What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I'm the co-founder and head brewer at Reuben's Brews (a microbrewery in Seattle). My journey into the craft brewing industry started in 2010 when my wife grace and I were lucky enough to pour our homebrew at a commercial beer festival. We poured more than 300 beers that night and won the People's Choice—it was an amazing experience! From there I brewed competitively and learned as much as I could, including attending an intensive UC Davis course. I was lucky enough to win a silver medal at last year’s National Homebrew Competition—my last homebrew competition. Reuben's Brews opened two months later in August 2012.
What’s new at Reuben’s Brews?
In the six months we've been open, we've brewed around 20 beers, won six medals at the 2012 World Beer Championships, and our beers are in a great place. In April, we're starting bottling and I'm excited to make our beers more accessible to people.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Being part of an industry that is here to make people happy is truly amazing. To have people thank you for your work, and to be able to thank them for supporting your brewery, is both extremely humbling and satisfying. And then to have the ability to craft something new every day, push the limits a little more, and create something unique—what could be a better job?
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Up until very recently, I was still working my old day job when I wasn't at the brewery! So that took most of my time. Grace and I named the brewery after our son Reuben, because I started brewing when he was born. When I'm not working, I enjoy spending my time with grace and Reuben.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
I recently poured our Roasted Rye PA (a chocolate rye IPA, our take on a winter warmer) at a charity chili cook off. The spice and heat of the chili was balanced by the malty roasted backbone of the roasted rye. The hop bitterness helped stand up to the chili spice, and the rye in the brew added some spice to the beer that complemented the chili. It paired together nicely.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Our son is truly amazing and a joy.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
That's tough! We have a lot of beers still to brew, so most of my favorite styles we will eventually get to. But as of today, we haven't brewed a dopplebock, and Ayinger Celebrator is definitely a top contender. We brew a number of rye beers but we haven't brewed a rye saison. Over the holidays last year, I had Upright Brewing's Six, which was really tasty.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
My favorite place so far is probably Brauhaus Bönnsch in Bonn, Germany. This small brewery brews an unfiltered Kölsch style beer, which is very tasty and sessionable. They also had their Märzen on tap when I was there, which was amazingly clean yet complex, and was easily my favorite example of that style I've ever had.