What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am overseeing and brewing at both our production brewery and brewpub [Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery in Athens, Ohio.]. Most of my time is spent at the production facility, but a portion of each week is spent with the brewpub brewing team. As we continue to expand and grow, I am spending more time handling logistics and less time on the brewing platform. I started working at a brewpub here in Athens called O’Hooley’s when I was in college in 2004. I was primarily a door guy/bar back and had a happy hour shift or two. I started to homebrew around this period as well. In late 2005, the brewpub switched ownership. I was finishing my Creative Writing degree at Ohio University and the new owner asked if I would be interested in staying and brewing. I never looked back.
What’s new at Jackie O’s?
We are getting ready to add about 8,000 square feet to our production facility. This will allow us to increase our fermentation space and barrel aging, and will also feature a lab, bakery, and dedicated sour room. We are hoping to be putting wort into the new fermenters in March. Nothing has changed at the brewpub in quite some time, but we did just add a few brite tanks dedicated to secondary souring/Brett ferments. Most of our efforts are focused toward the production facility and the incoming buildout.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Getting to know everyone, from the owners/employees of bars and retail accounts, to suppliers, to fabricators, and of course other brewers. Everyone is so excited right now and that energy is so rewarding to experience and contribute to!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I cook a lot, listen to records, and hang out with my dogs.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
I recently had mulligatawny soup paired with a single hop Chinook DIPA. It was fantastic how the curry, fresh apple, and acid of the soup paired with the heavy handed Chinook character. The pine notes danced all over the spices, and the hints of melon and lemon tied it all together. I was very surprised!
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
The past nine years of my life have been devoted to brewing. Things have happened outside of the brewery over the years, but the growth and recognition that Jackie O’s has received has been so humbling and something I take great pride in.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Bell’s Two Hearted are big ones for me. When I was in college, those two beers really got my attention and got me interested in brewing and beer history/culture.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
When I was 23, I went on a family vacation to Maine. We stopped at Portsmouth Brewing Co in Portsmouth, N.H. I was preparing to go to the Siebel Institute and was blown away by the beers there. Tod Mott was kind enough to take us on a tour and talk shop for an hour or so. I walked away from that brewpub visit knowing that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.