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Ultimate 6er | Miguel Rivas, The BeerTrekker

thebeertrekker
Avg. Reading Time: 6 min

Miguel Rivas is the international man of beerstery. In 2013, his photography hobby morphed while visiting the Trappist Abbeys in Belgium. Capturing the sights sparked an artistic outlet for the stay-at-home father of two. Photography is a passion for Rivas, so it was clear to combine his thirst for taking pictures with his love for beer. Since then, Rivas successfully branded himself as The BeerTrekker and passing the five-year mark, his project is strong and still growing.

thebeertrekker
Photo Credit: Miguel Rivas

We first met Rivas on a trip to NYC where he calls home. In his laid-back cool, he generously greeted us with a couple of Other Half Brewing cans from a recent release. (At the time, he must have known the coveted Other Half was something we could not get.) He paraded us around Brooklyn and we eagerly experienced the iconic city with a local perspective. While Rivas mentioned the neighborhood beer scene is “still pretty young compared to other more established markets,” historically it’s also filled with innovative and creative breweries. “In the last 5-6 years this new wave of breweries started to really take off. We are now over 40 breweries in NYC, and over 400 in NY State,” he shares.

The BeerTrekker travels the globe, showcasing exciting things happening in the beer world and his trademark is thriving. After immersion into the craft beer scene, Rivas was curious about creating beer. This led to several collaborations with breweries from Europe, Central America, and the U.S. One of his most exciting moments was the collaboration with Big aLICe and KCBC. “We brewed a smoked lager, inspired from my trip to Germany last summer. The beer is called Kings and Queens of Bavaria. The name came about a play on words. Big aLICe is in Queens, KCBC is in Brooklyn (which is in Kings county) and the beer was inspired by my trip to Germany–the Bavaria region,” Rivas states. “This year we registered the beer for the [International] Beer Cup in Costa Rica, and it took a gold medal in its category.” (Click HERE to see his preview of the event.)

Rivas reveals he isn’t a hop head and generally prefers older and more traditional styles. “I am a big Belgian beer fan… Saisons… Farmhouse. Lagers are also up there. I like beers that are simple to drink and well made.”    – Miguel Rivas, The BeerTrekker

Rivas is actively looking at new and creative ways to share his passion for great beer. “I have met some pretty amazing people during my journeys. I have a few ideas of things I want to do like a series of books, a YouTube channel, [and] create more awareness about social issues. Who knows, sky is the limit!”

Now, what does a beer expert’s palate prefer? Here’s the inside look at The BeerTrekker’s ‘Ultimate 6er’.

Magic Hat Blind Faith | The Gateway Beer

PD: What is your gateway beer that got you into craft beer?

BT: I did not know it was craft beer. I didn’t think in those terms back then, but it was 1995 and the beer was Magic Hat Blind Faith.

PD: Why was the beer important?

BT: Not sure it was important at the time. I had just moved back to the States (I grew up in Venezuela). I was living in Boston, and for the holidays I went to visit a cousin in Vermont. Her boyfriend at the time came back from school one afternoon and he brought a six-pack. He said, ‘This is from a new brewery that some guys that go to my school just opened, you should try it.’

PD: Can you describe the flavors that hooked you?

BT: Having grown in Venezuela and used to the only beer available there (think Budweiseresq). My palate was not ready for the explosion of flavors that was about to hit me. The beer was an English-style IPA, so it was a lot of hops followed by a good dose of malt. My mind was blown.

thebeertrekker
Photo Credit: Miguel Rivas

Jester King Le Petit Prince | Go-To Beer

PD: If you had to choose one beer that would always be in your fridge, which would it be?

BT: Hmmmmm, that is one tough question; so many amazing beers out there today. But for the sake of this interview, I will say Le Petit Prince from Jester King.

PD: Why is the beer important?

BT: Ever since I visited Jester King for the first time in 2014, I fell in love with the place. Not only because of the beers which have evolved since, but their whole ethos. From all the breweries I have visited around the world they are right up there among my favorites. The only way to understand this is to visit them.

PD: Why do you love it?

BT: It is the perfect beer, simple yet so much flavor. Easy drinking and I mean that in the literal sense; it’s only 2.9% ABV. And it pairs well with pretty much any food. This beer is just such a treat and so refreshing. It has that unmistakable Jester King flavor profile that I love so much.

the beertrekker
Photo Credit: Miguel Rivas

Mikkeller Baghaven Rubus of Rose | Recent Discovery Beer

PD: What is a new beer you have tried recently that either caught you off guard or really impressed you?

BT: Again, another tough question! But I will go with Rubus of Rose (blend 2) from Mikkeller Baghaven in Denmark.

PD: Why did it catch you off guard or impress you?

BT: I think that a lot of breweries are venturing into the barrel aging aspect of brewing, trying to make wild ales, but don’t have the techniques or experience enough yet and put out beers that are not ready. This beer was the opposite of that. It is such a beautiful beer, so balanced, elegant, all the right notes and beautifully crafted.

PD: What is a description of the beer?

BT: The technical description: A wild ale aged on Danish Glen Ample raspberries. Blended in neutral and Chardonnay French oak barrels [with] about 400 grams of raspberry per liter.

The color of this beer is a precious ruby red hue. There is a strong berry aroma and subtle hints of wood and vanilla. It was like biting into a raspberry pie. The right amount of acidity and sweetness. It was just heavenly. I met the blender in Denmark last summer and he really knows what he is doing.

the beertrekker
Photo Credit: Gabor Pirsel (IG @gabor_pirsel)

Allagash White | Favorite Beer #1

PD: Tell us about a beer you really love or is special to you or The BeerTrekker story?

BT: Allagash White, to me, is the quintessential Witbier in the United States. Simple yet refreshing and so many flavors. I first visited Allagash in 2015 and since that day I was enamored with the place. [I] loved everything about their people [and] how close knitted that team is. They are one of the OGs in the industry and their work ethic is one of the reasons they are so respected everywhere.

PD: Why is the beer important?

BT: For me to be able to tell the stories about the people behind the industry, it must be more than just the beer. If the beer tastes good but the people making them are assholes, then that beer will not taste good to me. Therefore, there must be a story, a reason for what they do, something that I can connect with and be able to translate that with my pictures.

the beertrekker
Photo Credit: Miguel Rivas

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Mӓrzen | Favorite Beer #2

PD: Tell us about a beer you really love or is special to you or The BeerTrekker story?

BT: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. I have been a big fan of this beer for some years now, but it wasn’t until last summer when I visited Germany and traveled to Bamberg to try the beer from the source.

PD: Why is the beer important?

BT: I would not describe the beer so much as ‘important’; it was just a treat to be able to visit this beautiful region in Germany that it is so iconic and revered by beer lovers from around the world. There is so much history and it is so ingrained in the culture of the people from that region.

The trip alone from Munich to Bamberg is pretty majestic. Beautiful landscape and once you get into the town you can start to feel the rich history when you walk down the streets. The brewpub has been operating since the year 1405, producing their renowned smoked beers.

the beertrekker
Photo Credit: Miguel Rivas

Suarez Family Palatine Pils | Favorite Beer #3

PD: Tell us about a beer you really love or is special to you or The BeerTrekker story?

BT: Palatine from Suarez Family Brewery. An unfiltered classic German pilsener. No fuss; just a very easy to drink, refreshing and tasty beer.

PD: Why is the beer important

BT: I first met Dan Suarez and his wife Taylor in 2016 during a trip to the Hudson Valley documenting an episode for the Beer Sessions Radio show. During the recording of the show, Dan offered us some beers (which I have no idea where he made them since he did not have a brewery yet.) One of the beers was a Grisette, the other one was a Kriek. Both of them were amazing and from that moment I knew this guy had a gift to make amazing beers.

When he decided to open his brewery, the first beer he put out in the market was a Pilsner. It takes a big pair of testicles to do that in my opinion. These are some of the most difficult beers to make; you can not hide any flaws and just hop your way out of it like say, an IPA. Once I tried this beer I was immediately hooked, and I am always looking forward to trying it any chance I get.

the beertrekker
Photo Credit: Miguel Rivas

 

If you ever have the chance to grab a pint with Miguel Rivas, a.k.a. The Beertrekker, you will not regret time spent. Whether is his sharing with you his favorite places to grab a pint or stealing you away from your PorchDrinking friends during a GABF event–it’s going to be a hell of a time.

Cheers!

Chris & Sylvia are a #craftbeercouple who love everything beer! Check them out on Instagram @chrishollands & @sylily.

 


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