What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am called a Market Manager here at Summit Brewing Company [St. Paul, Minn.] which means I manage the sales and communication to our distributors in a geographical area of our home state, Minnesota. Since my title is easily confused for marketing, I also go by “Beer Baronesse” or “Beer Ambassador.”
What’s new at Summit Brewing Co.?
We’re installing a new keg filler as we speak. It will be more efficient than our former keg filler and we are excited about that. We also have a new beer style coming out in March. It will be an India Style Rye Ale. Each of our brewers is getting the opportunity to take lead on developing a beer style he’s dreamed of making. This one is being formulated by my pal Mikey, esteemed Summit brewer of 15 years and certified scuba instructor.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
That we can talk about flavor. That we have variety. That we are locally owned, locally made, and that we can be proud of ourselves for making a difference in the regional beer landscape.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I play with my black lab puppy, whose name is Porter, of course. I love to take road trips, kayaking excursions, and leisurely bike rides. After any given outdoorsy activity, there’s nothing better than some tasty beer, food, and a good nap.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
It’s a toss-up between Summit Oatmeal Stout and vanilla bean ice cream, or St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese from The Caves of Faribault cheesemakers with Summit Oktoberfest (or our other seasonals, depending on time of year.)
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Running a marathon sounds far too cliché, so I’ll say that finding the love of my life without the beer being the main factor. Well, OK technically I did meet him through my work, but we strike a great balance of compatibility aside from the beer, so there.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Oooh, that’s a very good question and one that is always difficult for me to answer. There are so many beers out there and my answer to this would vary depending on where in the world I am enjoying a pint at the time. If not at home in Minnesota, I might say that my answer to this question at this given time (not of all-time) would pay tribute to Cantillon Grand Cru, a Belgian lambic, though it may be nostalgia that steers me. It has been a long while since I’ve tasted a lot of the beers that got me interested in good beer in the first place.
What’s the most exotic travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
The best experience was being in Belgium during college and having exposure to their great beers…but I wouldn’t say that Belgium qualifies as exotic, since it is so well-known for beer. My most exotic travel destination where I sampled local beer (apart from certain garages and basements of various homebrewers) is a monastery in The Pyrenees. The monks at a monastery in the foothills of the mountains between France and Spain made their own beer, wine, and food. I don’t think a person could just go there to visit…I was permitted to stay there while studying abroad in France under the direction of a well-connected artist.