Joe Walts

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

I’m the head brewer at Narrows Brewing Company in Tacoma, Wash. I got started in the industry in 2005 as the assistant brewer at J.T. Whitney’s Pub & Brewery in Madison, Wis.

What’s new at Narrows Brewing Co.?

My co-workers and I recently worked with six other Tacoma craft breweries to create a Black Belgian IPA that will be served across town during the inaugural Tacoma Beer Week in early March. By the time you read this, the beer may be gone!

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

I love the vibe that we’re all in this together, both in terms of the resulting camaraderie and the sharing of resources. The nation’s largest breweries have been perfecting their processes for more than150 years. Imagining what the majority of craft beers would taste like if each new brewery had to learn everything on its own, I may not sleep tonight.

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

I’m grateful for any amount of time I can spend with my wife and two-year-old daughter. My goal for this winter is to take my daughter skiing, and I hope we can take a few weekend camping/hiking/kayaking trips in the summer. I enjoy playing hockey whenever I can squeeze it into my schedule, and I’d love to eventually get back into being a mediocre musician.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

A dry, citrusy pale ale with Detroit-style greaseburgers. I’m not joking.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to brewing?

My first daughter, Mia, had a terminal genetic disorder called Niemann-Pick Disease, Type A. I’m proud of the fact that my wife and I were able to give her as rewarding a life as possible.

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

I love so many beers for so many different reasons, and for so many different occasions, that I can’t choose a favorite. If I had to pick only one beer to exist, though, it would probably be Prima Pils from Victory Brewing Company.

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

My wife and I took a trip to New Zealand in 2008, and the beer was excellent! Having no expectation at the time, good or bad, it was a very pleasant surprise.

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