Who is Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø giving his book to this Christmas?
The brewer, beer expert and author reveals his 2018 highs and lows and who’ll be getting a great gift
There are few people we’d prefer to have a beer with than Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø. For one, the Danish-born, New York-based brewer, writer and Phaidon author has very clear ideas about what he does and doesn’t like about craft brewing, and doesn’t mind sharing his thoughts, either in print, or over a drink.
As he explains in the introduction to Where to Drink Beer, brewing doesn’t require great tracts of land – like wine – or high-end equipment and expertise – as with distilling spirits. “In other words, the barriers are low, and anyone can make a tremendous beer wherever or whoever they are. In that sense, it is a very democratic drink,” he writes.
What’s more, Jeppe knows exactly where to go for a good beer or two. Where to Drink Beer lists more than 1,600 of the finest places to blow the froth off a couple of cold ones, across the world; meanwhile, his 2016 book, Food & Beer, co-authored with chef Daniel Burns, details some great food and beer pairings you can recreate at home. Read on to discover what inspired him this year, what irritated him, and who he plans to give his Phaidon books to this Christmas.
What inspired you most this year? My brewer colleagues. As we all know the brewery scene has exploded in the last 3 or 4 years and a lot of new breweries have entered the arena. As an established brand you can either look at that and say, "I believe in what I do and will continue to do that or you can say, I want to learn from these new guys and how they do it." I have a lot of friends in the industry and working with some of these younger breweries really inspires me to push my own brand further.
What annoyed you most? Beer lines! The whole waiting-in-line for the same beer has become too much. Some breweries get huge lines, while others don't. It’s the old idea that if there is a line, it must be better so I better be in that line as well. I really wish people could relax a little more about their beer purchases and buy what they like in a more relaxed way.
What was your personal highlight? Finally getting our brewery in New York done (after two-and-a-half-years). We aren’t going to open to the public before next year but we can brew now and that was the most important hurdle. It’s been a very long and tough process, building something at this scale with no investors. My wife and I are paying for the whole thing and in New York that’s tough!
What can we expect from you in 2019? My main focus is Evil Twin Brewing New York City, our first physical brewery. The place will be one of a kind in terms of taproom experiences and we have a few surprises the craft beer world hasn't seen before and that we think people will love!
Who will you give your Phaidon book to for Christmas? I have two books now, Food & Beer and Where to Drink Beer and they are two very different books. Food & Beer I will give to some of my best chef friends who don't already have it, as I think we can still do more to get good beer into restaurants worldwide which was one of the ideas behind writing the book. Where to Drink Beer is pretty much for everyone that likes to enjoy a craft beer as it is worldwide and shows people the best or most unique experiences out there, so the book is for everyone!