Meet Billy, also known as “shower beer Billy,” for those of you following him on Instagram. Billy has been with CT Beer Tours since day one and is a valuable member of our team. He is heavily involved with socializing around the CT beer scene and can often be found sitting in a bar stool chatting away at Kinsmen and Alvarium, Eli Cannons….oh who am I kidding; the guy is everywhere.
Q1. Billy, how did you get into craft beer?
Craft beer grew on me over time, but there’s two main things that remains consistent: the beer hooked me in and the people keep me coming back for more.
Coming out of college, I was completely over the 30-racks of Keystone Light and PBRs. I knew there was more out there so I decided to start exploring. I started out with the usual suspects found at the start of the craft beer boom: Dogfish 60 Minute, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Allagash White, etc.
The exploring never stopped for me. There’s always something new to try, so it’s never boring. Don’t like one beer? There’s a hundred different breweries and beer styles to try. There’s something for everyone and overall most people are just looking to kick back, sip and have a good time. I’ve met a bunch of cool people (brewers and patrons alike) by going to breweries and if that’s what this industry is about, then I’m here for the long haul.
Q2. What do you like best about being a beer tour guide in Connecticut?
Can I say all of it? What’s there not to love? I get to hang out with cool people, share some beers (and the occasional jello shot), and I can share my knowledge of craft beer that I’ve gained from my years of “research” (you know what I mean) with people that are interested. I get to make people laugh and forget about the real world for a bit, which is awesome.
Q3. What is one of your most memorable moments pertaining to being on a tour?
Oh man, we all don’t have enough time in the world to share everything, but I’ll give two quick stories: one as a driver and one as a guide.
The last tour I did was a last minute fill-in for a driver that couldn’t make the tour. I got everything together and got to the pick-up location. The guy that was the main contact came out, we introduced ourselves, and as I’m going over some rules, I hear from back by the house “IS THAT BILLY ERB?” Turns out the group headed on the tour for the day was a group of friends that I haven’t seen since high school. It was awesome to catch up with everyone in such a random way.
The other story if with me as a tour guide (and John as the driver). I had a group come on a public tour and we quickly became really good friends by the end of the tour. Since, they’ve been on 3 or 4 different tours and we all still talk to this day. Their first tour was I think about a year and a half ago? They’re gonna kill me that I don’t remember. lol
Q4. If you were to be stranded on a desert island and could only bring one beer, which would you choose?
Pilsners, and there is not even a close second option. I’m an IPA guy through and through, but pilsners are perfect desert island beers.
Q5. Connecticut Beer Tours has drivers and guides with an array of personalities – what do you offer a group of passengers that makes you unique and different?
Eh, I don’t like these questions so much because I hate talking about myself! I guess if I had to say something, I’m pretty good at taking what I know and turning it into something fun for everyone, even if they’re not beer drinkers. I try and get people to come out of their comfort zones by turning things into a game or cracking a sarcastic one liner.
I’m also always willing to help people branch out if they want to know more. We go to wineries and vineyards A LOT on CT Beer Tours, and as someone who knew close to nothing about wine, I’ve learned a lot from the trips I have been apart of.