What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the brewery director at Prairie Street Brewing in Rockford, Ill. I’ve always loved beer, flavor, and hospitality. Whenever I travel, finding the best beer or restaurant has always been more of an interest to me than the destination itself. Being able to bring people together to enjoy each other’s company while providing great beers was motivation enough to begin the journey of starting a brewpub.
What’s new at Prairie Street?
Canning! We began with two of our top sellers, Feather Eye Rye and Berry River Roll. Our community responded so well that we canned a third beer this summer, Peach Wheat, and have since added more. In addition, we have also started distributing draft around the region, which has been well received.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The camaraderie and the ability to provide a fun flavor experience for so many people to enjoy. The brewing industry is full of great people! So many new friends have been made since we decided to open our brewery. I also just love seeing our products be a part of so many great events and gatherings.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
A nice 10- to 12-year aged cheddar paired with a fresh pale ale.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Keeping Tupelo alive for 13 years. She’s my faithful sidekick who I rescued and named after the honey. She’s come with me on so many adventures. Also, climbing Kilimanjaro with my dad about 10 years ago. I think the biggest challenge of this was that I got my dad to leave work for more than a month!
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
My go-to is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but Focal Banger from The Alchemist is super tasty and Boheme de Paris from Hopfenstark was memorable after my last visit to Montreal.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Schlenkerla in Bamberg, Germany. This entire city is just a worldwide heritage site. It was an epic drive to get there. It took way longer than I expected and by the time I pulled up it was like 9 or 10 at night and I was starving and thirsty. Their Rauchbier and Fastenbier totally lived up to the hype! I also had a giant pork shank, potatoes, and some greens to go along with it. That was one of the best food and beer moments I have had for sure!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I love climbing. That’s my go-to and what keeps me sane. Cooking, eating, drinking, and traveling are all on the top of my list, too.