Meet Ryan McKillop, Sacramento resident, sales rep, beer lover, one-time competitive eater and, as of a week ago, beer-selfie legend in the making.
McKillop began posting beer-selfies on the popular Sacramento Beer Enthusiasts Facebook page in response to an impromptu contest there.
But it was soon apparent that this “contest” was no contest. McKillop turned it into a colossal mismatch. He was Pliny the Younger or Westvleteren 12 to everyone else’s skunky home brew.
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, he and pal Renee Cashmere conspired to create parodies of some very famous images, from the John Lennon and Yoko Ono Rolling Stone cover to the nude painting “Grand Odalisque,” with a Rubenesque McKillop showing plenty of skin (along with a very nice Tropic King Imperial Saison by Funkwerks).
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I managed to get hold of McKillop before he signed with an agent and started traveling with an entourage.
“There was this little contest. The prize was a sticker, but I didn’t care too much about the sticker. I just like to win,” McKillop said.
With Cashmere’s help, they came up with several ideas and began shooting. Some of the shots, like René Magritte’s “The Son of Man,” meant getting dressed up. Others called for McKillop to go au naturel.
“I was hesitant and a little shy at first,” he said. “Some of them were fun, but for others I was completely nude. I’m a big guy. Nobody wants to see that.”
He took nine selfies, seven of which were imitations of famous pieces. His exploits didn’t escape the scrutiny of those who live nearby.
“The neighbors were wondering what I was doing with a bunch of laundry taking pictures and wearing just some tiny underwear,” he said.
McKillop is 29 and never touched alcohol until he was 21. He hated beer at first, but he learned to appreciate the broad spectrum of styles and flavors. He started with IPAs and became obsessed with sours. His favorite beer bar is Der Biergarten in midtown.
Since he already has nine selfies to his credit, it stands to reason that folks are clamoring for a Ryan McKillop beer-selfie calendar. That’s what he’s working on.
If we may be so bold, we’d like to make a couple of suggestions: Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” starring McKillop reaching for a Heady Topper; and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” with the selfie wunderkind posing with a Michelob Ultra.
Kids in the taproom
Did you ever think there’d come a time when we’d be talking about well-behaved parents enjoying a fine craft beer while their hooligan kids ran amok and made everyone miserable?
The blowback about kids is very real and, frankly, it was easy to see this one coming. Parents with kids want to partake in the very cool craft beer scene but don’t really want to hire a babysitter at 2 p.m. on a Saturday.
I’ve seen kids at nearly every brewery taproom I’ve visited and, for the most part, it works out splendidly. Kids can start to yell and run and create a commotion, but even well-meaning parents can lose their edge with the help of that 10 percent ABV of their favorite imperial stout.
In a March 20 post, the brewery wrote:
“We have received several complaints that we have too many children running amuck (sic) and creating chaos at both taprooms. The majority of our patrons supervise their children, which we really appreciate. We want to remind everyone to please keep your kids with you while at Track 7. We want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves and be comfortable.”
It generated 108 comments and a good bit of tension. The issue is not children. Well-behaved kids at breweries – dogs, too – are part of the laid-back, neighborly vibe.
Here are three suggestions:
1. Parents, make your brewery visit a short one. Two beers or so is plenty. It’s not fair – and not much fun for the kids – to keep them there for more than an hour. Set the timer on your smartphone and move on before the youngsters go stir crazy.
2. Give them meaningful activities and supervise their behavior. They don’t have to be angels, but if they start running and shouting and throwing things, it’s time to step in.
3. Parents and non-parents alike can set a good example. Responsible drinking and supporting local businesses are good things for kids to see. Be aware when kids are around and monitor your language accordingly.
Easter game for adults
And back to Sacramento Beer Enthusiasts we go for a great Easter idea, courtesy of Leticia Meraz Davidek – an adult Easter egg hunt that stars beer. This hunt would work especially well with a relatively large group of people with excellent taste in beer. Here are the rules.
1. Everyone brings a six-pack.
2. Number each bottle with a sticker, starting with 1.
3. Place a piece of paper in each plastic egg with a corresponding number.
4. Have a kid hide the eggs.
5. Let the hunt begin, with each person finding six eggs. Everyone winds up with six random beers. Trading is optional.