We discovered Justin Klaassen, a product developer and father of two who lives in South Boston, when he started tagging us on Instagram, where he posts under the name @hoppybeerman. Always the posts would feature a beer next to some fruits or vegetables that he got in his Boston Organics box.
For example, he recently posted a photo a cloudy, yellow imperial IPA in a snifter next to a stalk of broccoli, a bunch of bok choy, and a zucchini.
We thought Justin’s posts were…interesting. So we emailed him to learn more. It turns out that all of his posts feature beers that he’s discovered and liked next to various objects – his kids’ latest artwork, a pint of strawberries, a toy truck, etc.
“Sometimes a beer’s name or profile makes me think of fresh fruit and vegetables,” he says. “And who better than to supply those than Boston Organics? Organic? Check. Fresh? Check. Local (at times)? Check.”
Justin and his wife have been Boston Organics customers for over three years. We asked him to tell us more about his Instagram profile and his favorite local beers.
Why did you start hoppybeerman?
I really like good IPAs and started using Untappd to check beers in. Then found that Instagram had a good population of beer lovers so I started @hoppybeerman. It allows me to trade stories and ratings as well as meet new friends and trade beer.
Wait, you can trade beer?
Yeah, the point of beer trading is usually to try different breweries that either have no distribution or only distribute to their part of the country or world. You may also trade with someone close who may not have the ability, chance or time to visit a brewery during a beer release.
How do you meet people to trade with?
You meet people through apps like Instagram or Untappd. We’ll meet in person at breweries or I’ll send people beer via delivery services.
How did you get into beer?
I had tried a few craft beers here and there but nothing I loved. Then came the hop forward (or dry hopped) IPAs and I started really liking IPAs. Nightshift and Trillium Brewery beers were my favorites. Local and good! I am big on supporting local business (excluding my Amazon habit).
Then I started trading beer and I really love IPAs – unfiltered ones the most. My favorite style is what they call New England style IPA.
What is a New England IPA? Why do you like it so much?
Some believe it’s not really an IPA style. But we like it! It’s basically an unfiltered IPA that has been excessively hopped. It’s smooth and juicy – less bitter than most IPAs. That’s why I like it.
What’s the advantage of not filtering it? Does that make it smoother?
No advantage per say but filtering takes all the natural goodness out. Keep the flavors!!! It’s smoother maybe. Definitely not as light and golden color, but the mouth-feel is soft. There’s more head (foam), which is key when you take that first sip. The nose plays a part in the tasting of the beer.
Why would skipping the filtering process disqualify it as an IPA?
It does not disqualify it. I have read that some think New England is not an IPA style where some do. That’s all opinions. But I will say if you look around most every brewer who brews IPAs has an unfiltered IPA that uses various names like East Coast IPA or Northeast IPA.
What are your favorite breweries?
My top favorite breweries are (in no particular order):
- OtherHalf Brewing (NY)
- Interboro (NY)
- Moonraker (CA)
- Alvarado Street Brewing (CA)
- Cellarmaker (CA)
- Trillium Brewing (MA)
- Parish Brewing (LA)
- And I can’t forget about Nightshift Brewing and Lamplighter (MA)
Do you ever brew your own?
I did once in 2000, using the Mr. Beer kit but have not since. Have I thought about it? Yes! I have also thought about investing, but have not. It’s a real craze right now and getting into the market may be tough. My friends and I always chat about it. You know....the what ifs. What if we did this? That? But for now I just enjoy really good IPAs.
What prompted you to join and what have you enjoyed most about our service?
We joined because we wanted fresh, organic produce as local as possible. We love the variety of produce and trying things we normally wouldn’t buy and the convenience of it being delivered to our home.
Do you like to cook? What’s an example of something you made recently that you’re proud of or excited about?
I do love to cook. No top chef here but I do enjoy cooking. My favorite is chicken thighs with fresh rosemary from Boston Organics. Onion powder, touch of sea salt and black pepper!
Got any beer suggestions for Valentine’s Day?