What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am head brewer at O’Fallon Brewery in O’Fallon, Mo. I started my career in brewing fresh out of college with a degree in business. I had been homebrewing for a few years prior to starting at the brewery. Luck and timing is what got me the job. The owner of the brewery came into the liquor store that I was working at while in college to sell his beer. I introduced myself and told him I would like to visit the brewery. I showed up at 5 a.m. to check out a brew and the rest was history. They were looking for someone to grow with the brewery. That was eight years ago. I’ve since taken coursework at UC Davis and Siebel.
What’s new at your brewery?
There is always something new going on in a craft brewery, right? Currently we have a Belgian Dark Strong aging in port barrels and we are releasing a new seasonal in January called Black Hemp; it will be our first Belgian release from the brewery. There are always a few carboys going with something new in them that may or may not make the cut and it’s that “something new” that keeps us happy and creative as brewers.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I think the answer lies in the question, “community.” The craft beer community in my opinion is really a tight-knit group who work together to support each other and thus craft beer as a whole. It’s nice to work in an industry where people really care about what they do for a living and are so passionate about it. It makes coming to work fun. I don’t know of too many other industries where employees could say that.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I like to spend time with my family when I am not at the brewery. I also like to hit the tennis court when I have the chance.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Vosges Naga ice cream [curry, coconut custard] topped with pepitas paired with our Pumpkin Beer. Wow!
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
My Kids Ryely and Avery—they teach me something new every day!
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Bourbon County Stout. I’m a sucker for good bourbon, so of course bourbon barrel-aged beers are close to my heart and Goose Island’s has always been my favorite.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
McGuire’s Irish Pub and Brewery in Destin, Fla. We vacation there often with my family. For me there is nothing better than enjoying a fresh local beer on the open air deck overlooking the Gulf while enjoying the company of the ones you love most.