Ben Slocum

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

I am a managing partner with Beards Brewery [in Petoskey, Mich.] and do everything from brewing to pubtending to building the brewery. I started as a homebrewer with my business partner, Peter Manthei. We couldn’t keep up with our friends’ demands, so we looked at opening our own place where we could brew on a slightly bigger scale.

What’s new at Beards?

We opened in August 2012, and with six months behind us and a lifetime ahead we’re constantly trying new recipes, scaling up equipment, and dialing in our pub space. We also just had our first barrel-aged beer hit our taps last month and have now attended our first microbrew festival.

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

The craft brewing community in Michigan is very open and welcoming with established breweries helping mentor us as we grow. There is a strong camaraderie and great beers to sample every time we stop at another brewery or when brewers stop in at Beards.

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

I don’t get much time away from work, but when I do I like to stay with my old career in motorsports, specifically rally and off-road racing where I co-drove for eight years.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

It’s hard to nail down a favorite pairing as I’m a true fat kid at heart, but dark chocolate with dark beer or slow roasted barbecue with a spicy IPA are hard to beat.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Competing as a co-driver throughout the U.S. and Canada, WRC Mexico, the Baja 500, and the Dakar Rally.

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

Short’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Wizard. The Wizard topped off with a full bourbon profile is magic on the tongue.

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

The most memorable location I’ve gotten to sip the local brew was the middle of the Atacama Desert outside of Copiapó, Chile during the 2012 Dakar Rally.

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