What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the owner and CEO of the Wrecking Bar Brewpub [in Atlanta, Ga.]. I became a homebrewer in 1992 upon the suggestion of a former college classmate, and became friends with our brewmaster Chris Terenzi in the early 2000s. Chris had brewed professionally and when our brewpub concept became larger than initially planned, he came on board, mainly due to his similar philosophies and professional experience at U.S. Border Cantina.
What’s new at Wrecking Bar?
It is all new! We have lovingly restored a National Historic Register property in Atlanta with the brewing systems in a warehouse behind the main historic structure and pub in the Euro-centric basement.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The camaraderie. By and large, craft brewers are not pretentious, don’t keep everything secret, and in general are willing to help each other solve problems. I think most in the craft beer industry feel that we all have to stick together to make further inroads and market share versus the non-craft macro brands.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Traveling is a passion. I haven’t done as much, with the majority of my time being spent on getting the building renovated and the pub off the ground, but when we do it is usually for beer-related events! I also love cooking and doing anything outdoors, especially running.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Braising beef or pork in beer, like an amber-brown Belgian beer such as dubbel, strong dark or quad (think St. Bernardus pot roast!). Also, our brewmaster Chris recently introduced us to pairing stout with blue cheese. The Terrapin Moo-Hoo has a slight chocolate character from the addition of cocoa nibs and is the best pairing so far, usually with a strong blue such as Maytag or Roquefort.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I love Moylan’s Hopsickle, as IIPA is my favorite style. This one has an “enamel-eating” reaction on the teeth! Alesmith Speedway Stout is also a big favorite.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
San Diego is my favorite beer destination, hands down, and the Strong Ale Fest at Pizza Port in early December is my favorite event. There are so many great breweries and brewpubs in the San Diego area that local pub O’Brien’s had a flier at one time that claimed “If San Diego County was a country, it would have placed fourth in the World Beer Cup last year.” It is no joke. It takes over a week to see everything beer that the area has to offer.