyone says they’ve had a ‘life changing’ epiphany on how they discovered or truly fell in love with craft beer. What was that moment for you?
Kristie: Honestly, I can’t remember a pinnacle moment. All I know is that since becoming a craft beer drinker, I’ve become so energized and enthralled by local beer communities, I realized that this is what I want to devote myself too. Every day I’m learning something new and meeting people whose passion about beer continues to inspire me.
Ashleigh: I wish I had one, but I don’t. Honestly it was just a natural progression of sorts. Homebrewing was definitely what made beer “click” for me though, being able to see the different ingredients and the scents they have, the roles they play, that really helped me understand it more than anything else.