John West

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

Currently, I am the head brewer at Pedernales Brewing Co. [in Fredericksburg, Texas]. I began working at a brewpub, Fredericksburg Brewing Co., about nine years ago. I didn’t know anything about craft beer, but very quickly fell in love with it. The brewers took me under their wing, taught me to homebrew (which I started doing once a week to keep the fridge stocked), and let me help out on brew days. Of course my duties mainly consisted of keg washing and tank scrubbing, but that’s where we all started!

What’s new at Pedernales Brewing?

This is an exciting year for us here at PBC. We are currently in the process of a large expansion, including new tanks, brewhouse upgrades, and bottling/canning line upgrades. We also plan to release about 10 new beers this year, including a series of single malt, single hop IPAs in which we are exploring different malts and hops from around the world. We are also gearing up for our first collaboration with Cerveceria Albur from Monterrey, Mexico.

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

Friends helpin’ friends, helpin’ friends, helpin’ friends! The entire community is so giving and so willing to help each other. Whether in time of need, or simply sharing knowledge, my colleagues are the best in any industry in the world.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

It doesn’t get much better than oysters and stout, but I also love schwarzbier and bacon!

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

My biggest accomplishment was working up the nerve to move back to New York City to finish my bachelor’s degree after a five-year hiatus from school. Luckily I was able to get an internship at a local brewery to advance my brewing career while finishing my degree. Also, last summer I ran four nighttime 30k races through different state parks in Texas. I never thought I would be able to run that far.

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

My favorite craft beer changes with the seasons and with my mood, but I always seem to come back to Duchesse de Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe. It’s a soft, entry-level sour, perfect for any occasion. My favorite non-craft lawnmowing beer is definitely Lone Star, with PBR a close second.

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

My trip to San Diego was phenomenal. I was able to visit about 15-20 breweries including large, longstanding breweries such as Stone, while also getting to visit some small, up-and-coming breweries. Every brewery and brewer I visited was so unique and inviting.

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

I love hiking, backpacking, kayaking, trail running, rock climbing, and of course traveling to do all of these things. As long as I’m outside, I’ll do it. And craft beer pairs extremely well with all of these activities.

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