What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the owner/head brewer [of Wild Ride Brewing in Redmond, Ore.]. After being exposed to the craft brewing industry at Colorado State University, I moved to Portland, Ore. and realized that I really enjoyed homebrewing and the reward after the process was complete. So I applied with every brewery in Oregon, only to be denied. I switched my career path and took a position with a distribution company in Portland to gain more experience in the beer industry. I continued to apply at breweries and finally took a second job running food at Laurelwood Brewing. Within weeks I was brewing for Laurelwood and have been happy making beer for more than 11 years.
What’s new at Wild Ride?
Everything; we’ve been in business for less than a year. Within that first year we have created 24 different beers and continue to keep ourselves and our customers entertained. Our first beer ever brewed went directly into Jack Daniels barrels and our Imperial IPA and Stout are both aging in whiskey barrels. We will be doing a collaboration with Breakside Brewing, an abbey ale fermented in pinot noir barrels with a portion of proceeds going to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation. After that our 100th batch will be coming up as well as our one-year anniversary.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
1. The amazing beers being produced. 2. The support from and appreciation of fellow brewers. 3. The growth of craft market share. 4. The continuing knowledge and appreciation of consumers.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Enjoy my family and friends. I enjoy surfing, snowboarding, being outside, and being active.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
I have really been enjoying our Mount Up Maple Brown with pork belly.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Getting married to my beautiful wife and starting a family. I couldn’t be more thankful for having someone support what I do for a career and the amount of time I put into beer, in addition to the blessing of our son.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
My most influential beer is New Belgium’s La Folie. To date, I still think this is one of the most complex beers on the market. While I was in college and living in Fort Collins I had the opportunity to frequent New Belgium and do tastings. The first time I tried this beer I loved it, and on a college budget spent what I had on buying bottles (usually one at a time).
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
New Zealand has the best beer scene (other than Oregon) that I have ever experienced. During my travels I got the chance to go to several breweries both small and large and taste a wide range of styles, including an American pale ale, which was the first that I had heard of the term or style. I also got to walk the hop farms, get my hands on new hops, and do a brew with a small brewery. Great place, great people, great beer.