Brewers Association

Nick VanCourt

Nick VanCourt

What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?

I am part owner and brewmaster at Ore Dock Brewing Co. in Marquette, Mich. Like many brewers, it all started with homebrewing. Once that habit turned into an obsession, my first step was an internship at my favorite local brewery, The Great Dane in Madison, Wis. Then I earned a diploma from the World Brewing Academy. After brewing school, I worked as an assistant brewer, first at Milwaukee Brewing Company and then at Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills, Wis.

What’s new at Ore Dock?

We are currently expanding our fermentation area to accommodate two new double fermenters. We are pumped because these tanks will double our fermentation capacity, allowing us to finally get ahead of our great customers and get kegs out the door to some local pubs.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?

Probably knowing that where the community is now is just the tip of the iceberg. I love it when people come into the taproom and say they don't like beer. They always find something they like and say "this is not what I am used to beer tasting like!" As more and more people discover craft beer, it will just continue to get better and more diverse.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?

I really enjoy hitting the town with my wife Marina, cooking, gardening, trout fishing, and the occasional camping excursion. Oh, and drinking beer!

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

That is tough. I enjoy so many. We recently had a beer and cheese pairing in our taproom and the most amazing pairing was made with our Belgian wit and a fresh local chèvre.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

My former occupation was media production. As a senior and then a recent graduate from college, I co-produced, co-directed, and edited a documentary about the resurgence of gray wolves in Michigan. It aired statewide on public TV during the fall pledge drive and won a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Award.

What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?

Orval.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?

Florenville, Belgium, where the Orval abbey and brewery are located. The World Brewing Academy curriculum culminates with a brewing study tour that took us there. We were able to drink the “monk's beer,” which is the only product produced there other than the internationally distributed Orval. This beer is only available at the abbey and the adjacent cafe. We were able to enjoy this beer on draft with brewmaster Jean-Marie Rock after touring the brewery.

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