What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the owner, brewer, delivery driver, salesman, manager, accountant, and part-time beertender [at Brevard Brewing Co. in Brevard, N.C.]. I got started in the industry at the age of 16 when I got a job as a host at Hops restaurant bar and brewery in Spartanburg, S.C. Six years later, after graduating from college with a history degree, I did what all history majors do—went back to work in restaurants. As fate would have it, that very summer Hops needed a new brewer for the Spartanburg location. I applied and got the job. I received on-site training, and after a year the whole company went bankrupt. I worked for two other breweries in the years to come, and when I had an opportunity to fulfill my dream of opening my own brewery, I took it. Brevard Brewery has been open since April 23, and I couldn’t be happier.
What’s new at Brevard?
The Oktoberfest is what’s new at my brewery! So far it has been very well received. We are also planning a lot of new events in the tasting room for the month of October, like trivia night, karaoke, and a variety show, all in addition to our regularly scheduled open mic night Thursdays, and live music Fridays and Saturdays.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The camaraderie. Oskar Blues recently announced that they are building an East Coast brewery in Brevard, and they immediately reached out to me and the community as friends, not competitors. It always amazes me how I can meet somebody at a festival and see the same person a year later at another festival and they remember who I am. I’ve got friends and former co-workers brewing in locations as diverse as Colorado, Georgia, and England. It’s just amazing how tight-knit yet widespread the brewing community is while still growing.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
My new passion is cycling. Brevard is the cycling capital of the Southeast, and while I have always wanted to get into the sport, I didn’t commit until I opened this brewery and was introduced to dozens of cycling enthusiasts. Nothing is better than getting off of a long, hard day of work and riding in these beautiful mountains.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
That’s a tossup between my homemade spinach and cream cheese wrapped in flank steak with red wine sauce paired with Brevard Brewing Company’s Munich Dunkel, or Brevard’s Bohemian Pilsner paired with a rich, delicious, creamy chicken Alfredo.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to brewing?
Our first baby is due in February and we’re super excited!
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I’m going with a throwback on this one. The one, the only, the original Pilsner Urquell.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you had a chance to sample the local beer?
When I was in college, before I had ever brewed a batch of beer, I spent a semester in Freiburg, Germany. For two months straight, I drank nothing but local Pilsners and hefeweizens. The experience made me fall in love with great German-style beers—lagers in particular.