LAST WEEK IN FRONT OF THE WOOD PILE, WE MET WITH LOCAL BREWER, OWEN MILLER. HE HAS A SENSE OF EASE AND CANDOR THAT WE DIG. WE FOUND OURSELVES TALKING ABOUT WHAT A RENAISSANCE PERSON WAS - ALONG WITH BREWING BEER, HE ROASTS HIS OWN BEANS, PROFICIENTLY BUILDS ANYTHING / EVERYTHING & PREFERS HIS CYCLE AS TRANSPORTATION. HE SHARED HIS NEW ENGLAND SENSIBILITY (NEW HAMPSHIRE) HIS LOVE OF PANCAKES, WINTER & TRYING NEW THINGS AND GENEROUSLY DONNED MUTINY GEAR FOR THIS INTERVIEW.
FAVORITE PLACE ... GO ... of all the places in the world, and there are many of them, I'd have to say my favorite place to visit is what I will always consider home, southwestern New Hampshire. There are countless other places I love to visit, but none carry such depth of happy memory and emotion. I can find anything I'm looking for there: beauty, comfort, fresh air, good hiking, great company, backroad driving, maple syrup, serenity, perspective... I enjoy exploring the world but I love being at home.
FAVORITE PLACE TO HANG ... GO ... two answers. I've had some incredible times just hanging out on the porch of my house here on Capitol Hill, in the company of my incredible housemates and other friends I've made during my short time here. I'm a true porch-sitter. My second answer would be at Four Barrel Café, in San Francisco, where I used to work. The music, the smell of coffee roasting, the diversity and style and attractiveness of the people, it's almost sensory overload. A lot of good conversation and contemplation can be done at both places.
FAVORITE MEAL? What IS my favorite meal. That implies one that I've had multiple times. Good question, again. My urge is to answer PANCAKES. Pancakes, pancakes. But that's not really a meal. This may sound unorthodox and maybe gross, but my mom used to make tofu that was battered in nutritional yeast and soy sauce and deep-fried, and I never once had the thought that maybe it was too weird to eat. I absolutely love it, in fact. That with zucchini pancakes and sweet corn and maybe a few fried eggs would be divine.
FAVORITE ROAD TRIP (OR ONE NOT YET TAKEN?) I still have not driven across the country. I've thought about many ways to do so but haven't yet had the opportunity or money or time. I've considered learning how to ride a motorcycle just for such a trip. Bicycling is still not out of the question. That would give me an excuse for eating and drinking more; I'm always looking for an excuse to put more food in my mouth.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO ... GO ... Music has always been a part of my identity, a part of my soul. I rarely have a mind free of music, internal or external. So, to answer your question, I've been listening to a few artists lately. Dr. Dog is one of them. I really don't know anything about the group, but they're one of those bands that grew on me since hearing them on the radio on those back roads of New Hampshire. Their music is playful and more complex than first meets the ear, which is why it took me some time to warm up to them. But they're fantastic song-writers and often poignant with their lyrics, and they possess the ability to express so much with such simple tools. I've revisited a couple solo pianists recently, as well. Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrouis an Ethiopian nun and composer that, again, I don't know much about but whose piano is so compelling and thoughtful and rich. Finally, one of my favorite albums of all time is one of traditional Scottish tunes played by a woman named Muriel Johnstone. My dad plays Irish fiddle and I think he was sent this album by Muriel herself, and for the life of me I can't find it anywhere online, except maybe her website, but it's a very personal album for me because I feel it mirrors and expresses what I understand to be my soul. It's very simple music but, again, simple and profound music speaks to me.
TALK ABOUT COFFEE ROASTING ... Coffee roasting, yes! Well, I had the incomprehensible fortune and honor to roast coffee for Four Barrel when I lived in San Francisco. I always have the desire, the urge, to get to the roots of whatever it is that I fancy at the moment, so being able to roast coffee for this outstanding company was such a pleasure, even though I decided it really wasn't the right work for me at the time. They have this 1950s-era cast-iron German roaster, a Probat, that Jeremy (the owner/founder) had found and refurbished, and I had to learn both the basic technical know-how and the skill of roasting coffee. It could definitely be called an art, at least the way it was done at Four Barrel. Like brewing, it's all about the "feel". Anyone can understand the science behind either craft, but understanding the feel of them is where the true skill comes in. Roasting on that beast was like surfing a wave, or skiing down a hill; you're trying to ride a wave as skillfully as possible. Roasting coffee is all about coddling it through its journey from green and raw and hard to brown and puffed and sweet. It's all about finding the coffee's own sweet spot as the sugars caramelize and develop. Now, I've put my metaphorical board in the shed and just throw some green coffee beans into a popcorn popper at home and let it do the work. It does the trick, but I miss that old machine.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WINTER? I'm looking forward to cool, crisp air. I'm also looking forward to brewing some dark beers at Bluejacket. I really love drinking dark beers in the wintertime, I feel like my five-year-old self drinking chamomile tea with milk and honey when I have an imperial stout. I'm also looking forward to visiting the sauna that sits beside a lake on a farm up the road from where I grew up. Family friends own the sauna and allow the community to partake on Sunday nights, provided you say hello and catch them up on your life. There's really nothing like sweating in a cedar shack, jumping into ice-cold pond water, then feeling the endorphins pulse through your brain while you sit stark-naked outside and admire the winter moon.
all wearables shoppable at MutinyDC.com all photography by Emma McAlary: emcalaryphotography.com emcalaryphotography.tumblr.com