Justin Rick

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

I am currently with Saltwater Brewery [in Delray Beach, Fla.] as the head of brewing. I graduated from the Master Brewers Program at UC Davis in 2008, and shortly after was hired at Stone Brewing as an assistant brewer and lab manager. I also had stints at Leinenkugel and Brooklyn Brewery before connecting with the Saltwater Brewery guys in June 2016.

What’s new at Saltwater?

We’re about to launch our third canned beer, LocAle. A crisp, refreshing, light ale with 3.7 percent ABV, it’s the ideal South Florida, all-day drinking beer. We also launched a treatment of this same beer called Grapefruit Raspberry LocAle which has been super popular.

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

I love the “collaboration before competition” attitude. I love that I can text friends at other breweries, or drive down to another brewery nearby to use some equipment, and they’ll not only help me, but usually send me away with some free beer. The whole feel of the craft brewing community is working together to try cool new ideas and perfect our craft, not to try to undermine or be better than each other.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

I love anything that complements, like our Screamin’ Reels IPA with a spicy Asian dish. The sweet caramel notes of the Maris Otter malt plus the bitterness from the hops help cut through the spiciness to quench the burn, while allowing the acid from the dish to remain. A crisp saison with a citrus-spritzed shrimp kebob is always good, too.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Getting my wife to agree to marry me.

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

I have a few go-to’s like New Belgium’s La Folie and Le Terroir, Avery’s Maharaja, Stone’s Double Bastard, and Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops. There’s just so much out there that the best beer for the moment really depends on the situation you’re in.

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

When I worked at Brooklyn Brewery, my wife and I went to a little town in Italy called Apecchio. We stayed in an historic B&B for a week with no cell reception, Wi-Fi, or TV while I was a guest brewer at a brewery called Amarcord. Every night we’d sit on our terrace overlooking the rolling hills of this quiet little mountain town enjoying rare beers from the region, or were taken to excellent restaurants at vineyards, or out in a marina, or on top of a mountain—always trying local beer.

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

My wife and I love animals, so we love going to places like zoos and aquariums. I’m also a huge science nerd (surprise), so I enjoy watching documentaries, going to museums (science or otherwise), etc. My wife gets annoyed with me because I always have to read every plaque about every exhibit, then I talk about it on the way home.

 


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