What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
We’re both owners [at Bootstrap Brewing in Niwot, Colo.] and the best part of owning your own business is that you can have so much fun making up silly titles (Leslie goes by Chief of Stuff and Steve is the Yeast Whisperer). Steve, who is a mechanical engineer and program manager by training, was an avid homebrewer for over 20 years and graduated from the American Brewers Guild in the summer of 2011, while Leslie’s background is in marketing.
What’s new at Bootstrap?
Everything! We have only been open for four months so are constantly having new experiences daily. In the short time we’ve been open, we’ve bought a fourth fermenter, created some barrel-aged beers, released a few seasonals, and started shipping kegs to accounts. We’re looking into packaging a few of our beers into bombers and the possibility of canning in the near future as well.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of other breweries in terms of help with ingredients, knowledge, and advice. We don’t know of any other industry that is so supportive and collaborative. Plus, everyone is so much fun to work with.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Patio dining and visiting other breweries. We love to travel, so we’re looking forward to the day when we can schedule a vacation, too.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
A gourmet mac and cheese or California club sandwich is always a home run with our Insane Rush IPA, but we also love pairing our Backfire Chili beer with Mexican food.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Taking the plunge from high tech to craft beer.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
We’re both big fans of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA and Odell IPA. Leslie also loves Firestone Walker Double Jack and New Glarus Belgian Red, and Steve is fond of Bear Republic Racer 5.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
A few years ago, we were vacationing in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber [Germany] and visited the local brewery there. We tasted their amazing roggenbier and the brewer gave us a quick tour and began describing his beer to us. Between Leslie’s broken German and the brewer’s broken English, we pieced together the recipe and it was so much fun to come back home and brew it up. Prost!