Niles Lewin

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

My older brother Jon decided to jump in on a local brewery [Excelsior Brewing in Excelsior, Minn.] While I started out doing a lot of the build-out and labor for the brewery initially, I was lucky enough to get my foot in the door and get our head brewer (Bob DuVernois) to see how devoted I was to beer. In the span of a year, I went from learning how to homebrew to making 20-bbl batches.

What’s new at Excelsior?

We just received our new keg filler from DME. I’m super jazzed to have an upgrade to our old machine. It sure beats cleaning 60 kegs each week with our primitive machine.

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

The people, without question. Meeting brewers, owners, and people behind the scenes has been phenomenal. I also dig seeing different breweries and brewpubs, and trying out different beers.

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

Spend as much time as possible with my wife.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

I’m a Midwest guy, so for me nothing beats a hearty steak and a solid porter. It’s a straightforward, harmonious pairing that will leave you satisfied from both the food and the beer.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Convincing my wife to marry me. I’m a lucky guy.

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

It always depends on the season. I cannot really put a finger on one, but I do love a good Pilsner. I try to taste as many Minnesota brews as possible; with how our scene has grown, that’s always a tall task.

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

I lived in Steamboat Springs, Colo. for a couple of years. When you have access to fresh New Belgium, Odells, or Left Hand, you’re in a good place.

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