What you may not know about her is that she’s a runner and an outdoor enthusiast, which offsets her job and love for beer. It’s a work-life balance that’s different than most people’s jobs.
“I have to set boundaries, prioritize my health and not let beer be the only hobby I have,” she says. “I try to balance beers drank with time at the gym or a hike with my dog.”
In this Q+A, Bernot talks about why she moved to Missoula, how she keeps up with the burgeoning craft beer scene, her 2017 resolutions and more.
Beer Runner: What are your beer running credentials?
Bernot: I was a bit hesitant to even accept your invite to do this Q+A since I’d only describe myself as an enthusiast runner, nothing very professional about it. But I enjoy running immensely and squeeze it in about four or five times a week. Oh, and I was on the middle school cross-country team, which is a very official credential. I think it’s important not to discourage new runners from taking up the hobby by making it seem elitist or unattainable: If you lace up your sneakers and go for a jog, you’re a runner. Don’t let people fitness-shame you! The beer half of the equation is easier to describe: I’m one of two beer editors at DRAFT Magazine and am a certified BJCP beer judge.
What is your role like as DRAFT’s beer editor? What’s a typical day look like?
I’ve recently moved from Arizona to Montana and am working remotely for DRAFT these days, so my day looks a bit different than it did when I was in the office. I wake up around 5:30, head to the gym for about an hour (it’s too cold and icy to run outside in Montana, no matter what gear I have) and then start my work day in my home office. I do a lot of phone reporting and email reporting, and I Gchat or conference call with my colleagues in the office so I’m not out of the loop. In the evenings, I try to explore Missoula’s breweries or pick up a six-pack of something new to me at the store. My role is to report and edit for both DRAFT’s print magazine and website, as well as a bit of web production work, so I spend most of my day on the phone, on my laptop and mucking around in our content management system. My dog, a black lab, keeps me company.
What’s your go-to beer after a workout?
I normally work out first thing in the morning on weekdays, so post-gym, I reach for coffee rather than beer. But if I go for an afternoon hike or snowshoe trek on the weekends, I like a pale ale or, if a brewery/bar has one on tap, a British mild to ease me into the drinking phase. I don’t crave anything too extreme or boozy right after exerting myself.
We have now reached more than 5,000 craft breweries in the country. How do you try to keep up with all the different types of beer that are being brewed?
I think keeping up with every beer would be impossible. But to stay on top of what’s new and what’s next, I call and email breweries, chat with brewers to see what they’re excited about (both their beers and other breweries’ beers) and read as widely as I can about beer, cider, spirits, wine and food. National festivals are also a great way to spot beer trends. One of the great things about beer is that people, both in and out of the industry, are usually great about sharing what they’ve tasted and loved. I always have an open ear when someone says, “Hey, I had an awesome beer you need to try!”
You wrote about the difficulty of balancing beer culture with being healthy. How do you do it?
It’s not easy. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do cook meatless a lot, which helps me focus on veggies and getting some vitamins into my body. And I don’t feel guilty for taking a night off drinking. If some beer geeks think that my choice to head back to my hotel at 11 p.m. during GABF week rather than raging at Falling Rock until closing time diminishes my beer cred, they’re mistaken. I’ve never reported an article between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. :)
You recently moved to Missoula, a mecca of the outdoor lifestyle. How would you describe the beer and active cultures?
The lifestyle balance was a huge draw. The crossover between the beer and outdoor scene here is great; Draughtworks Brewery offers a snowboard waxing and beer night; there’s a running and beer club and I constantly see flannel-clad folks scooping up crowlers to take with them on backpacking or river trips. I get the sense that beer is seen as a reward or a break after a busy day outdoors, rather than a commodity to be hoarded or ticked.
How do you think adding nutrition labels to beer, as you’ve written about, will impact consumption? Will it change anything?
Studies are mixed on whether calorie labeling has effects on consumer behavior. I think there is a population for whom the nutrition might matter, but I think a lot of beer drinkers, especially those who are always seeking out what’s new and exciting, just want to drink something tasty and flavorful. But it could be a wake-up call for some people who didn’t know that a 12-ounce glass of their favorite stout is basically the caloric equivalent of drinking a milkshake.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2017?
Now that I live in a cold state and actually have a basement, it’s time to get my beer cellar in order. After a cross-country move and an apartment in Arizona, that kind of fell by the wayside. Travel-wise, I’d like to visit Glacier National Park and coastal Maine.
Thanks Kate! You can follow her on Twitter at @KBernot.