Hello! My name is Benjamin de Hoog and I am the bar manager at Tamarack Taproom. I have worked with alcohol for about five years and hold several certifications, including Certified Sommelier (for wine), Certified Specialist of Spirits (through the Society of Wine Educators) and Certified Beer Server (Cicerone program). What I enjoy the most about beverages is learning about the incredible variety of flavors, and which processes are required to achieve these results.
When I was 16 years old I worked at a coffee shop where I learned about single origin coffee. What was most interesting to me is that each country or region seemed to have a distinct flavor profile. Some were earthier while others were almost fruity. To further complicate the situation, coffees can be processed lighter or darker, which changes the acidity. Some coffees are more suited to a darker roast than others.
While I was living in Lawrence, Kansas, desperately trying to find a job, I landed a position at the new liquor store, which also happened to be the biggest in the city. I started stocking their 500+ beer mix and match selection and through this was exposed to the vast variety of breweries and styles that exist. Eventually, I tasted through the majority of the offerings and started to pick up on individual flavors.
I worked my way up to cashier, then customer service assistant and eventually wine buyer and manager. As soon as the laws were changed in Kansas to allow for sampling, I started to host weekly tasting events at the store that really honed my palate.
This past fall (2014) I ventured to the tiny village of Champcol, outside of Selles-Sur-Chere, and made wine with a third generation vintner. I was able to visit every major wine region, and over 100 vineyards in all throughout the entire country, taking in the history, geography, and culture.
For me, learning about the products I enjoy is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Please come and join us at Tamarack Taproom, where we are delighted to share with you some incredible craft beer, wines, and whiskies.