Will Ryan is a ~drinksman~ based in Portland, Maine doing all the things at Blaze Brewing Co. He’s also the words behind one of my favorite newsletters, Wild Thoughts, where he shares some ~things~ he’s into that week. Make sure to throw him a subscribe and a follow. Whenever you hear me IRL say “oh one of my newsletter buddies,” he is one of the Day 1’s! Let’s get to know him!
Hello! Introduce yourself to my subbies!
You used to brew beer? Like you legit made it with your hands???
I was on the production side of things, meaning I created my own recipes, brewed, cleaned, and canned for about 4 years. It was an incredibly difficult, thankless, and dirty job. But it taught me a lot about myself and expanded my very small horizons about the world.
In my most recent job I finally was able to take off the boots and have a more sales/brand forward role. I now spend most of the day on my phone, computer, or freaking out in our cold storage selling the beer our fabulous brewer makes.
How did you get into the food/beverage space?
In college I noticed craft beer was becoming a thing, so I started following some of the local breweries in Edinburgh where I was studying abroad and fell in love with the collaborative and do-it-yourself nature. From there, I got a bartending job at a tasting room when I got back to the states, then went on to work for some of the best breweries in New England. I came back to Maine 3 years ago to brew, ended up running the brewery’s social, and now work at a different brewery as the sales and brand director full time.
Most underrated beverage and most overrated beverage?
Overrated: Aperol Spritz
Prosecco isn’t my thing, and dressing it up is even worse. Though a Campari soda, or even better, vermouth and soda, is one of the most perfect drinks. Try that next time you’re out at happy hour.
I know most people our age think of that as an old man beer, but it is the best beverage to drink when you have a lot of drinking to do. It’s lower ABV than you may expect, and the iconic nitro pour makes it so smooth.
Most underrated food and most overrated food?
Overrated: Stunt Food
I feel like the only food I hate seeing now is “stunt food”, shit like a burger that has fried mac and cheese for the patties that plays on a Facebook video. I am all for indulgence and general opulence, but how do you even eat that?
Underrated: Banh Mi
A humble banh mi is always satisfying and inexpensive. I would eat them every day if I could, and there are some great spots Vietnamese spots in Portland. Check out Banh Appetit or Vy Banh Mi Food Truck!
Favorite non-alcoholic beverage?
I drink Cucumber spindrift or purple gatorade zero on the daily. I do not drink caffeine or soda (and haven’t in 6 years) due to my crippling anxiety. I drink a lot (like...gallons…) of club soda and peppermint tea a week. My thirst is almost concerning.
I also have a huge affinity for celery juice. I drink it 3-4 days a week. That paired with a ginger shot is the ideal way to start my morning. Couple that with a long run it will rid you of any pain.
Outside of food & bev, how do you like to spend your time?
I run every day. I listen to a lot of podcasts like How Long Gone, The Ion Pack, Cumtown, and Garbage. Or I'll scroll on my phone and look at memes or photos of this family of pekingeses in England.
Tell us about your newsletter! What's it about?
Right now it’s all about what I have been drinking, cooking, eating, and buying. I am stoked to get out there a little more and travel. That should allow for more inspiration and possibly some longer form travel pieces about fun places to go!
I have always been someone who wants to travel by eating and drinking like a local. This always leads to discovering places and neighborhoods that may be more out there. It has never failed me and I love sharing that knowledge with people.
Why did you start your newsletter and what's something cool that's come out of it (besides having a new hobby)?
During the pandemic my job was very slow for a period of time, and I have always fashioned myself a person who has opinions about everything. I noticed during Covid people were hitting me up and asking me where I got clothes, where I buy beer/wine, and laugh reacting to some of the dumb shit I post. So I figured I would start this as a way to keep me busy and spread some knowledge.
I am a larger person, and all of the brands I include make clothing for larger people. I have had a few random people tell me how awesome it was someone was doing this for the big dogs. Which made me feel incredibly #blessed.
Any hopes/dreams/goals for your newsletter?
Honestly the dream is achieved. It’s been incredible to meet everyone like you, especially during a year when we were all on our phones anyways. At this point the rest is just a bonus!
Make sure to follow Will on Instagram at @willryanbrewz and subscribe to his newsletter Wild Thoughts for recs from a pro!