What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am a co-owner and brewmaster at Baeltane Brewing [in Novato, Calif.] Previous to opening Baeltane with my partner, Cathy Portje, I was an accomplished homebrewer, having won many awards in amateur competition. During the 2011 San Francisco Beer Week, I was one of the select brewers featured in the “Breweries of Tomorrow” event that featured small, artisanal brewers who were either making the transition to going professional or were thinking about it. I attended the Siebel Brewing Institute in Chicago to further my education. I was fortunate to have entered Luminesce Tripel as part of the Pro-Am competition at the GABF with Christian Kazakoff of Iron Springs Pub and Brewery in 2011 as well.
What’s new at Baeltane?
We are at capacity with our small 3-bbl system after only six months in the books. As a first phase of our business, we are looking to install two 7-bbl fermenters and an additional brite tank to increase that capacity two-fold. We are in a delicate balance between our wholesale accounts and what is being sold retail across our bar in our humble little tasting room with 12 taps serving French- and Belgian-style ales along with our West Coast IPAs.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Not only the camaraderie of the other local brewers who want to help you out, but also the creation of a piece of art that can be consumed.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Relax in my garden with my cat, Rafaella, and cook.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Anything with everything.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Obtaining my USA Cycling Level 1 (elite) coaching certification. This was my previous career. I was also a personal trainer with a small studio.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Flanders oud bruin. We hope to find some time to make this special style in the near future.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Montreal. Where else can you find restaurants with beer lists given to you via large book/menu to go with 30 types of moule dishes!