What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the head brewer at Bog Water Brewing in Westport, Wash. I was introduced to Chris, the owner, through a mutual friend. I had some experience homebrewing and he was looking to get his brewery going again. I worked on their 1 bbl system for about one-and-a-half years. In May we upgraded to a 10 bbl system.
What’s new at Bog Water Brewing?
Everything! We officially opened the new brewery in May. We now have eight beers on tap and are starting a small barrel program. The newest beer is a sweet stout aged in a whiskey barrel from a local distillery. Next up is a rye IPA that we threw into a whiskey barrel as well.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I love the connections in the brewing industry. I’ve brewed on other people’s systems after introducing myself as a fellow brewer and being welcomed like I was one of the crew. I also enjoy making people happy. My favorite days are when someone tells me they really enjoy my beer. Our county was devoid of any breweries for a long time and I want the people in our community to be able to point to us and say ‘That’s ours’ and be proud of it.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Russian imperial stout with a well-grilled New York strip and sauteed winter vegetables.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to brewing?
Joining the Marines at age 20. I had no direction in life and didn’t want to go to a four-year college, so I challenged myself and it made me better for doing so. Also, finding a wife who stuck with me despite leaving her so many times on deployment and moving around the country.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I tried a Belgian tripel aged in gin barrels at Sound Brewery in Poulsbo, Wash. I’m a huge fan of gin, and pairing it with that tripel made me want to rummage through their keg room and take it home.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Being so near the ocean, fishing is a big time-filler out here. But I also love to grab the clubs and hit the greens with my favorite lawnmower beer. My wife also talked me into helping out with the local college playhouse backstage, so that’s a great way to spend time with the family.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Bend, Ore. I did the whole Ale Trail last year with my family and managed to hit all the breweries on the list. It was a great experience to see how others in the industry do it and it didn’t hurt that they all made really great beer.