Mike Byrne

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

I am the brewer at Buckeye Lake Brewery [in Buckeye Lake, Ohio.] I got started in the craft brewing industry like many others. I was an avid homebrewer who was in the right place at the right time. A new local brewery was looking for a brewer. I contacted the owner, and before I knew it, I was hired on and was putting together the brewhouse, and brewing beer.

What’s new at Buckeye Lake Brewery?

This is an exciting time. Although we are very young, we are already growing. We just received a new shipment of kegs that will allow us to pick up some new commercial accounts, and we are hoping to add a fermenter in the near future.

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

I’m constantly surrounded by passionate people. That could be talking to other local brewers, customers that come into our brewery, or attending the local homebrew club meeting. I love that people appreciate craft beer, and want to talk about it or learn about it. I’m also blown away by the willingness of the other local brewers to answer my questions.

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

When I’m not at the brewery, I like to spend time on my road bike, or go backpacking. It gives me a chance to unwind, challenge myself in a different way, and reflect on things that are going on in my life. I also really enjoy traveling with my beautiful wife, Jess.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

I look forward to making this every fall. My wife and I slow-cook a shredded beef chili that has a nice well-rounded heat to it. I love to pair it with a freshly brewed American Stout. The American stout style can stand up to the spice and heat in the chili, with the high level of roast and hop presence.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to brewing?

My time spent in education. With the support of parents and administration, I was able to create a fine art program in an inner-city middle school. Disciplines included jewelry making, wheel-thrown pottery, and wood cut print making. I also held an after-school art club for students whose parents worked late.

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

Columbus Brewing Company’s IPA. I like this beer because it is not super bitter, it is full of hops, and it is very refreshing. Living in Columbus, I can find it at most places and it is always fresh!

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

Munich, Germany. That trip changed the way I thought about beer. I know it’s cliché, but I can’t help it. The beer was so fresh, delicious, and so well-made. I was an occasional craft beer drinker before that trip, but I came home a craft beer enthusiast.


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