Name: Steven Grams
Occupation: Taste tester and teller of beer truths (not really but that sounds way more fun than my day job) How about husband and father!
Where were you born?: Manitowoc, WI aka the land of cheese and bratwurst
Where do you live?: Omaha, NE
I am a father of two that has spent my married life traveling to the world’s beer capitals and anywhere in between in search of good beer and good fun. I aim to support local beverage makers and bring some extra attention to these communities’ first craftsmen.
How would you describe your travel style?
We are family travelers. We pick spots that have a mix of fun things for kids and adults, and the adult themed stops we make need to be kid friendly as well.
What’s your earliest travel memory?
My earliest travel memory is shared by millions of Midwestern folks in my age range, trips to the lake during the summer. Bad bunks beds, swimming with fish in the weeds, no indoor plumbing and we loved it! Air conditioning and flushable toilets have made us all soft.
When researching travel destinations, how important are food/drink choices and experiences to your overall decision-making process?
We are heading out of town in a few weeks and our hotel is next to a brewery, so it plays a role. We have varied appetites in our family so we always want to make sure that where ever we travel we can find things for everyone.
Culinary traveler or food explorer? Which do you find more relatable?
Food Explorer. I have a general idea of the food in a region that we are traveling to, but I am up for anything anywhere. I will explore beyond the ordinary.
If we ask your best friends if you’re a foodie, what would they say?
I don’t think my friends would say I’m a foodie. I know they would say I’m a beer snob (something that I wholeheartedly disagree with).
What’s in your carry-on? Any essential food or kitchen tools you won’t leave home without?
Any essential food or kitchen tools you won’t leave home with out? My carry-on now consists of my headphones and games/crayons to help keep my kids entertained. Food items are limited to fruit snacks and Cheerios.
What’s the most unusual food you’ve eaten?
As I said above I am no foodie. I have no idea what makes a fancy restaurant that serves sticks and berries sought after. It’s not my thing. So when I had tartare for this 1st time in Switzerland I put it at the top of unusual for me.
If we handed you a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Prague, Czech Republic. I’d ride with the baggage to get back to that magical place. Seriously, if any airline needs someone to secure the hold, I am your man.
What’s the best culinary travel experience you’ve ever had?
Overall, anytime we’ve been in Italy (anywhere in Italy) the experience has been top notch. There are so many places in Rome that we have found around the corner and downstairs from the main drag that we like to call our own. Just my wife and I, a bottle of house vino, and someones grandma handcrafting our pasta…magnificent every time.
Any great travel tips to share?
Drink Local…Drink Local…Drink Local. You may think beer is just beer but I’m here to tell you that every region (hell every neighborhood in a city) has their own unique take on beer. You are doing yourself a disservice by drinking something not from the area (see that’s not beer snobby, it’s helpful)
Favorite Culinary Destination: Munich (I’m a meat and beer guy)
Favorite Cuisine: American BBQ (especially the smokiness from heaven that is Kansas City)
Favorite Restaurant: This is the hardest one of them all, but I will give it a shot. The Ratskeller Munich has an item that we have dubbed the “Mountain of Meat”. It’s like 9 different types of regional sausage all piled on themselves and potatoes. They serve litres of local Munich Local beer and heart attacks on plates. Yup that’s my favorite.
Favorite Street Food: Doner kebab (it’s always the right choice)
Favorite Food Market: Borough Market in London. All of the food I ate there was wonderful and they have a large stall dedicated to beer from around the world. There were some real rare finds to be had in there. La Boqueria in Barcelona was fantastic as well (loses points on the beer front)
Favorite Gourmet Shop: Any cheese shop in Wisconsin should be considered gourmet. When it comes to truly gourmet cheese though, Fromagination on the Capitol Square in Madison rivals any gourmet shop in the world (and I know because I live for cheese….praise Cheezus)
Favorite Winery: I have honestly never been to a winery…that’s really strange. I’ve been to wine regions, partied at wine festivals (the St Goar wine festival in Germany is fantastic), but have never been to a winery. Weird!
Favorite Brewery: My absolute favorite brewery to visit and take home is New Glarus Brewery in New Glarus, Wisconsin (cheeseheads really love their native land). If you’ve never heard of or had a Spotted Cow, make a pilgrimage to Wisconsin (the brewery only distributes in Wisconsin…Drink Indigenous) and head to the brewery as well.
Favorite Travel App: Honestly the only “travel” app I use religiously away from home is my weather app. We let a lot of things happen spontaneously, so we need quick at our fingers weather forecasts. Sorry travel app makers.
Twitter: @DadsBeerTravels and @DrinksGetaways
If you’d like to visit Steven’s favorite culinary destination, Munich, enjoy a stay at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel. The luxury at this hotel doesn’t stop at a comfortable pillow, it also offers an exclusive theater, cinema and even a nightclub for guests to enjoy. The crowning jewel of the hotel, however, is its 2 Michelin Star restaurant, Atelier.