Meet the Bloggers: Jason Henry

Categories: Beer, SFoodie

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Jesse Hirsch
Jason Henry really, really loves beer.
You read them here, now find out who the hell they are: We give you the diverse group of men and women who cover the local food and drink scene for you on SFoodie.

Jason Henry

Blogs about: beer

Jason Henry swears he isn't beer-obsessed. Patron of the arts, music connoisseur, foodie: On paper, Jason appears to be a well-rounded renaissance man. Then he reveals his "beer cellar," a covered section of his kitchen that houses 500 bottles, and you start to wonder. I visited Jason's Haight apartment on a recent Tuesday night to sample a few beers and find out where his obsession passion comes from.

Jesse: Where are you from originally?

Jason: I'm from San Diego, a city where it's hard not to be a beer geek. There's such a high concentration of really good breweries that you get it in your blood. Seriously, my first keg party had Stone IPA on tap instead of Coors Light. I honestly think San Diego is a superior beer city to San Francisco. (Ha, that's going to get me in trouble.)

When did you move to San Francisco?

It was seven years ago, when I came here for law school. My family rented a car and drove me up here to my new apartment in the Tenderloin. We went inside my place and no lie, when we came back out a shantytown had been set up around the car. My dad politely asked if everyone could move their tents and whatnot. It was kind of awkward.

You went to law school?

Yeah, I was interested in practicing family law but then I spent my summers doing work in the field and decided it wasn't for me. It was too much like watching a Jerry Springer episode. After law school I worked in payroll at UCSF for awhile but after some layoffs last year, I was free to pursue my passions.

Beer.

I've been running in beer circles since I moved here but now I've been able to devote myself to it more fully. I work part-time over at Beer Revolution in Oakland. I also get to write about beer regularly, which has been a great way to get back into creative writing.

How has the San Francisco beer scene changed since you moved here?

Seven years ago, craft beer was not a big thing here. I mean, there was Toronado, which has been a beacon to the craft beer community for over 20 years. But until City Beer opened five years ago, there wasn't much access to small brewery beers from around the state and beyond.

Craft beer is huge now. What changed?

I think it's part of a bigger movement, of people becoming more interested in their food and drink. It's kind of a double-edged sword. It can be annoying to line up hours earlier to get into Beer Week events and compete with more people to get my hands on certain rare beers. In the bigger picture it's great though; the whole perception of beer has changed in the U.S. People have started respecting it like wine and stopped thinking of it as just something to drink at frat parties.

Are you a snob about what you drink?

Not so much. There's a lot of people in the craft beer scene who will turn their nose up at any mainstream beers. That's not me. If I'm at a BBQ and they're serving Rolling Rock, it's not like I won't drink it. I also think there's some decent beer coming out of bigger companies. You shouldn't have to limit yourself to small, independent breweries.

Best and worst trends in craft beer?

I think the whole ABV (alcohol by volume) arms race is ridiculous. You've got all these breweries using tricks to pump up their alcohol percentage and not really caring about the quality of the finished product. At the same time, you're seeing a lot of breweries moving back to well-crafted session beers. Instead of "extreme" beers with high ABV and a bunch of unique ingredients, these are just easy-to-drink, delicious everyday brews.

Other blogger profiles:
-Lou Bustamante
-Tamara Palmer
-Alex Hochman
-Laura Beck
-Carina Ost
-Sean Timberlake

New York refugee Jesse Hirsch tweets at @Jesse_Hirsch. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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