Rick Tufts

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

I am co-owner and head brewer at Triangle Brewing Company in Durham, N.C. My initial training is as a psychologist (which I worked as for eight years). However, while in graduate school, I began homebrewing and hanging out at the former Elm City Brewing Co. in New Haven, Ct. and the BruRoom at BAR in New Haven. From there, my passion grew and I enrolled in the American Brewers Guild program. Basically, my wife told me to do it or shut up about it! Following completion of that program, I worked as an apprentice brewer under Casey Hughes at Flying Fish Brewing Company in Cherry Hill, N.J. Anyone who knows Casey knows that he worked me over pretty well both professionally and personally! My liver still hasn’t fully recovered, but I left there with a great knowledge base. After leaving Flying Fish, my best friend from high school (Andy Miller, co-owner of Triangle) and I wrote our business plan and opened Triangle Brewing Company on July 4, 2007.

What’s new at Triangle?

Our newest addition to the brewery is our automated Cask canning line. We installed this in August and have been canning our Belgian-style Strong Golden Ale and Belgian-style White Ale. Packaging has been a completely different monster to deal with, but thankfully, Andy and Luke Studer (Employee #1) take care of most of the canning issues. I like to grab a beer off the line and give unsolicited feedback from afar. They sure love that!

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

The camaraderie between breweries. I spend as much time as I can out of the brewery hanging out and drinking with other local brewers in our area. I am always impressed and humbled by the quality of beers that are being brewed in North Carolina and the fanfare that has developed within our state.

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

I spend the majority of my time away from the brewery with my lovely wife, Christina, and children, Abby and Alex, which means I spend a lot of time watching Dora the Explorer and Disney princess movies with Abby and/or changing Alex’s diaper. When I am not doing that, I love to watch movies and college basketball, and play soccer.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

Carolina BBQ and/or ribs with something big and hoppy, like Allen and Son’s with our Imperial Amber. Yum! Is it lunch time yet?

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to brewing?

My wonderful family. Abby and Alex definitely help keep me grounded and are always available to step on my ego as well as making it swell. It’s hard to remember what life was like prior to them, but I am pretty sure it involved more sleep!

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

My favorite beer is always the one in my hand at the moment that I am enjoying a great time with friends. If I had to narrow it down, Bell’s Two Hearted and Capitol City’s Fuel are two of my favorite beers, but I also drink a lot of Carolina Brewing Company’s Flagship IPA.

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

Boston Beer Works right outside Fenway Park. I grew up as and continue to be a diehard Red Sox fan, so I always love to travel to Boston. One day, my wife and I and a few friends took the tour of Fenway and I was able to run and crash into the Green Monster! Who knows what they were thinking, letting me on the field! We then went next door and recovered (from my possible concussion) over a few pints from Boston Beer Works prior to catching the game in the right field bleachers. Beer has never tasted so good and yes, the Sox won!

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