What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
Currently I am a brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales [in St. Louis, Mo.]. It’s kind of hard to put a set title on ourselves, because currently, Phil [Wymore], our brewmaster and founder, and I are the only two fulltime employees in the brewery. This has some amazing advantages, as I have had the opportunity to have my hands in everything from brewing, to cellaring, to packaging, and working with our barrel program. My background in this industry started as an employee for a distributor, then as a manager of a craft beer bar, and now as an employee of Perennial. All the while, I was an avid homebrewer. I have been homebrewing for almost six years now and even have a couple of awards to show for it.
What’s new at Perennial?
Just about everything at our brewery is new and exciting—we just opened up this past fall! The most exciting part right now is that we are finally getting around to our barrel-aging program. In the past month, we have put several different beers in bourbon barrels, a 100-percent Brett beer in some Cab barrels, and we have a Flanders Red going for a Funk Fest that we put on here in our cellar.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Without a doubt, the people. Some of my best friends are people that my wife, Karen, and I have met through the beer community here in St. Louis. Even with the explosion of breweries and demand in our market, the people are always open and helpful, and we all feel as though we are on the same team. It’s really a unique community to be in right now.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
My wife and I really love to travel, although our traveling usually revolves around a place with breweries or a brewery that we’ve never been to before. We also spend a lot of time going out to eat. We really like going to new places and trying new foods. And I love running and biking when I get the chance.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Beer and cheese! No matter what mood you’re in, you can find a beer for that mood, and I guarantee that there is a perfect cheese pairing for that beer. Lately, we have been doing aged cheddar with nice hoppy beers (such as Sierra Nevada Celebration), and chevre with our fruit lambics and wilds.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Completing my first half marathon. I didn’t grow up a runner by any means; in fact, I hated running, but the amount of time, dedication, and training I had to put into a short two-hour half marathon was so gratifying when I finally finished the race.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
This time of the year, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Bend, Ore. For a town that really isn’t that large, they have somewhere around 10 breweries, amazing beers, and wonderful local support. It also helps that the town is absolutely beautiful!