Mike Cortez’ exhaustive journey on the Texas beer frontier finally culminates in his newest book: Beer Lover’s Texas. 248 pages of brewery profiles, brewpub trips, event information, recipes and regional food and beer pairings. We caught up with Mr. Cortez soon after his book was released to ask him his thoughts on the Texas beer scene and what beer he enjoys when he’s not traveling.
1. Beer Lover’s Texas is your new book, when was the moment you decided you wanted to explore beer further?
I started getting into homebrewing about 6yrs ago with some friends and that led me into trying new styles of beer as well as learning more about beer itself. I have always been a fan of trying new beers and I wanted to show my support for local breweries so I started Texas Beer Guide.
2. What inspired you to write a book?
Honestly, I never even thought of writing a book. A publisher found my website Texas Beer Guide and really enjoyed the work that I had done. They were looking to add Texas to the Beer Lover’s series of books and they approached me about being the author. They thought that since I had done half the legwork with Texas Beer Guide and they liked by style of writing that I would be the perfect fit to writing Beer Lover’s Texas book.
3. Do you have plans for other books in the future?
Not at the moment, that first book took a lot out of me. I had a blast but it is a lot of work and I am not sure if I could do it again. I can say that there can easily be a second edition since so many breweries have opened since I started the project last year. At the rate that the scene is going, by the time you finish the second edition there will be enough breweries for a third!
4. You grew up in Houston, but reside in Ausitn; do you see any differences in the beer drinking communities?
I do, Houston is a very welcoming and inviting community that is all about supporting the local scene. Not only the fans but the bars and restaurants have really started to change their business models to revolve around the increasing craft beer scene. In Austin, you can find a great beer anywhere including the old dive bars around town. I have noticed that some of the fans in Austin seems to be more on the pretentious side and are not very welcoming to newcomers to craft beer. We should be welcoming new people into trying new beers, not judging them.
5. What is your reaction to the beer growth in Texas? Too fast, too slow, etc.
I’m excited to see all the growth. This is a very exciting time to be a beer fan in Texas. Some people think it is moving too fast but to me I see this as a positive thing. Breweries are creating jobs and it is boosting the local economy. I will say, if you are going to start a brewery in Texas you will need to find a way to stand out. It is going to be hard to survive if you are just sticking to the typical browns, ambers and blonde beer styles. There is a lot more competition out there so the beer better be good.
6. What’s your go-to style of beer?
I’m kind of seasonal. I like to follow seasonal releases and tend to stick with an IPA in warmer weather then big stouts in the winter.
7. Are you a fan of beer trades?
I am, I think beer trading is a great way to meet other craft beer fans and try the beers from their region of the country. It is also a great chance to show off some of the great beers that are brewed in Texas
8. From your travels to different breweries with tasting rooms, what are some pro-tips you could give to them?
First, bring a designated driver. Second, make sure you’ve had something to eat before you begin. Third, try as many as the beers as you can starting with the lighter offerings and work your way up. Lastly, buy something to show your support.
Visit Texas Beer Guide online and purchase his book on Amazon.