Mark Janes has dedicated himself to learning all there is about the beer industry after joining Binny’s this year as a beer consultant in Bloomington. His motivation and experience are just part of why Binny’s is great.
What’s your brew?
Hard to pick. I certainly recommend the Boulevard Love Child #3 to any lover of sours, but I think I’ll choose the Speakeasy Tallulah Extra Pale Ale because of the style’s broader appeal. Four brews from Speakeasy came in two weeks ago and it’s brand new to our Binny’s line-up.
What do you love about it?
I’m always intrigued by the “extra pale ale” designation and have to try those breweries with that unofficial sub-style. Always makes me wonder, what’s so ‘extra’ special about this pale ale?
Tell us, what is “extra” special about this one?
As expected, it’s hoppier than most pale ales, less so than most IPA’s, and well balanced. Dry-hopped with Calypso and El Dorado, the nose of tropical fruit and a hint of sweetness meld well with the expected mild hop bite. At 5.6% ABV, it’s also more sessionable than most domestic pale ales.
Sounds delicious! So… How’d you get started with Binny’s?
I’m a native of Decatur IL, but haven’t lived there since 1987. I spent the past 15 years in New Orleans, where I entered the beer business world two years ago. Craft beers have been a passion and avocation for the past decade (triggered by two key events). So when my government consulting gig concluded, I decided to turn avocation into vocation. Just before coming to Binny’s, I handled all facets of craft and import beers for an independent bottle store in New Orleans. I moved to Bloomington in October to help open that Binny’s location. After 15 years of living in New Orleans, while the craft beer scene is growing, it’s still no Chicago and the available beers are completely different.
You made us curious! Which events sparked your interest?
One of those “key events” was my daughter’s entry into the craft beer business as a quality assurance technician in the lab at Goose Island. Three years ago she moved to New Belgium Brewing, where she is now Field Quality Assurance Manager for the Central Region and will soon relocate to Asheville, NC, where NBB is building their new brewery. I haven’t worked with her, but she and I have done some beer traveling and tasting together, and I have joined her for special events like Tour de Fat and Urban Assault bike rides, or Clips of Faith film fest road show.
Aww, like father, like daughter! What’s your go-to beer?
I really enjoy variety and I might be my own best ‘Craft Your Own 6-Pack’ customer. But, much of the time you’ll find me with a hoppy red rye in hand. The rest of the time, I’m sampling the growing assortment of beers we carry so I’m best prepared to consult with customers.
What’s the rarest beer you’ve ever tried?
I suppose the best answer would be the Westvleteren 12, since it was in such short supply and high demand when Binny’s was selected to sell the Westy in December. And we did sell out – in exactly 12 minutes! Perhaps the coolest and rarest, but not yet the best. Could be after it ages a few years.
What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
I love traveling, especially to attend beer or blues music festivals. As well as spending time with family, most of whom still reside in Illinois and were the impetus for my return.
Any special talents?
I was a musician and radio personality in my youth. I’m a pretty decent public speaker. But, perhaps the most surprising thing to people is when I mention my work as an extra in movies being filmed in New Orleans. I’m most visible in Django Unchained and Broken City. That was lots of fun!
Wow! What’s your favorite part about working in the beverage industry?
Other than helping customers find the right beers for their palate, it’s the ease of access that I personally have to some great brews.
Thanks for sharing your story, Mark! To keep up with Mark and his beer department in Bloomington, you can email him here.