What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am currently head brewer. And assistant brewer. And graphic designer. Oh, and part-time taproom beertender and dishwasher [at Fairhope Brewing Co. in Fairhope, Ala.] But mainly I’m just the brewer, a lucky guy who happened to be getting laid off from my previous career while at the same time signing on with some great business partners who saw the potential of a brewery in Lower Alabama—and in a brewer who had only made beer in his kitchen and driveway.
What’s new at Fairhope Brewing Co.?
We are about to celebrate one year of brewing beer in December. Our 10-barrel Portland Kettleworks brewhouse is pumping out beer as fast as I can make it, and our SABCO Brew Magic has started feeding two new taps in our taproom dedicated to experimental pilot batch brews.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I’ve never worked in an industry that is so open to collaboration and education. I don’t know how I would have started in a functioning brewery without the help of fellow Alabama breweries like Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale, but I do know that thanks to their willingness to let me work with them and learn the ropes, I’m a lot better off than I might be otherwise.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I love to seek out new and upcoming musicians along the Gulf Coast. We’re in a sort of breeding ground for great musicians, who often “graduate” to playing places in New Orleans, but always tend to have a soft spot in their hearts for the Mobile Bay area. My wife and I are also pretty active in the Couch Surfing community, and enjoy showing visitors what our amazing area has to offer.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Fried Gulf shrimp and Fairhope 51 Pale Ale.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
This is a tough question; less than one year into the brewery has my brain firmly fixated on beer. I’ve never run a marathon, but I did help create the beer culture in Lower Alabama long before I brewed my first batch of homebrew. I haven’t climbed any huge mountains, but I did manage to remake the local newspaper’s entertainment section, giving myself the beer column along the way. I had a birdie at disc golf once, but didn’t really feel all that accomplished; my buddy had an ace on the same hole.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Firestone Walker Parabola.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
We once drove through heavy snow on New Year’s Day to find Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, creating the perfect atmosphere to approach the bucolic brewery. We were the only visitors that day, and we were treated to a private tour and tasting. Well worth the snowy drive for a couple of Southerners.