What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the owner and master brewer at Urban Growler Brewing Co. in St. Paul, Minn. I’ve been a homebrewer since the 1990s. While on vacation in Minocqua, Wis., I saw a brewer hauling out spent grain and asked if he needed an assistant. I started brewing on a 7-bbl system. The brewery was 100-plus degrees, I was covered in yeast and grain, and I knew this was going to be my life. My partner, Jill Pavlak, and I moved to Davis, Calif. so I could complete the Master Brewers Program. When I returned to Minnesota, I did my apprenticeship with Summit Brewing. My partner and I immersed ourselves in the craft beer industry, finished our business plan, and opened Urban Growler in July 2014.
What’s new at Urban Growler?
We won Business of the Year for our local chamber in 2019; Business of the Year 2019 for the local LGBT chamber; favorite brewery from MN Women’s Press: and just took third at our local guild’s Brewers Cup Awards for our De-Lovely Porter.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
It’s such a unique industry. We are all connected for the greater good of the craft beer community. We are all competing for shelf space at liquor stores, but most breweries will help you out in a pinch without question. I also love the science behind brewing beer. I get very passionate about the whole process.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
A good burger and fries paired with maibock.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Graduating with my master’s in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Completing a 10.5-mile race with my best friend—we biked, canoed, and ran. It was brutal and memorable.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
Märzen from Sudwerk Brewing Co. in Davis, Calif. and Pseudo Sue from Toppling Goliath in Decorah, Iowa.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Play golf and pickleball. Spend time with my partner and her family playing cards and eating (they like to eat).
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
When I worked in the medical device industry, I traveled to Slovakia. I learned how to say beer in Slovak: pivo.