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Friday, May 27th 2011

Who is Woody Chandler?
A Man. A Can. A Plan.

Brother Woody with the Order of Disorder

I first met Woody Chandler a few years ago at the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston. He was wearing the outfit above and posing for pictures with half drunken strangers. Little did I know that one day Woody and I would end up sharing a passion for canned craft beer. Woody would however take that passion to a level unmatched by other mortal men. He began what he called "The CANQuest™" and set out to drink and review as many different cans of beer as he possibly could. A quest that has gained him quite a bit of notoriety in the forums of several well known beer sites. If it has to do with something in cans, Woody is the man who would know the answer. 

Recently he gave me a call to tell me he was drinking his 500th different can of beer (it was Kenai River's Skilak Scottish Ale if you're interested)! I couldn't help but marvel at the accomplishment as it hadn't taken Woody all that long and obtaining that many different cans is certainly a challenge. I wanted to know more about The CANQuest™ and the persona of the man behind it. I hit Woody up with some questions to which he was nice enough to respond. Enjoy! Oh, and if you see Woody at a beer event be sure to say hi!

(CC) Please give us a little background about yourself?

(WC) I grew up in Lancaster, PA as an underage beer drinker, joined the navy, discovered good or better beer, retired after 15.5 years of active duty service, attended Pitt where I turned classmates onto better beer, returned to Lancaster, became a high school English teacher at my alma mater ("Welcome Back, Woody"), bought a house, and continue to write, talk about and drink quality beer.

(CC) Briefly tell us about your CANQuest. When did it all begin and why?

(WC) The CANQuest™ grew out of a drunken late-nite rant about the BeerAdvocate Home Page being filled with Wants for Whales/Wales when I was hoping for some interesting reading. I postulated what would happen if somebody took up a quest for beers that nobody wanted or cared about and some jagov called me out on it. I then thought about an unexplored area on BA and came up with CANned beers. I then made it my mission to try any and all beers in a CAN, thinking that ~ 100 would be the cutoff. How naive! It has become a running joke that turned serious when craft CANs became the next big trend.



Woody's 500th can of beer was Kenai River's Skilak Scottish Ale

(CC) How many different canned beers have you now had the chance to drink and review?

(WC) I just broke the UNBELIEVABLE # 500 mark and am currently on a CAN Hiatus to realign my bottle numbers.


(CC) What different ways do you acquire cans for the CANQuest?

(WC) I have a legion of fellow CANQuesters who are CANstantly on the lookout for new CANs of beer for me to review. I am also on the prowl for keg CANs, but they are harder and harder to find.


(CC) With more and more breweries taking up canning will the CANQuest ever come to an end? Is there even a final goal?

(WC) I CAN't imagine that it will end while I am still alive, upright, breathing and with a viable liver. The final goal is like reaching the end of the Internet.


"...The final goal is like reaching
the end of the Internet."


(CC) What are some memorable moments from The CANQuest™ thus far?

(WC) As the word about the madness (how refer to The CANQuest™) has spread, I have more and more people coming up to me to lay CANs on me. Boxes appear out of the blue. Sixpoint has mentioned sending me a sampler pack for review as soon as their CANs are ready.


(CC) What beer is slated to be the next to fall in The CANQuest™?

(WC) That would be telling! I scored a whole bunch recently at Pinocchio's in Media, PA and they may be next.


(CC) When you're not CANQuest-ing where can people find you?

(WC) In my classroom, at Iron Hill (Lancaster) or at home.


(CC) I've heard (and seen) some of your amazing costumes that you wear to different beer fests. What can you tell us about those?

(WC) I have really worked to hone my attire at fests and the standard is the brown (Franciscan) monk's robe that I have been wearing for about six or seven years now. It is heavy cloth and takes getting used to, but it was inspired by The Merry Monks & Maidens of Madison (WI), a non-profit fundraising organization that I joined during one of my first forays to The Great Taste of the Midwest. I joined their ranks as an out-of-town member and began wearing the robes to get used to a seven-hour stint in the blazing August heat for the next year. It has now become second skin and I wear it to most beer events. I also wear an apron, having been inspired by Jean-Louis Dits of Brasserie Vapeur de la Cochon, who wears an apron in honor of his late father, a butcher. I own a coveted Orval apron, but after it was signed (!) by Orval's head brewer, I retired it so that it would not get ruined. I now rotate through a stock of brewery/beer-related aprons. I also like to wear some headgear, ranging from foamy beer mugs to a pseudo-keg to a recent foam rubber beer bottle. I have yet to find a CAN hat.

My persona, BTW, is "Brother Woody with the Order of Disorder".


(CC) Where is your favorite place to sit, relax and have a beer?

(WC) Anywhere that features good beer and quality patrons. I hate to drink in a vacuum and I disdain crappy beer.


(CC) Cheers Woody! Best of luck with rest of The CANQuest™!

Posted by Russ