I love wine. I started writing a column called "Grapevine" for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, way back when there were 30-some vintners in the state. Now there are more than 600, many of them world-class producers.
One of my greatest pleasures in being a restaurant critic was exploring the intriguing wines of the world, savoring the way wine made wonderful dishes taste even better. I once heard somebody describe wine as their favorite condiment. Couldn't agree more.
But my knowledge of beer is sadly lacking. I like my pints frosty and light. None of that hoppy, heavy stuff for me. Until, that is, I got a lesson from Bruce Ryan while working at Shultzy's, the wildly popular pub near the University of Washington.
Ryan is the resident beer guru, a recovering Microsoftie, who also happened to be from Memphis. He had been a longtime customer at Shultzy's, and when he moved back to the Northwest after teaching math in the Mid-South for a several years, he had so much fun hanging at the pub, owners Don and Susan Shultze put him to work. Don't worry. He's still having a blast.