BLOGGER SPOTLIGHT: Robin LeBlanc – The Thirsty Wench

Name: Robin LeBlancRobin LeBlanc - The Thirsty Wench

Name of Blog: The Thirsty Wench

Twitter: @thethirstywench

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Tell us a little about yourself?

Ah jeez, where to start. I’m 28 and live in Toronto with a Bastard Cat. I’m a freelance photographer/music publicist/social media consultant on top of the fun beer stuff. I enjoy things like music (various), video games (most boardgames, a few tabletop RPGs and puzzle, platformer and third person action/adventure games), comics (let’s not even try to go there) and a wide assortment of reading material. I’m tired a lot.

How did you get into craft beer?

I was at a friend’s house some time in 2009 and his roommate showed up with a bottle of Chimay Rouge. He told us about the way of the Trappists and gave us some flavour notes. And then we tried it and…man. No way to explain the complex flavours I tasted in that. Before then I was mainly in to wine and the only beers I had were Stella Artois and Guinness, so it was quite the experience. From there it turned in to field trips to Barvolo, which turned in to picking up a few books, which turned in to deciding to set up a blog…and here we are.

How long have you been writing your blog? What made you start to write?

I started in 2011, simply, to keep track of all that I was learning. I was also at the point where friends were asking me what beer they should order at whatever bar they were texting/e-mailing from, so on top of keeping track of my own things, I wanted to share it with my friends so they’d learn something as well. So yeah, it started out as something I thought only myself and a few friends would read. Little did I know…

Why did you choose the name?

Really, I wanted a name that was easy to remember, had my own kind of touch to it and was also reminiscent of the old English pubs that I grew up around.


Favourite beer style(s)?

I don’t think I’ve ever said no to a Belgian Blonde and I’ll always give a good English Brown Ale a try.

Favourite breweries?

Ah jeez, another tough question. Dogfish Head, Stone, BrewDog, Unibroue, Flying Monkeys, Wellington, Revolution, Three Floyds, Muskoka, Bellwoods…there are really so many.

Are you a home brewer? If yes, what is your favourite creation?

I am! I haven’t made much though, but one of my favourite creations was Pumpkin Patch Panic, a Pumpkin Ale I made for the autumn season. I also made an American Brown Ale with Chamomile recently called Manor House Intrigue (I was HEAVILY in to season 2 of Downton Abbey when I came up with the name). Both have been a really fun learning experience!

Favourite beer & food pairing?

I’ll always enjoy a good IPA and a hamburger. Any variations work for that and work very well if it’s a lamb burger. Yum!

If you could work with or for any brewery which one would it be, and why?

I’d love to work at the Dogfish Head brewpub. The chance to make small batch experimental beers as a job would be just wonderful and I really love Dogfish Head’s style. Then again, I like how metal Three Floyds is…hm.

If you had to recommend one craft beer to someone who has never had a beer before… what would it be & why?

I have two suggestions. Firstly, if the person is more in to wine I would suggest a good abbey ale. Perhaps Orval or even Westmalle Dubbel. Just to show the diversity of the drink and how it can match, and even surpass, the complexity of wine.

If the person is more in to the bud lights, I’d throw a good pilsner their way. King’s Pilsner or, as I most recently tried, Big Rock’s SAAZ Republic Pilz, is a good choice to convert people, since it shows that a beer can be light-bodied but flavourful.

Yeah, sorry. That’s clearly not one beer. *cough*

Favourite beer festival?

Definitely Cask Days. And I really love the Winter Beer festival that Canadian Beer News put together with The Rhino. I never got to go to the summer one, but they have a fall one I’m looking forward to. I also just recently got back from London, Ontario’s Forest City Beer Fest and had a hell of a fun time.

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?

The start of it was the Chimay story I mentioned above, but if I had to pick another one…it would probably be when I first tried Westmalle Tripel. I was still starting out and was discovering things for the first time. I don’t even know why I picked that beer in particular (it certainly wasn’t an informed choice) but…I actually wept, because it was so complex, full-bodied and delicious to the point of being an emotional experience. It really made me feel “Wow, this is an incredibly diverse drink”.


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