As you can see, I'm engaged in a number of different activites that all swirl around my fascination for all things related to the world of beer.

Since 1990 I have pursued just about every beer-related creative project that has come my way, including writing books and articles, developing and teaching classes, consulting in branding, packaging design, and new product development including recipe formulation. This site is your portal into all of those pursuits and much more.


“Tonic” refers to quinine, which is used today as an effective anti-malarial treatment. It’s tightly raspy bitterness is at the heart of this medicine-turned-beverage, and is the reason it works so well to cut the sweetness as used in the famous cocktail. Grocery store brands are pretty one-dimensional, and the specialty brands seem expensive enough to at least investigate a DIY version.

You don't have to look very far. Much of the food there remains fiercely local and always shows a particular point of view. These photos show a few interesting aspects of a recent trip to Oaxaca and Mexico City, and a separate beer trip to Puebla and Cholula.


We were fortunate to have a man named Edoarda Branca walk into our pub one day last spring and sample some beers. He's a fan of good craft beer in addition to being a enthusiast and North American representative of the family's famous products, and was impressed enough by what we're doing at Forbidden Root to start talking about a possible collaboration with us.

Photo: BJ Pichman

I recently completed a months-long project to create labels for a new series of beers featuring a variety of tropical fruits. Within the larger range of Cervejaria Colorado labels I began several years ago, we wanted these to hang together and make a little sub-line all their own.

I was delighted to receive an invitation to present at a workshop by the Mexican Slow Beer delegation at the recent Slow Food Salone del Gusto in Torino, Italy...

This is the Italian dish, most famous in Emilglia-Romana, featuring a whole pig, boned out and stuffed with its own meat and herbs, roasted and typically sliced into slivers and served as rustic sandwiches. Having done a variety of “fake” porchetta creations in the past, I thought it would be fun to try to the real deal for the recent Chicago Beer Society picnic’s “Other Meat” category.

These requests always pop up unexpectedly on email: “Would you consider coming and giving a talk at our beer event? We’ll pay your expenses.” I can’t always accept them, but I will if schedule, workload and other travel are favorably aligned. This particular email was from South Africa.

I presented at the recent AHA conference in Baltimore along with Cicerone's Pat Fahey, on behalf of the Brewers Association's Beer & Food Working Group, a small committee that is working on trying to put a scientific basis behind beer and food and how pairings work--or don't.

At the right is a link to a PDF of the worksheet we passed out.

5 Rabbit Cervecería was asked to participate in a 2016 Craft Beer Week collaboration with the Lakeview brewpub, DryHop Brewers. This would also include an art show, which I eventually understood to mean I had to come up with some actual art. While I've been doing beer labels and other commercial design work for decades, fine art is a little alien to me.

I was lucky enough to be invited to judge at the recent Slow Beer competition in Celaya, Mexico. The state is Guanajuato, recently declared to be the least gastronomically developed in Mexico, but despite that, there are some exciting bright spots. Celaya is the heart of Mexico’s dairy goat industry, famous for its cheese as well as cajeta, a creamy caramel made from goat’s milk. More on that later.

My friend Marcelo from Brazil was in town yesterday and brought me a couple of surprises: A small cask made from umburana wood, meant for aging cachaça, and a slab of a highly aromatic wood referred to in Brazil as "balsam" (Myroxolon balsamum). I couldn't be more excited.

Sometimes you find the most wonderful treasures in the most unlikely places, but after some contemplation, they not only seem to make sense, but may even seem inevitable. I often search on eBay for art items with beery subject matter, like magazine illustrations or old genre prints of people drinking beer. Guess what I found this time.

This is a blog post I wrote in 2009 for Storey's Author Blog. It's an appreciation of my Dad on Father's Day.