Neal Ryan

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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 the sales manager at Boise Brewing in Boise, Idaho. I am a corporate marketing dropout. After grad school, I worked with Anheuser-Busch, Coors, and Miller developing national ad/marketing campaigns. When I landed in the Northwest, I started to dedicate myself to craft beer. I joined a small microbrewery in Redmond, Wash., where I learned how to brew and tend the bar in the taproom. I became a beer steward, BJCP Recognized judge, Certified Cicerone, and took the Concise Course at Siebel (WBA).

What’s new at Boise Brewing?

We are still riding high after winning a World Beer Cup gold medal for our Black Cliffs American Stout. We have also started to expand distribution outside of Idaho.

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

I get to drink beer as part of my job and share my passion for beer with other people.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

Rauchbier Marzen with a pork chop, or a ginger saison with sushi.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

I’ve been happily married for 24 years.

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

I love German kellerbiers. There’s nothing like sitting in a biergarten with a mass of German beer.

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

I have two. One was Cantillon in Brussels. It is so different from modern brewing. It was a blast. Nothing like open air fermentation and spiderwebs. The other was the caves at Pils Urquell in the Czech Republic. Upstairs it’s just another large brewery, but going into the old storage caves to sample fresh beer from a wood cask was sublime.

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

Hang out with my giant dog Monty, a 150-pound Great Pyrenees. And drink craft beer, of course.

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