What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
My current position is brewmaster [at Darwin’s on 4th Restaurant and Brewery in Sarasota, Fla.]. I am a one-man show here, brewing about 500 bbls a year. I got started in the craft beer industry working as a bar manager at Bully’s Restaurant in Columbia, Pa., where we boasted 180 bottles, the largest in the area at the time. From there I went to Siebel Institute for their International Diploma in Brewing Technology, which landed me a job working at Southern Tier. I moved down here to Florida last December to open up Darwin’s and have been here ever since.
What’s new at Darwin’s?
Because the brewpub has gone so well, we are opening a new facility next year which will be a full production brewery running a 15-bbl brewhouse with 10 fermenters and an automated canning line.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The best part of the craft beer community is being able to call it a community. There is no fighting or animosity between breweries, and everyone gets along with everyone else. Almost all of us do this for the passion of the beer and the growth of craft brewing across the world, not to put a quick dollar in our pockets and sell out your neighbor to get rid of competition.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
In the rare chance that I do actually have free time, it consists of kayaking and golf mostly, and the weekend barbecuing with friends.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Anyone who says they have a favorite pairing of food and beer hasn’t tried enough pairings. There is no perfect pairing; there is only good beer and good food together.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to brewing?
Finally deciding what to do with my life two years ago. It took until I was 25, but I haven’t looked back since.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I can give a top five. J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest, Dogfish Head Festina Peche, Lost Abbey Red Poppy, North Coast Old Rasputin, and Schneider Aventinus.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you had a chance to sample the local beer?
After beer school in Munich, I took eight days to go to the U.K. My time in Scotland was absolutely amazing—local beers, amazing food, going to Brewdog north of Aberdeen and meeting the guys there. A phenomenal trip the entire time.