What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
Lori and I are the owners/brewers at Weasel Boy Brewing [in Zanesville, Ohio]. I started homebrewing in 1995 and in the early 2000s we started befriending and gaining practical knowledge of pub brewing from professional brewers in Columbus, Ohio. These guys really shared and taught us what was needed and what pitfalls to avoid. This would have been a lot harder without their valuable insight.
What’s new at Weasel Boy?
In September 2012 we opened our new pizza kitchen at the pub. We make our whole wheat beer-infused dough from scratch daily, source local produce and meats for toppings and salads, and prepare everything to order. It’s been a great addition to our beer. We also were honored with a gold medal at the 2012 GABF for our Anastasia Russian Imperial Stout, the second medal in two years for that beer! We’re still buzzing about that.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Getting to know a lot of people who make the great beer that we enjoy and forming sometimes lifelong relationships with them. From the time we entered the homebrew community and now extending into the craft brewing industry, people have always been the biggest benefit to us. Brewing beer usually overrides all of the other interests and backgrounds of the people we meet. You always seem to be able to talk about beer and find some common ground even if politics, religion, and personal beliefs differ.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
We enjoy travel and when we do travel we like to hike and bike. We don’t get to do it as much as we would like, but that’s how it is when you own a brewpub, isn’t it?
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Lori without hesitation says both beer and chocolate, and beer and cheese pairings. I love a great spicy dish, Cajun, Indian, Thai, etc., with a balanced American pale ale or a roasty stout.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Maintaining a great marriage for almost 24 years. We have been great partners in business and in life. We enjoy spending our time together and share a lot of the same interests outside of brewing. That’s a great accomplishment in our eyes.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I like most stouts and really gravitate toward the big-bodied and balanced foreign, oatmeal, and imperial styles. I like a lot of roast and chocolate in stouts and I don’t like them overly bitter. Bell’s Expedition is one that immediately comes to mind. Lori says hands down Bell’s Two Hearted and Three Floyds Alpha King. She’s a decidedly “bitter” woman.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Without a doubt, Northern India. When we traveled to India in 2004, we searched out an indigenous Nepali beverage in the Himalayan region of Sikkim in the shadow of Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain. It was millet-based and was spontaneously fermented moist with murcha, a mixture of yeasts, mold, and bacteria, for a number of days and then aged. You would then place the finished grain into a bamboo mug with a bamboo straw and pour boiling water over the mixture and allow it to steep for about 5 minutes. It was very bready and rich tasting, with a slight tartness and obviously not carbonated. It had a pretty fair alcoholic punch. As the vessel emptied you would then refill it with more hot water and repeat until the flavor and alcohol are spent. It is known as Tongba or Jaand. We enjoyed it a great deal.