What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the brewmaster at Aslan Brewing Company [in Bellingham, Wash.]. I found myself in this position by working very hard with my three business partners to create our brewery. I tried to get a job working at many breweries all over the United States, but had no luck, partially because I had no experience other than homebrewing. It was always my dream to own my own brewery. Now I do, with three of my best friends.
What’s new at Aslan Brewing?
2015 was a huge year for us. In 2014 (our first year) we brewed 865 barrels. In 2015 we were on pace for 2,250 barrels. To do that we had our first cellar expansion in July 2015. We added two 45-barrel unitanks (we operate a 15-barrel two-vessel steam fired brewhouse). We immediately filled them up, so it was obvious that two was not enough. We bought two more 45-barrel tanks, installed them in November and then bought a canning line. We currently can our IPA, Batch 15. This month we are releasing our Pacific ale, Dawn Patrol, in cans as well. Keep an eye out for our distribution footprint to expand into Portland and Idaho over the next 12 months.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Getting paid to create your art. The icing on the cake is the camaraderie we all feel among each other. Besides making beer, my favorite part of what I do is getting together with fellow brewers to shoot the breeze or talk technical brewing.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Pizza and an exceptional session IPA.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
As a freshman in high school I played on a city league football team. It was the first time I had played football at that level, but at the end of the year I was selected to play on the all-star team.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
There is no single beer that stands out, but one of my favorite (drinking) things to do is hang out at the Short’s Brewing booth at GABF and try all of their interesting beers. Honestly there are way too many awesome beers out there to say I have a favorite. If I had to select one beer I’ve had recently that blew my mind, Bomb! by Prairie Artisan Ales was so good.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Just try to get out and enjoy the beautiful world we live in here. Camping, surfing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing, and kayaking can all be done in one day in Northwest Washington if desired.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I haven’t been on too many beercations outside of GABF so I’ve gotta go with Denver. Our Mutual Friend Brewing Co. was the one I was most impressed with.