Mike Tessier Fast Forward Weekly beer writer owner of Artisan Ales

How long have you been writing for Fast Forward Weekly ?

Eleven years.

And you’ve been writing about beer that whole time?

I’ve occasionally written about whisky but it’s mostly been about beer.

What is Artisan Ales? Is that a liquor importer?

It’s an agency. I bring beers in from Quebec but that’s not really importing. Describe it how you want they haven’t separated yet.

When did you start Artisan Ales?

I started that in…. Actually our third-year anniversary is this Friday (May 18).

What was the beer you started Artisan with?

Dieu du Ciel was the first brewery we brought in. To this day it’s still my favourite brewery in the world.

What beers are you representing right now?

I represent 11 breweries. I currently have four on the ocean one from Quebec and we’re about to do business with two awesome breweries from the United States.

Can you say what those breweries are yet?

I don’t feel comfortable saying that yet. In the words of Joey Shithead from D.O.A. “talk minus action equals zero” and I live by that motto.

You have the CamRA Calgary Foothills Hospital Burn Unit fundraiser coming up what’s that all about?

I guess eight years ago I was a member of the hairy palm club and we had some money left over from the (CamRA — campaign for real ale) club that died and we decided to put it to good use. We pay for the tickets the glasses and 100 per cent of it goes to the burn unit. The biggest thing is it’s a sense of community and the beer community really loves the festival.

Did you say the hairy palms club?

Yes I have a skin graft where hair grows out of my palm.

So it’s not an actual club?

I’m just being a smartass.

How did you get your injury?

I had a bad day at the office.

That was as an electrician?

As a refrigeration mechanic. That’s what I did for 18 years.

So you do this festival every year to benefit the burn unit because they helped you?

It’s just trying to have the best beer festival. It’s just a nice day.

Who’s going to be supplying beer for the festival this year?

Alley Kat Brewster’s Artisan Ales 49th Parallel Big Rock Brew Brothers. It’s just nice that District rolls out the red carpet for us that day. We do it under their licence it’s all really casual it’s just a really easy afternoon. This year we moved it up from the Sled Island festival.

So when is it this year?

June 16th.

You’ve known regular Fast Forward Weekly illustrator Tom Bagley (Tomb) for a long time and like to have him illustrate your articles.

I’ve known him since we were 15 years old — I turned 50 this year so we’ve known each other for 35 years.

And he helped add some colour to your Artisan Ales website?

Yes. Love Mr. Bagley.

What’s the future for Artisan Ales? Are you trying to expand?

Um I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. It’s growing and I’m getting busier.

Find out more at artisan-ales.com .