Khris Johnson

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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 the head brewer of Green Bench Brewing Co. (in Saint Petersburg, Fla.). I was a homebrewer for a few years and in that time I worked at both Cigar City Brewing and Southern Brewing and Winemaking before writing a business plan to open my own brewery. During capital raise I met my current business partners, Nathan Stonecipher and Steven Duffy, and the three of us opened Green Bench together on September 25, 2013.

What’s new at Green Bench?

We’re expanding our bottling program with a few different series. The Wood Parade Series is a spirit barrel-aged series, and the first release was Your Silent Captain, an apple brandy barrel aged tart cherry imperial stout. We also released the first beer in our Webb’s City Cellar Series (a spirit and/or wine barrel aged sour/wild beer program). For the Mad Ones is a rye sour brown fermented 100 percent in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels on wild yeast. We’re about to release the first bottles in our St. Peter’s Belgian Line, a 100-percent oak fermented farmhouse line. These beers are fermented in a custom built foeder of 75 percent French oak and 25 percent American oak staves. With this series we bottle the beers as bases, often conditioning on wild yeast and barrel aging them as well. Lastly, we’re about to begin our Sauvage Series, a bottle conditioned 100 percent Brett series of beers. Those will be a lot of fun. The concept is to pick an ingredient and make it 20 to 30 percent of the fermentables of the base and pair a single hop with that ingredient. We’ll ferment it out on our house mixed culture of wild yeast before bottle conditioning it on wild yeast.

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

The community itself. We’re all here because we love beer and we do anything we can to help each other make the best beer possible. The support we’ve received from our peers has been amazing, influential, and invaluable.

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

Visit with my family, usually. If it’s just me, I love to dive into a big book.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

I’m a pretty big farm to table guy. Nothing beats a grass fed, locally sourced burger with local, fresh toppings. I’m a fan of pairing unique local farmhouse ales with local farm to table dishes.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

When I was in college I traveled with the football team and called games on the radio. I think USF beating FSU was my favorite game to broadcast. That was huge.

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

Cantillon Fou’ Foune.

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

Probably Colorado Springs. Trinity’s beers really set me on a path that I was not expecting. Easily the biggest and best surprise I’ve ever experienced walking into a brewery I’d never heard of.

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