Share Your Passion: Terreux Cellarman Mike on Skateboarding
Growing up I always had a skateboard. My parents bought me my first one when I was about 5 years old. It was a Joe Cool Snoopy Knott’s Berry Farm old school style board. I remember riding up and down the block, back and forth, off the curb, and then eventually scraping a knee. Many scraped knees later, I found a new passion in my life, craft beer. As I delved deeper into this great new community, I tried to find ways to incorporate my first passion along with it. I found out I wasn’t alone trying to combine the two.
As a kid I used to watch my favorite movie which was Back to the Future. I remember that scene where Biff chases Marty out of the coffee shop and down the street. Marty then pulls a little boy off a scooter, breaks it in half, and creates the first skateboard ever in the year 1955. A few years later, the sequel came out when Marty goes 30-years into the future and the same scene is recreated with Biff’s grandson. Marty is chased yet again and pulls a little girl off of her Mattel hover scooter. Marty has just changed my life forever by gliding around downtown Hill Valley on bright pink hover board. I have asked for a hover board every year for Christmas since then. Considering we just started the year 2015, I am getting really excited for Christmas this year. After watching this iconic scene from my new favorite movie, I decided I would be a skateboarder forever.
Around middle school, my parents bought my first freestyle skateboard. It was a Birdhouse Falcon 3 board with destructo trucks and Abec 5 bearings. Many of the people outside of the skate community couldn’t tell you what any of that means, but to me this was a big deal. Many people outside of the craft beer community don’t understand what a bourbon barrel aged barleywine is either, so you now see why I was drawn in to both passions.
Throughout high school, I remember skating to my friend’s houses in the neighborhood and practicing our tricks in each other’s garages. We would “bomb” hills and the park and “Mario Cart” race. We would skate ledges, benches, and curbs everyplace we went. After school we would look for new spots to “Trade Paint”. None of us had a car to go any place so our boards were our means of transportation.
After high school and entering college, I needed a better way to get to class. At community college, parking is terrible. My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, bought me a sector 9 long board for my birthday one year. I would park where I could and just ride down the Mt. SAC hill all the way to class. I would weave and dodge rocks, parking blocks, other students. Every day I would try to find a new line to ride. As a long boarder, you strive to find that one perfect line that keeps you moving in a very fluid motion. You want to push off with your foot as little as possible and keep moving using your own momentum and angle of the asphalt.
After taking a class at Cal Poly Pomona called beer and culture, I found I had a new passion, which was craft beer. I was attending the Collins College at Cal Poly completing my hospitality degree. Originally I wanted to manage hotels and restaurants at hotels, but I found craft beer. I took classes to understand the process and how beer has affected culture and social aspects of humanity over its time period. One day, the professor arranged for a Q and A with a few guest speakers. I didn’t know it at the time, but some real rock stars of the craft beer community were present at this class session. Victor Novak of Taps Brewing in Brea, “Dr.” Bill Sysak of Stone Brewing co., and Tyler King of The Bruery. Just like Marty McFly riding that hover board, my life changed yet again.
These men were some the most humble and exciting people to talk to. The camaraderie between these guys was unreal. They didn’t view each other as competitors, but as “compatriots” as Greg Koch of Stone Brewing would put it. Who knew one could make a successful career out of making beer “full time”. Your job day in and day out is making beer? No one lines up for two and a half hours to try the newest burger coming out or a new pizza that a restaurant had just developed, but people line up around the corner just to sample a once a year brew. My life goal changed that day. I wanted to be a part of the craft beer community.
After visiting a few breweries in my local area, I noticed many of these small little micro-breweries located relatively close to each other. I found it difficult to drive to more than two breweries in a day. Drinking a few beers here and couple there and then driving in between is not a good idea, but what if you could park at the furthest one, have one beer, and then longboard a mile or two to the next one and the next one? I approached a buddy of mine with the idea of brewery skate tour. Our first inaugural “line” was Port Brewing/ The Lost Abbey. We noticed these two breweries are 3.2 miles from each other, but what we didn’t know was Stone was on a big steep hill. Climbing this hill wasn’t exactly fun, but riding back was one the best hills I have ever skated. We found that a three mile ride back to the car was a good break between beers, allowing us to head home safely. A new way to enjoy beer responsibly was created that day.
Skateboarding is in my blood as much as beer oils this machine of passion. June 21st or Go Skateboarding Day is a big deal to me. Many of my co-workers give me a hard time because I can’t recognize a Pink Floyd song from Nirvana or AC/DC. The rock stars in my life were Ronnie Creager, Eric Koston, and Tony Alva. Just the other day I was cleaning a fermenter and another rock star walked right through the door, Victor Novak. I get a little giddy inside knowing I’m a part of the same community striving for the same goals. It’s like we’re all skaters from different sponsors pushing each other to do the next best thing.
The first ring I gave my now wife was a skateboard wheel bearing with the inner ring punched out. It turned her finger green after a while so I had to get her a replacement. I still keep that ring close to me on my keys. If you see me around, ask me about it. I proposed to my wife in August of 2012 at Stone Brewing Gardens. It was right by the koi pond and mini waterfall and this time, with a real ring. When I was 24 I got a tattoo of skateboard on the wrist. Sometimes my watch covers it up, but if you want to see it, just ask. I remember this one quote that Paul Rodriguez said, not the comedian, actually it’s his son. He said, “I used to skate to get somewhere, but I never knew it would take me places.”
Growing up I always loved skateboarding. Just like in brewing, skate days don’t always go perfectly: you refine your craft, tweak your approach each time and hope for the best outcome. Control and balance is your main focus, your set up does not have to be top notch — it’s style and fluidity that counts most.
|Mike is one of our Bruery Terreux Cellarpersons, handling all sour packaging, stainless fermentation, barrel fermentation & aging. Get yourself some new grip tape boys and girls, it’s going to be a Wildy Traditional ride.|
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