Pat Kealiher

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

I’m the head brewer at Gull Dam Brewing, Inc. in Nisswa, Minn. I got started in the craft brewing industry when my wife, Kate, and I started a 1-bbl nano after many years of homebrewing. After we decided to close that down, I got a job as assistant brewer at West O Beer in West Okoboji, Iowa, where I spent about a year-and-a-half before taking the job at Gull Dam.

What’s new at your brewery?

Gull Dam is still young, so pretty much everything is new. The beer lineup has had a bit of a facelift since I started. One beer in particular that’s new and exciting is our Hemp Pilsner, a traditional Bohemian-style Pilsner complemented by the addition of crushed hemp seed in the mash.

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

Being able to make, drink, and talk beer every single day. The passion for beer is something everyone in the community shares, and being able to have beers while talking beer with customers and other industry professionals is why I got into brewing in the first place.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

Gull Dam Oktoberfest with home-smoked BBQ ribs. We still do a lot of homebrewing, but another hobby my wife and I share is BBQ. The malty sweetness of an Oktoberfest is great for making sauces and for having a pint with a rack of ribs.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Being a dad. I have three great kids, two of which we home school. Seeing the people they’re growing up to be and knowing the influence I have has given me more pride than brewing—or anything else—ever could.

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

West O Pilsner. Sure, I used to help make it, but it’s a fantastic and highly underrated beer. If you’re ever in Iowa, do yourself a favor and grab a six-pack.

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

Philadelphia for CBC. I don’t travel much, and that’s the farthest I’ve been from the Midwest. I got to visit Yards, which was an awesome experience, and got to sample many different beers from the Philly/Jersey area.

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

My oldest son got us into disc golf a while back and now the whole family is hooked. We’re still not very good, but it’s a great family activity. If we’re not at home firing up the smoker, we’re probably heading to the disc golf course.


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