What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the founding brewmaster at Worthy Brewing [in Bend, Ore.]. I worked for a large brewery on the East Coast in the early 90s, but my first craft brewing job was for a specialty distributor in Portland a decade later.
What’s new at Worthy?
We started brewing in December 2012 and are pleased to be on track to do more than 3,000 bbl in our first year. We installed a rotary head canning line this summer and will have our 12-ounce bottling line operational soon. We just got our 5-bbl pilot brewhouse up and running and that will be an exciting complement to our 4-vessel 30 bbl production brewhouse. We’ve got a 1/4 acre of hops planted onsite and I’m glad to report that our first year crop’s yield was better than expected.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I think the blend of artistry, science, business, and good ol’ fashioned blue collar labor is wonderful. It’s great to be able to gather inspiration all around you and see it through to a beer on a shelf or as a pint in someone’s hands. It’s cliché at this point, but we are all truly lucky to be part of such a collaborative and open business community. Folks in the craft beer community are some of the best people I know.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
We’re all busting our rears to make this thing happen so it’s truly great to spend quality time with the family. Bend is smack dab in the middle of so many awesome outdoor opportunities that I try and take advantage of as many of them as my current schedule permits—skiing, rafting, biking, hiking, fishing, camping etc. I think that’s a big reason why Bend is home to 15 + craft breweries.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Spicy Thai food and a dry hopped IPA. I love the balance of the heat of the food and the spicy character of hops. They complement each other so well that I’m kind of wondering why the “West Coast” style of IPA wasn’t born in East Asia.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I’m the proud parent of two girls who are wonderfully smart, talented, and creative. I don’t know where they get it from.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I make a point of searching out new-to-me-beer everywhere I go. This, I know, is another cliché for a modern American brewer, but I am a hophead and love IPAs. However, I always appreciate flavor and aroma much more than bitterness. To me, that’s where the beauty lies in this style. Somebody brought me a can of Heady Topper the other week and I thought that was pretty fantastic.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
It was early spring 2003 or 2004 when I was in Mittenwald, Germany, just on the northern foothills of the Alps. It had snowed like crazy the night we got there and it became evident that I would be stuck there for a few days before the roads were passable. Even though I spoke just enough German to get a liter of beer, I spent hours by myself bellying up with the natives at the bierkeller. The Mittenwalder Helles they served there couldn’t have been any better.