Jess Reiser

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

I’m co-founder and CEO [of Burial Beer Co. in Asheville, N.C.] I fell in love with craft beer and the brewing community while living in Seattle about five years ago. I started a beer blog with the other two owners of Burial. I was already writing about beer, taking notes, trying to keep a journal about my experience and I wanted to share it with others. I believe in not just the quality of the beer, but the overall experience of the beer drinker. There came a turning point where we realized that if we didn’t open a brewery, we would regret it for the rest of our lives. We had an incredible business model and decided to seize the opportunity.

What’s new at Burial Beer?

Right now we are brewing on a 1 bbl system and are owner-run. This stage in our brewery is our “experimental phase” where we are consistently brewing new recipes and perfecting older ones. We get feedback directly from the beer drinker. We just released our Grinder Coffee Saison. It’s a French saison infused with a unique strain and roast of Counter Culture Coffee post-fermentation. The color is golden and the coffee notes are wildly apparent. We are also releasing Spontaneity Wild Ale which is our first ever sour and is dry hopped with Amarillo. We are still on the hunt for a piece of property to build our full production farmhouse brewery just outside the city of Asheville, and we’re planning a new taproom as well.

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

The camaraderie between brewers and brewery owners as well as the connection we have made to people who frequent our taproom and support our passion. We constantly push collaborations with other brewers, because we think it brings out the best in each, and provides education. Beer truly does bring people together—I see it every day.

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

Being a mother of two young kids (a six-month-old and a two-and-a-half year old) as well as a small business owner, there isn’t much time. However, the time I do spend away from the brewery is generally with friends and family visiting other breweries or gathering together over a home cooked meal and quality beers. This summer we have grand plans to do a lot more camping and hiking. I’d also like to strap back up to my snowboard, once these boys let me!

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

A crisp saison with a meat, cheese, and pickled vegetable plate. They do it right, across the pond.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Having the guts to sell a condo (and taking a hefty loss) in a city I adored with people I love and move my family clear across the country (Seattle to Asheville) to start over…to begin the rest of our lives. Even when I miss the Pacific Northwest, I have no doubt that I made the right decision for myself, my family, and my brewery.

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

Fourplay from Upright Brewing in Portland, Ore.

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

No brainer: Belgium. All of it. I do have a special love for Antwerp and the renowned beer bar, Paters Vaetje.


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