What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the assistant brewer at Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub [in Salida, Colo.]. I worked at Moonlight Pizza for years before it became a brewpub. We used to sell a handful of craft beers in the restaurant, and there’s nothing like a tasty craft brew after a long, hot shift in a pizza kitchen. Since Scott [Bouldin] and I are both homebrewers, we talked and dreamed about opening a brewery for some time. One night, we decided to go forward with the idea. Six months later, the restaurant was transformed into our dream brewpub. That was a long, strenuous six months, but well worth it.
What’s new at Moonlight?
We started production in November last year. We are running an 8-bbl system, serving six beers and four craft sodas. Our current beers include IPA, Amber Ale, ESB, Cream Ale, Robust Porter, and Brown Ale. Some of these beers will be on tap consistently, while others may be rotated with other styles. We like to have fun with it, so some days we just brew up a completely new recipe. There is talk about doing some whiskey barrel aging in the near future.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
It’s blown me away how welcoming, friendly, and helpful the brewing community has been. Other brewers here in our small town, and from all around Colorado, gave us so much inspiration and motivation that helped make Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub what it is today. Without the community, I’d probably just be slingin’ pie, drinking craft brew, and wishing it was our beer. You all know who you are, thanks so much!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
When I get time to have some fun, you’ll likely find me on the river fly fishing. If I’m not doing that, I enjoy mountain biking and some whitewater rafting. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time homebrewing since we launched the brewpub, but I’m starting to get some tasty recipe ideas that I just might have to try at home.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
I love spicy food. My favorite pairing is our T-Guns pizza and IPA. The T-Guns comes with pepperoni, spinach, jalapenos, tomatoes, and cream cheese. The IPA and the jalapeño create a fiery, hoppy explosion in your mouth. The cream cheese then smooths it out. It’s a very rich pairing, but a great balance if you like it hot.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Living life to the fullest, and embarking on all the crazy adventures I’ve seen so far.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I’d have to say one of the best beers I have tasted lately is Black Sky Brewery’s Persephone Dark Pomegranate Wheat. I don’t usually go for fruit beers, but this is a great combo. Black Sky is an up and coming brewpub in Denver. I believe they are currently looking for building space.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
As far as getting out of Colorado, I’d have to say Otter Creek Brewery in Middlebury, Vt., and also Stone Brewing in San Diego.