First Draft with Tim Dennis and Chad Polstra
The ATLbeer Reddit moderators talk about their online beer lives and moreMonday March 2, 2015 04:00 am EST
During the last year or so, Atlanta’s beer subreddit, ATLbeer, has become an invaluable forum for Georgia beer information, a place to ask brewers questions, and an occasional source of breaking news. And during that time, two local beer advocates have been working to make the subreddit just that. Tim Dennis, 43, a technical recruiter in Woodstock, and Chad Polstra, 30, web designer in Midtown, met on Reddit, and quickly learned that they also shared a love of beer. They’ve since become pals in real life as well, while tending to one of the Peach State’s finest repositories for beer news, event listings, and gossip. Creative Loafing sat down with them at Argosy in East Atlanta to talk about what happens when beer and the Internet collide.
Describe your first beer.
Chad Polstra: It was a really warm Coors Light that I found that had probably been sitting in our pantry upstairs for two years. I think I was 16 or so. It was me and another guy, and we had both never tried beer. We both took a drink and it was horrible. So I put it in my trash, and my stepdad found it the next day. He yelled at us and we got in all kinds of trouble. It turned me off beer for a while, I’ll say that.
Tim Dennis: Mine was a Budweiser. I had an uncle who was a passionate consumer of Budweiser beer. He lived in Norfolk, Va., and I grew up in Nebraska, so we’d go to visit for summers. We were going on a fishing trip, and he had these little shorty cans. We’d go out on the boat, him and my dad cracked a beer open, and I asked if I could have a sip. I was 8 years old at the time, and they gave me a can. The whole experience was great. I was one of the guys!
Have you guys been on Reddit for a long time?
CP: I’ve been on for about five years. I started moderating subreddits about four years ago. I took one from 10 subscribers to about 25,000. Most of the ones I did were band-related, and the reason I did it was because I thought the Reddit looked really basic. As a web designer, I’d be like, “Hey, I can make your Reddit page look really good.” And that would turn into moderating.
TD: I’ve been on there about three years. I got on it because it had a good homebrewing community. I was just getting into homebrewing, and the layout of that forum is great for new people. I remember going on there and asking, “What’s malt?” Starting at that point. I’ve been on ATLbeer for a couple years now ... When I got on there, we had like 600 subscribers. At press time, ATLbeer has 2,279 subscribers. We have 40,000 page views a month. And our uniques are four or five times greater than our subscribers, because you don’t have to subscribe to visit the subreddit.
It seems like the way people in Atlanta are getting their beer is evolving along with the actual breweries and scene. Is the ATLbeer subreddit the future of where Atlanta beer news is heading?
TD: We would like to think so. One thing we do every month is we have a featured brewer. This month it’s Red Hare. We just did Orpheus. We did Burnt Hickory, Red Brick, and Second Self. It’s getting to the point where breweries are reaching out to us to do this. People are noticing and realize the benefit of coming on there. As part of the featured brewery treatment, we set up an AMA Reddit’s Q&A session, the acronym stands for “Ask Me Anything” with as many people as we can, which gives them a chance to interact and for the public to ask questions. Then we set up a meet-up at the brewery, because we want to encourage people, if they haven’t been to a brewery, to go check it out.
What excites you most about Georgia’s beer scene?
TD: For me, it’s the social aspect. Most Saturdays, if there isn’t a brewery open house or a beer festival, I’m homebrewing. I’ll have two or three friends come over, and it’s a day to relax and enjoy it. It’s fun to share a beer that your friends haven’t had. It’s a social, friendly activity.
CP: I think, because it’s still kind of growing up, this is the fun time for craft beer. I think you should embrace what’s happening right now. It’s a movement, and it’s heading in the right direction, and everyone’s positive about it. Live it now and enjoy it. It’s an exciting time.
Suds on the Square
?When: Sat., March 28, 1-5 p.m.
?Where: Fayetteville’s Courthouse Square
?Fayetteville’s first-ever beer festival will only feature Georgia selections like Max Lager’s, Service, Three Taverns, Red Brick, JailHouse, and Second Self.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub Wood-Aged Wednesdays
?When: Every Wednesday
?Where: Wrecking Bar Brewpub
?Price: Depends how many wood-aged beers you drink
?Each week, this Little Five Points brewpub serves up a special small batch beer that’s been aged in a wood barrel.
5 Seasons Cask Night
?When: Every Thursday, 5:55-7:55 p.m.
?Where: 5 Seasons North and Westside
?Price: Depends how much cask ale you drink
?Each week, a different guest taps a different keg of “real cask ale.”