What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the co-owner/head brewer of the Laughing Sun Brewing Co. in Bismarck, N.D. I started in the craft brewing industry in 1996 as the assistant brewer at the Rattlesnake Creek Brewery and Grill, under head brewer Joel Anderson. I spent two years there, and left after graduating from college. I contract brewed for the next owners, showing them how to brew on the system.
What’s new at Laughing Sun?
Our whole brewery is relatively new. We opened on November 9, 2012. Since then we’ve had to add another 7-bbl bright tank to keep up with production, and we’ve officially crossed the 50-bbl/month production level on our 3.5-bbl Specific Mechanical System. Plans to increase fermenter space are in the works.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The craft brewing community is amazing and really exemplifies the word “community.” Everyone I’ve spoken with in the industry has offered their assistance, advice, and knowledge willingly and with a sense of duty. The industry is so diverse, yet we all come together for one another. AWESOME!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I like to get outdoors. Hunting, fishing, biking, kayaking, and hiking with my son are probably my favorite ways to spend my free time.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Feast Like a Sultan IPA paired with my IPA-infused cioppino. The grapefruit citrus flavors cut through the sweetness of the tomato-based sauce and complement the seafood in the dish to perfection.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
The biggest accomplishment of my life is being a father. I’ve been named to “40 under 40” business watch lists, and have been honored by my university as a Young Hawk Award winner, but nothing compares to the joy of spending time with Ayden, watching him grow up in front of my eyes.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. Amazing grapefruit-citrus flavor, and my introduction into the realm of Simcoe and Amarillo hops. Great balance for an 8-percent beer!
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Denver and San Diego. Options are limitless, and great beers are brewed within miles. My most memorable destination to craft a beer was Cross Ranch State Park, where I brewed a primitive steinbier with stones from a campfire. Experimental archaeology at its finest!