Dr. Wort … Unmasked!

Most of Portland’s beer geeks have speculated at one time or another as to the real identity of the infamous beer blogger known as Dr. Wort. His vitriolic posts have inflamed more than a few writers and readers, and sometimes the line between online “troll” and blog author has been a little blurry with this character/author.

And while we appreciate his ability to avoid “sugar coating” issues, it is beer we’re talking about here, not Watergate secrets, and the pseudonym seems unnecessary. Honest reviews, while very much appreciated, shouldn’t start with dishonesty. Plenty of other bloggers are promoting honest reporting without hiding behind a nom de plume.

For that reason, we’ve decided to reveal Dr. Wort’s true identity. Is it our job? Nope, but neither is blogging.

Dr. Wort is Mike Winslow, a former California homebrewer who now resides in the Portland area. Fun fact: he won the old Guest on Tap column’s Steinbart’s gift certificate drawing (see first item under “Beer News”) a few years ago.

How’d we discover his identity? We first assembled a list of what we knew about him, based on his own posts and comments on other blogs:

  • Dr. Wort is a homebrewer (seen in a homebrewing-related Facebook status shown in his blog’s sidebar)
  • Dr. Wort is/has been a beer judge (which he’s not afraid to tell you)
  • Dr. Wort lived in San Francisco at one time
  • Dr. Wort is/was involved in the medical field (related post)

These facts provided some helpful background in doing a little Google detective work, but his own blog ultimately proved his downfall. Dr. Wort publishes a list of his favorite links in his sidebar (what, no link to BS Brewing, doc?), and one of the links is to the Homebrew Chef, aka Sean Paxton (thanks for using your real name, Sean!), someone who frequently comments on Dr. Wort’s posts. The Homebrew Chef’s link page provided us with our name (not the one we thought we’d find!):

Dr. Wort’s Buzz – Northwest Brew perspective from Mike Winslow

Seeing how the comments posted by the Homebrew Chef were pretty familiar-sounding, we felt confident the two writers were friends, and that the information could likely be trusted, but we dug a little deeper before revealing the name on Twitter late last night.

A few google searches for “Mike Winslow” and some beer terms like “BJCP” and simply “beer Portland” eventually revealed an e-mail address (which I won’t divulge for spam reasons – just outing the guy, not trying to fill his inbox with spam … ). There aren’t too many in Portland’s beer scene we haven’t corresponded with at one time or another, and a quick inbox search revealed a few August 2007 messages from the e-mail address in question, signed affectionately, “Dr. Wort,” or simply, “DW.” The event he was organizing (the reason we were corresponding) didn’t happen, but it provided the confirmation we needed.

What say you, Mike Winslow, alias Dr. Wort? We know you’ll keep up the straight reporting and no-holds-barred commentary, but now, you can proudly sign your real name to it.

20 thoughts on “Dr. Wort … Unmasked!”

  1. While I admire your sleuthing, consider that Mike might have a personal or professional reason to keep his full name off the blog. The internet has a long memory.

    I keep my last name off my own blog, which is kind of like Dr. Wort’s pseudonymy, except that I don’t revel in being an anti-social jerk (at least not 100% of the time). And also I enjoy meeting and socializing with other local beer fans.

  2. Bill, I struggled with the same issue, and am still conflicted on whether or not we (I, Dave Selden) should have named Dr. Wort. My decision was based on the fact that there is value in knowing a blogger’s identity when that blogger’s content and commentary strays from facts and opinion into insults and mud-slinging. I also feel that there’s a difference in the need for anonymity when your subject matter is beer and not, say … medicine, where breach of privacy could put someone’s livelihood at risk. Were this a topic that I felt put someone’s livelihood at risk, I might have acted differently. But again, this is beer blogging we’re talking about.

  3. Not really sure how I feel about this. Nobody forces me to read anything. If I don’t like it I won’t read it or navigate to the site.

    I will say that DW has been helpful and nice to me via email in helping me with homebrewing, which is why I tend to buy into the whole “persona” thing.

    But, it is your blog, post what you will and if I don’t like it, I won’t read it.



  4. Now that you know his name, can you do something about the font and layout of his blog. Almost as hard to look at as it is to read.

  5. I am just disappointed he wasn’t really Jeff Alworth…


    FWIW, I’ve known Doc Wort’s name for some time–he emailed under his actual name. I will neither confirm nor deny whether it was Mike Winslow. Cause, you know, I’m chicken.

  6. Bruce – If you use a RSS reader like iGoogle, you can read his entire posts in the preview and you don’t have to see the horrible font & colors on the black background. I too find it difficult to read.

  7. Awesome.

    I remember my first encounter with Doc Wort. The details are a little murky, but it involved some ugly comments about Rock Bottom beer and its brewer on the brewcrew list, followed by his immediate (unrequested) dismissal from said list.

    I realize how juvenile it is for me to be enjoying this so much, yet here I am!

  8. And with a bit more digging I found pictures!, but I agree with Bill, if he wants to remain anon then I will let him. I wouldn’t want people posting up my life either. I do now hope to get a chance to meet him over a beer or two, I have no bad feelings.

  9. I didn’t realize it was a secret still. Like Jeff, he and I emailed back and forth a few years ago when there were only like a half a dozen beer blogs (most were still aracnet-type pages), and while he was frank, he was very personable and helpful. However, that was all under his real name, not the pseudonym.

    Like Bruce mentioned, his page is so difficult to view that I’ve kind of lost touch with it. That and I’ve just sort of lost the time it takes to keep up with most of the brewing world.

  10. Well, you’re the first to go public with the news. Although if you google the two names together, you can find that DW outed himself before the persona became secretive.

  11. > it is beer we’re talking about
    > here, not Watergate secrets

    Uh huh. Right. So tell me again why the whistle-blowing is necessary?

  12. This just in….Apparently Mike Winslow turned thew blog over to someone else in early 2008. If you check posts from early that year, you will notice a slowdown, then a return with the new “tone”. This is all just jibber jabber over some pints, but it seems to come from a reliable source, who claims to have heard it from Mr. Winslow personnally…

  13. Dr Wort has been a group effort in accordance with Mr Stender’s comments. Mr Winslow no longer has any part of the writing or opinions of the Dr Wort blog. On a few occasions, he has been contacted for reference info. We feel we’ve taken on a harder tone than our predecessor which was our goal. We don’t believe Mr Winslow appreciates his name being associated with the blog he has relinquished into others hands. If he has been in contact, I’m sure he has spoke his position.

    Dr Wort Team

    Feel free to continue your hunt. Your chasing you’re own tail trying to find the Easter Bunny.


  14. Does this mean you guys chased your tail trying to figure out Doc Wort’s identity, only to find the wrong guy?! That’s funny!

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