What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the man behind the aesthetics at Rockmill Brewery in Lancaster, Ohio. It’s one of those friend-of-a-friend stories, where a friend-of-a-friend was rightfully dissatisfied with the design options that were thrown his way for his new brews. Having heard how good this beer was, I originally agreed to a “fair trade” of free beer for free graphic design.
What’s new at your brewery?
Everything. Our official grand opening was in September, so we’re still at the beginning of the trail. Rockmill is a small-production all-organic brewery whose beers are modeled after the brews of Wallonia, Belgium. Our four signature Belgian-style brews at the moment include the Witbier [organic wheat ale brewed with spices], Saison [organic farmhouse ale], Dubbel [organic abbey ale] and Tripel [organic golden ale].
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I’ve quickly realized that the craft brewing community seems to have no boundaries. Brewers are willing to go to entirely unknown places with their beers because they’re dealing with fans who want products that are fresh and new and even better than the last bottle they popped open. Creativity is key, which has been highly enjoyable for me, as a designer, as I also try to push those image boundaries.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Get away from my computer and get away from it all. The list is endless.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
A few years ago I was visiting a buddy who had a bunch of leftover root beer float supplies from a get-together. Somehow, the six-pack of beer in the fridge called my name at the exact same time as the leftover vanilla ice cream in the freezer. Before I knew it, they had both joined hands in a pint glass and I was dumbfounded by the union they had formed. I was in love. And, quite frankly, I thought I was genius. I soon realized that I wasn’t the first to stumble upon this new float. I also realized that many were disgusted by the thought of it. But I stand firm on the fact that a few scoops of quality artisan ice cream floating in a pint of craft brew is one of the best treats out there.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Attempting, despite often failing, to live day-by-day with integrity.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
PBR…but don’t tell anyone.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Living in the UK for a year, I learned to drink beer. From the pubs of London to the tucked-away pubs of the Scottish Highlands, my taste buds were quickly ruined and soon wanted nothing but good-quality, local brew.