What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
My current position is head brewer [at Tallgrass Brewing Co. in Manhattan, Kansas.] I started out homebrewing, which completely inspired me to go bigger and better. I wanted to do something large scale. I started out at Island Brewing Company in Carpinteria, Calif. by jumping in head first as assistant brewer. I did anything from raking out the mash tun to sweeping the floors. After spending a year at Island, I moved on to Black Diamond Brewing Company in Northern California. During this time, I expanded my knowledge of brewing and packaging within the brewery. I also completed the International Diploma Program with the Siebel Institute. All of this is what prepared me for my current position with Tallgrass Brewing Company.
What’s new at Tallgrass?
We just released the very first Belgian Tripel in a can, Velvet Rooster, and are also working on some pretty solid test batches for new brews to come. On top of all this, we are finally tapping into the world of barrel aging.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Developing friendships with like-minded people in the industry. It’s incredible how so many others will reach out and help when it’s needed. It’s not like we’re competitors; we’re just a bunch of people making a career out of a hobby.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I like to spend time out on the water, hanging with friends, wakeboarding, wake-surfing. You name it!
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
It would definitely be something hoppy paired with something spicy, such as a double IPA with Indian or Mexican. The bolder the better!
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I’ve traveled all over the world, been in the beer industry for over five years, and I’m still ALIVE!
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
That’s a tough one! I think if I had to choose it would be Russian River Consecration.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I was able to spend time in Brussels, Belgium where I sampled Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze out of the barrel with the brewmaster, Armand. It was a very memorable experience.