Paul Mrocka

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

I am a co-founder and CEO [at Paradox Brewery in Schroon Lake, N.Y.] My wife and I bought a lake house in upstate New York. I have been a homebrewer since I left the Army and started to brew at the lake. I started to make a lot of friends—you know free beer always taste better. About three years ago, my partners and I started to think we could brew beer and quit our jobs. Well, we got one part right!

What’s new at Paradox?

After our two core beers, Paradox Red Ale and Beaver Bite IPA, we are now making higher ABV specialty beers. We brewed a 10.5-percent Belgian Triple IPA and a Dark Bay Stout at 8.1 percent. We also just signed with a distributor, Saratoga Eagle from Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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

I look at the craft beer community like playing golf. You are complimented when you have a good shot, and everyone is helpful with a lot of advice.

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

I’m an avid snow skier. I like to play golf and run. Since we are new, most of those activities have been on the back burner.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

Pretzels and pizza!

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Finishing Flight School in the U.S. Army.

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

After flight school, I was stationed in Germany protecting the border between East Germany and West Germany. This is where I started to enjoy beer. A good German helles has always been a favorite of mine.

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

All my partners and I have full-time jobs. Today I’m a corporate pilot flying internationally. I have been to so many places throughout the world from Cambodia to Russia, and I always sample the local beer. If you want real craft beer, America is the place. We can make any style and even make it better. Some countries just do not want to push the envelope. I would love to see a new brewery open in Germany and make an American IPA. Seems crazy, but I have purchased hops from a gentleman in Germany when I was on a trip. He asked me to bring him a six-pack of Hop Devil from Victory. Changes are coming!

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