Meet a Member: Courtney Iseman

Courtney Iseman poses with a beer glass in hand with her dog, Darby, who is wearing a red sweater

Where can people find you on social media?

@courtiseman on Twitter; @highwaytohops on Instagram

Where can people find your work?

Anywhere from HuffPost, Grub Street, Delish, and Vice, to Atlas Obscura, Craft Beer, PUNCH, and Insider. More regularly, I write for VinePair, have had a few dream pieces in Good Beer Hunting, and write the monthly beer column in metal mag Decibel’s print edition. I also write a free weekly craft beer culture newsletter, Hugging the Bar, at

What topics do you regularly cover?

Definitely anything that falls under the intersection of craft beer and culture or lifestyle. That can mean historical deep dives; initiatives for representation, inclusion, and equity; how creators like podcast hosts and Instagrammers are shaping the beer community; plus trends, consumer habits, brewer profiles, and a little bit of hop geekery.

What topics would you like to cover more in the future?

I’d really like to get to spend more time on the history side of things, finding parallels between contemporary trends or behaviors and those of centuries ago. And I’d always like to profile more underrepresented voices in different, niche corners of beer. Obviously we wouldn’t have beer without the brewers, but I’m also intrigued by the advocates, educators, illustrators, event coordinators, etc.

People should consider me an expert on ____ … because:

Probably the aforementioned “people making an impact in beer beyond brewing” category. Beer tourism, the progress of DEI initiatives and the people leading the way, and any offbeat Venn diagram crossovers like beer and art or—definitely—beer and metal.

What’s a favorite thing you’ve created in the last year?

This may seem like the easiest answer but it’s because it’s the absolute truth: really everything I’ve worked on for my newsletter. Launching your own project where it’s just you out there on your own is hard and vulnerable work, and honestly, it’s really easy to get distracted comparing yourself to others. But the individual responses and messages I’ve gotten from people especially when I get personal in the newsletter mean the world to me. Some standouts I’m particularly excited about: interviewing Ruvani De Silva and Beth Demmon for Hugging the Bar’s new podcast, getting to commission and pay a guest writer to start including other voices, and yeah, I’ll say it, the feature where I compared Real Housewives of New York to breweries, because where else could I ever write that?

What’s the last great thing you read or heard? (beer or not)

I’ll do both! Beer: I devoured Scott Janish’s book The New IPA recently. Not beer: Catherine Cohen’s Netflix comedy special “The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous.”

What’s a fun fact, hidden talent, or something you enjoy that has nothing to do with beer?

I was a child actor—I suppose whether or not I turned out okay in spite of this is up for debate? But I got to see the country, had a lot of wonderfully weird experiences, and I can still recite the entirety of “Chicago” for anyone diabolical enough to ask.

Who is a reporter/author/podcaster and publication/show that inspires you?

If I started naming journalists who inspired me, I’d never be able to stop. As far as an author, I both love the work of and want the career of William Knoedelseder, who’s written books on beer, stand-up, and music. And as far as a podcaster and her show: Hannah Kiem’s Brews with Broads, on which she interviews different women and non-binary individuals in beer.

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