Grant Hebel

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?  

I am head brewer at Keg Creek Brewing Company in Glenwood, Iowa. I initially began brewing as a homebrewer in the late 1990s. I quickly moved from the countertop to the garage and finally to all-grain brewing. I became fascinated with the science of brewing and specifically in what makes one beer different than the next. When I moved to Glenwood in 2007, I found that my neighbor was a homebrewer and we eventually started a club with the AHA. An online brewing technology course from Siebel and many learning experiences later, here we are. As a new professional brewer, I still enjoy the science of brewing, but now I am working on becoming more aware of the art that is brewing.

What’s new at Keg Creek?  

We just opened for business in September 2011. We brew on a 3-barrel system and stay very busy with three 3-barrel fermenters and one 6-barrel fermenter. We produce four regular beers and seasonal and specialty beers as well. Luckily we have had great community support from the Glenwood, Omaha, Council Bluffs, and Des Moines areas. We are currently serving a large percentage of our beer from our on-site taproom, but we are gaining tap accounts quickly. We have to be cautious to not oversell ourselves, a problem we figured would be three years down the road.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?

Being new to the community, at first I didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid that we would be outcast due to perceived competition or due to our small size. But I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the support we get from established breweries, craft beer establishments, private distributors, and from breweries even newer than Keg Creek. We were almost immediately welcomed to our state’s brewers guild. The best part of being a part of this community is simply feeling welcome.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?

I enjoy spending time with my family, wife, and two children. I also enjoy playing the acoustic and classical guitars. I still work part-time as a veterinarian and I recently became involved with acupuncture and herbal therapies. This has been very rewarding.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

I like any spicy foods paired with a good American IPA.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Being a good dad is top priority. Professionally, graduating from veterinary school and serving in the Army are tops.

What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?  

My favorites change constantly, but Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, Russian River Pliny the Elder, and good old Yuengling Traditional Lager come to mind.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?

A couple summers ago when we were in the planning stages for Keg Creek, I traveled to San Diego and found myself at Stone Brewing. Besides enjoying great food and participating in a detailed tour, I tried a number of their beers in three different visits. They were all good and memorable, but the most memorable was actually not a Stone beer. It was a Russian River Pliny the Elder on draft. I thought I was going to cry.

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