JOSH RUBIN GETS to drink beer for a living. And then he gets to tell thousands of people about it.
The Toronto Waldorf School graduate landed what many would consider to be a dream job as the beer columnist for the Toronto Star in 1994.
Rubin’s beer reviews appear every other Wednesday. When he can, he also writes occasional features about the more esoteric aspects of the beer world — yeast banks, hop farming, and the like.
“It’s always nice to turn your pleasure into a profession,” he says. Rubin’s been a beer fan for a long time — longer, he admits with a chuckle, than he’s legally been allowed.
But the first time he had too much was during a political convention he attended during his high school days.
“It was the first time I ever had a ‘little bit of a headache’ the next day,” he says with a smile.
Rubin’s current beer experience is impressive. He’s tried beer in West Africa,Turkey and throughout Europe (he says Belgian sour beers are the strangest he’s tried.) He gives a ballpark figure of the number of different beers he has tried at between 1500 to 2000.
Some of Rubin’s friends are jealous of not only his job as a beer writer but also because he copyedits sports pages at the Star.
“I’ve had friends from high school say,‘Sports and beer? You get paid for both of them? That’s not fair!’”Rubin says.
Although Rubin only started reporting in university—Waldorf’s small size meant no school newspaper — he still thinks it helped him in life, albeit in non-journalistic and “non-beer”ways.
He says the immense enthusiasm of his history teacher Gerhard Rudolph fostered his love for that subject (Rubin has a history degree from York.)
And, of course, there are those friends he mentioned who wish they, too, could work in the combined sports and beer field.
Rubin says his best friend to this day is a fellow Waldorf alumnus. Rubin strayed from the path his Waldorf classmates thought he would take.They voted him most likely to become prime minister. “Apparently, I talk a lot, and that’s a big qualification,” he says.