Eric Steen, blogger at Beer and Sci Fi, was the very last individual to sign up for the 2010 Beer Bloggers Conference. We actually received his registration at 5:22 PM on Thursday, November 4th – the night before the conference start – but since we had promised him a spot earlier in the week, we made room and let him in as the final attendee.
Luckily for Eric, he currently lives in Colorado Springs and so waiting until the last minute to decide was possible. And luckily for all of us, Eric has already used his acquired conference knowledge to start a brand new blog, Focus on the Beer. We caught up with Eric to ask him a few questions about his new blog.
I really like the new angle on local beer at Focus on the Beer and am curious – did this come out of an idea from the conference?
In a way it did come out of the conference. I’ve been struggling for about a year now with my older blog beerandscifi, trying to rethink my goals with it. When I moved to Colorado 3 months ago I could see that the area needed something that was a little more like Brewpublic. I’m friends with Angelo but after spending 3 days with him I was inspired, and then after being at the conference I was also really inspired. I’ve made 6 blog posts in one week on both blogs, I finally got the energy and “balls” to just start the thing, and I have ideas streaming into my head every day. The conference was a huge inspiration for me.
What are your plans in your effort to “focus” on the local beer scene?
As of right now I’m contacting all the local breweries, beer stores, and eventually even pubs that serve craft beer. I want to get their updates and press releases in advance so that I don’t have to check their websites, twitter, and facebook pages all the time. I’m hoping to be able to congregate all the local beer news into one place and really build an interest in the beer scene in this region. I also plan to do interviews, review the seasonal and special beers at the breweries, and even feature some local beer drinkers, both in interviews and as guest writers.
What do you do for a living and why are you currently in Colorado Springs?
I moved to Colorado Springs for a teaching job at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. I’m teaching entry level art classes, as well as a few other classes like “Art and Social Practice” where I concentrate on how contemporary artists think about community and engage the public, or how artists use food and drink as their artwork. I’m also a professional artist and as I alluded to, my work looks at how beer is a type of social lubricant and social glue. I did a project recently in Portland where I had brewers from three local breweries receive tours of the art museum, they each selected an artwork, I provided them with a bunch of research on the piece they chose, and they each brewed new beers inspired by the artwork they chose. That beer was served for free to museum guests. Also recently I did a project in Glasgow, Scotland where I worked with 15 homebrewers to create an event series called Pub School and I built a temporary pub that served 27 homebrewed beers to the public for free.
Are you planning to move back to Portland and what happens to the Focus blog when you do?
I’m giving Colorado Springs a few years at least. I absolutely love Portland, but I’ll likely be able to travel back there 3-4 times a year for family and various projects that I work on, so it satisfies my cravings a little. I always bring an extra bag so I can load up as much beer as possible. But for the Focus on the Beer blog I haven’t thought that far in advance yet; it would certainly be nice if someone took over, or if there are more blogs that pop up in the area, it may no longer be needed. We’ll see.