What’s your current role at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the Brewmaster and Co-Founder at New Realm Brewing. I got my start in beer when I was a college student at the University of California, Davis in the early 1980s. I was studying for a fermentation science major, and the brewing classes I took inspired my passion for the brewing businesses. A field trip to early Sierra Nevada sealed the deal. I got a job in winemaking when I graduated college, but helped start a brewpub in Hollister, California a few years later and was able to make brewing my career. I’ve done so many things since then, it’s been a wild ride.
What’s new at New Realm?
We have a lot of exciting projects in the works—we’ve partnered to brew beers with the rock band Blackberry Smoke, and with Georgia Tech Athletics we are building a small brewery and taproom in Greenville, South Carolina, and have several other projects we are working on. We’ve built a great brewing team in the last one and a half years.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
That’s easy—the camaraderie and willingness of craft brewers to share information and best practices. It’s what sets craft brewing apart from almost every other industry.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Artisanal cheese paired with a barley wine, imperial stout, Belgian tripel, or double IPA. There are so many pairings that fall into this area, but in general I think great cheese paired with great beer is the best!
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Raising my two children to be wonderful young adults and getting my daughter through college. She’s an amazing artist and being able to support that passion all her life is something that I am very happy about.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Takes me back to the early days of craft. That hop character is magic.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I like to travel with my wife, see live music, try new restaurants, and play guitar.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer and why?
Too many to pick just one…Early in my career, trips to Portland and Seattle were pretty memorable. It was great to see the presence of craft beer in those cities, which back then was at a much higher level than where I was in California. I’ve also been to England several times and really enjoy the beer scene there. The traditional cask ales and the new breweries that are making great craft beers provide a great variety of beer drinking experiences. Going to Brussels and drinking Boon Geuze on cask for an entire evening was really special. I’m going to New Zealand in March and I expect that trip will rank very high!