What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am co-founder of Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, Ill. I developed an interest in specialty beer while living in France and traveling through Europe. When I got back, I started homebrewing with my brother Jim and it became a passion. Finally, with the help of family, we started Two Brothers Brewing Company in the fall of 1996.
What’s new at Two Brothers?
Over the last year, we’ve released 10 new beers, including three new year-round products: Citra United IPA, Love of Hops Hazy IPA, and Premium Lager. We also launched a new line of Vodka Sodas, developed new coffee products, and opened a spirits-influenced restaurant, the Two Brothers Barrel House in downtown Naperville. We have more in store for 2020, including a new addition to our 12-pack can lineup.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
It has definitely become more competitive in recent years, but it’s always been a fraternal business that’s willing to help each other out. Whether sharing recipes and ideas, collaborating on a beer together, or supporting each other at our events, craft beer has always been about being a supportive community.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
I’ve been working on perfecting my pizza crust at home for my new pizza oven, making the crust with our new Premium Lager. There is nothing better than a fresh homemade pie and a Premium Lager.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Raising two amazing kids. My son is an honors student at Arizona State University and spent his summer working with us at the brewery. My daughter is a junior in high school and big into music and theater. She was selected to sing at both Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House this year. There is nothing more rewarding to me than to see them follow their dreams.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
St. Feuillien Triple. It is so well constructed and always brings a smile to my face.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Travel. I lived all over the U.S. and in France when I was younger. Many years ago, we stopped giving our kids material gifts and started giving them life experiences by taking trips all over the world. Now it is something we look forward to every year.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
My first beer-focused trip to Belgium in 2004. The best experience was going to a fellow GABF judge’s house in Brugge. He took us to his private beer cellar, opened his arms wide and said, “What would you like to drink?” It was like Disneyland for beer lovers. He pulled out a 1973 Rodenbach Grand Cru and it was one of the best things I have ever tasted.