Steve Dresler recently retired as brewmaster for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, but he fulfilled a 15-year dream when he stewarded at the world’s largest commercial beer competition: the 2017 Great American Beer Festival® (GABF).
As a GABF judge for many years, Dresler had always been fascinated with the behind-the-scenes operations of the competition. With more than 8,000 beers judged in this year’s GABF, Dresler acknowledged that the stewards consistently work “with speed and high levels of accuracy.”
Chris Swersey, GABF competition manager, applauded Dresler’s dedication and legacy to the craft brewing community. “His actions lend credence to the notion that our staff members are equals in the judging process to judges,” said Swersey. “And, as an emeritus veteran of our system, instead of putting the competition in his rear-view mirror, he’s having fun, exploring, learning, and keeping it all fresh.”
Due to his Sierra Nevada affiliation, this was the first year Dresler was eligible to participate as a steward, and his peers and friends witnessed him having a great time doing it. Now that the competition is over, Dresler is looking forward to his retirement, with plans to travel with his wife and start his own brewing consulting business in the years to come.
Dresler oversaw Sierra Nevada’s brewing program from the early 1980s to 2016, after joining Sierra Nevada in 1983. During Dresler’s time there, the brewery won eight World Beer Cup awards and 31 Great American Beer Festival medals. In 2015, Dresler received the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing at the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Ore.
Cheers, Steve, and happy retirement!