What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am CEO, brewmaster, and janitor at Check Six Brewing Co. [in Southport, N.C.]. A dozen or so years ago, Tim Hassel, my partner, decided to homebrew. My grandfather had a brewery in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the 20s, so I’ve always been interested in brewing. My cousin had all the equipment and had been homebrewing since the early 90s, so Tim and I started to brew. I retired and moved to Southport and soon found the perfect location for a brewery. My son Mike also moved here from New Jersey and Tim will be down permanently after he retires from the Air Force. We found investors and opened Check Six Brewing Company last April.
What’s new at Check Six?
We have a great themed tap room that everyone loves, and we produce nine of our own beers for it and our wholesale customers. We presently self-distribute our products and are looking into canning in the near future.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The camaraderie of all the brewers we’ve met. They are all eager to help out with advice and almost anything else. In this business everyone tries to work together instead of fighting with each other. I like to call it co-opetition!
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Nothing beats our imperial vanilla porter and barbecue.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Getting an award from the Boy Scouts of America for being in scouting for 50 years.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I’ve been to dozens of breweries, and I loved them all. I have so many favorites I can’t begin to list them. There are so many beers to taste and not enough time to taste them all, but I will try.