Editor’s Note: As promised the full, unedited interview with K&L’s Bryan Brick. He’s sarcastic, sardonic and loves his wine. A perfect combination.
What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?
I am the Redwood City Domestic Buyer as well as being K&L’s buyer for Spain, Argentina, Chile and the table wines of Portugal. I also am the liaison of doughnuts. I’ve worked for K&L for two years.
What did you do before you started working here?
I worked in other wine/spirits shops slinging bottles, lifting cases and getting paid for drinking on the job. The only other thing I’ve ever done for work was my 7+ year jaunt at Trader Joes’. That involved breaking down a lot of boxes. What can I say, I’ve lived a charmed life.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Wow. Why don’t you narrow it down a little? Eat, I do that a lot. You should try it some time. Drink, that typically turns out fun. Love my special lady, Kara. Hang out with my bros and she-bros. Work. I do a lot of that on my free time. It’s sick really. Something may be wrong with me.
What’s your favorite movie?
Impossible question. I like anything with Steve McQueen or Charles Bronson. The great ’70s ensemble movies like the Great Escape or the Dirty Dozen. Westerns. Oh, and I love horror movies, the campier the better. I’ll watch anything, seriously anything.
What was your “epiphany wine”—the bottle or glass that got you interested in wine? Is there a current wine that you consider the equivalent?
I didn’t have one. It was whiskey that really got me started in this business. I was a big fan that did his homework and got lucky enough to get his foot in the door. I realized when I started tasting a lot, just how incredible all wine was. Even the crappy ones, they made everything else taste great. The best thing I’ve had recently was the 1964 Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Gran Reserva Rioja. I had this at the winery in their incredible caves. It was almost better than bacon. In fact if I had it with bacon I may have died from sheer pleasure.
Describe your perfect meal (at a restaurant or prepared at home). What wine(s) would you pair with it?
Wow. I could fill this whole newsletter answering that question. It could be just having a BBQ in my backyard with my pals. Any bacon from the Bacon of the Month Club. It could be Bronx Pizza or El Zarape in San Diego. Hot Doug’s in Chicago. Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC. A Bakesale Betty fried chicken sandwich. Chorizo con Papas at J’s Hamburgers and such in Oakland. Hot doughnuts from Bob’s in SF. That maple bar laced with bacon from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland. Or Kara and I making something at home. Or all of those things at the same time. Then I die. Hey, what better way to go out?
How do you think your palate’s changed over the years?
It has drank more.
What do you like to drink?
Beer, whiskey, wine, bierschnapps, tequila—in that order. I don’t like crazy concoctions made with 30 ingredients that are fluorescent in color. I rather go for the base materials. Did I say beer?
What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?
Try a lot of different things. You’ll be surprised in what you find you enjoy. Find a local shop that you like and can relate to the people working there. You’ll get better recommendations that way, the people that work there will only try harder to make you happy with their suggestions.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?
These theoretical questions are lame. How about this, I’d have way more fun with Kara, Eric (my best friend and fellow employee), and whatever other friend happened to be hanging at the house that night. That would be a party. We’d drink whatever was handy. When it comes down to it really doesn’t matter that much. I’ve had just as much fun drinking Budweiser as I have drinking Grand Cru Burgundy. Drinking is not a contest, unless your shot-gunning beers.