Jeff Wiederkehr

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

I’m director of brewery operations and head brewer at Burning Beard Brewing [in San Diego, Calif.]. I got started in the craft brewing industry by stoking the fire of my entrepreneurial spirit with the idea of starting a business that married my love of homebrewing, experience in business management, and a desire to direct my own course toward something greater than myself (reflected in the Burning Beard Ethos and the Tenets of the Beard).

What’s new at Burning Beard?

Everything! We are only a year old. We do have the usual shiny stainless steel things, but our most important acquisition over the course of the last year is our Burning Beard team. Our staff and my partner Mike Maass are amazing people. Shannon, Brian, Torry, Alex, Nikki, and Katie are the team equivalent of hitting all of the numbers on a brew day’the miracle I planned for but never expected.

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

Experiencing all of the personalities in the industry. This industry is based on an art form and run by entrepreneurs. It is a breeding ground for eclectic and eccentric people who only become more so after a few beers. It’s like having a behind-the-scenes ticket to the Jim Rose Circus and it is awesome.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

Lamb shawarma and our Hopmata IPA. The Middle Eastern spices of the shawarma really brought out some of the more nuanced characters of the hops. It was amazing.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

My biggest accomplishments are continually striving to be a better dad and a better husband, working on my PhD at Newcastle University, UK, and self-producing a few albums.

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

Blanche de Namur.

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

Play guitar, go to concerts, hang out with my kids, watch the Little Rascals, Bugs Bunny, and Scooby-Doo, go snowboarding, read, and travel with my wife.

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

Belgium! My expectations were high and my experience was even better.


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