Micah Ochej

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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 currently one of only two brewers at Tower Brewing in Sacramento, meaning we do whatever needs to get done. I got my start in the industry through bartending, which led to a job in distribution and sales. I eventually finished my biology degree, focused on fermentation science, and moved into a production position at Firestone Walker.

What’s new at Tower Brewing?
Me! I’ve only been brewing at Tower for a few months.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The camaraderie. I cannot think of another industry that is so open and willing to trade techniques and share secrets, which serves to boost the performance and quality of brewers across the country and world. The camaraderie is a big part of what attracted me to brewing. Brewers are really good about rolling out the red carpet for other brewers.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Cheese plates are for beer. Cheese is one of the few foods as versatile as beer while also consisting of so few ingredients. I’ll take beer and cheese over wine and cheese any day!

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Going back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly. I had dropped out of school for a few years, but after finding out how much science goes into beer, I eventually went back to finish it up! I even designed a university-level beer course as part of my senior project.

What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
Some personal favorites are Blind Pig by Russian River, Sublimely Self-Righteous by Stone, Parabola by Firestone Walker, and Violet Underground by Barrelworks.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Surfing is my go-to sport. I’ve got close to 20 surfboards in my quiver.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I attended the Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference in Burlington, Vt., and was super impressed with the Burlington beer community. Innovative but with a true respect for established styles, it was a great place to spend a week drinking beers!

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