What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m head of brewing operations at The Mitten Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Mich. I started brewing when my dad bought me a kit for Christmas probably 12 or 13 years ago. I made a beer and it turned out horribly, so I dumped it and didn’t touch anything brewing-wise for about three years. Once I moved back to Grand Rapids, I was bored so I tried brewing again, and this time they were drinkable. A few years later, I started entering competitions, and winning! Eventually, I was confident enough to go to a brewery and ask to help brew, and Max and Chris were awesome enough to let me intern. I quit my job and came over full time.
What’s new at The Mitten Brewing Co.?
We just brewed our second batch of a chocolate imperial porter and it’s awesome. We’re also prepping to brew our first batch on our new 20-barrel production brewhouse, so that’s exciting and something we’ve all been waiting for.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Getting to know the customers and seeing their feedback and how much they love it. You can’t please everyone, but I try to listen as much as I can. Also, the brewing community, just knowing how everyone is there for each other. It’s competitive, but no one wants to see anyone else fail.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Honestly, I like to research new beers. Outside of beer, I like spending time with my animals, softball, tennis, frisbee, kayaking, rock climbing, and camping.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Burger and beer: burger and an IPA, burger and brown.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
The travels I did when I was 20 to 26. I’ve seen a lot of the world and even then I knew what I was doing was special: going to Africa, doing research with wolves, working in the Boundary Waters, going to Ireland, traveling across the country and climbing, staying in places two months at a time.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Flying Dog Double Dog, hands down. Also Founders Imperial Stout.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Drinking Guinness in a very small pub in Northern Ireland with traditional musicians. It was a pretty cool spot to have a beer, knowing the history with the bar, the people, and the beer.