In an attempt to get to better know the person sitting next to you at the bar, we’ve started column entitled the ‘Barstool Diaries’. Randomly we will choose a regular that we see out often at bars and events, and our resident intern, Yotam Dror, will sit down with them for a beer and get to know them. The result will be what follows. Do you want to be featured in this column or have someone you think should be? E-mail Yotam at: Yotam@beerscenemag.com.
Meet Stephen Lyford 42 year old resident of Bellmawr, NJ
What he’s drinking: Great Divide Espresso Yeti
What do you do for a living?
I do “software configuration management.” My dad was a software engineer too, so I think that’s probably where I picked it up. I remember being a kid going to a Christmas party at work and they had punch cards. You’d literally punch holes in the cards and feed them into the computer and that programs the computer, like a player piano.
Do you come to Philly often?
I wasn’t much of a Philly person, and I definitely wasn’t a city person till five years ago. Thanks to the beer scene now I have more friends in the city, and since I work in PA, I literally drive through the city five days a week. I’ll drive home, stop off somewhere ‘oh they’re having what on tap?’ stop up there on the way home and have a couple pints.
When did you become involved in the beer scene?
Almost ten years ago, I started bumping into a friend at beer fests. This was back when beer fests were maybe $25 and maybe eight beer bars in the city. Now I can’t even keep up with the new breweries coming out. As more places opened I went to more bars, tried more beers, and met more people. The people were as awesome as the beer.
Steve moves on to a pint of Half Acre Daisy Cutter
Did you have this love for beer when you were younger?
I used to think it was disgusting when I was younger. I remember thinking when I was 21-22 that Coors Extra Gold was not too bad. I was your typical college drinker, doing Jager-bombs, cocktails and dollar bud light bottles.
How often do you come to Philly just for a beer?
2-4 times a week, depending on what’s going on. I love new places, there are certainly places I go back to over and over, but with the sheer amount of really good places to go, I’d feel like I was denying myself if I was a creature of habit at one or two places.
Any types of alcohol you enjoy besides beer?
I am an emerging bourbon and single malt whiskey drinker. If you appreciate any one alcohol you can learn to appreciate others. Just like beer, I discovered subtleties in the flavors and what styles I liked.
Do you have a preferred style of beer?
I am a hop slut. I love hops; give me an IPA, a double IPA, a triple IPA. Throw hops down my throat.
What are the downsides of this passion?
The downside is it can be expensive. Sometimes I go out wanting two beers and a snack, end up having five beers and a full entrée. There are some people; I don’t know how they do it. Also, good beer and good food equals a beer gut.