What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
Co-founder and Strategist. I started home brewing in 1997 and in 2005 was dangerously close to opening a brewery in New Jersey with a large group of partners. While that didn’t work out, it introduced me to dozens of talented professionals in the industry (and the BA). Soon, my wife Amy and I decided to instead move forward with a project ourselves. In 2006 we opened a small inn and craft beer bar in Vermont, officially entering the professional side of craft beer.
What’s new at Whetstone Station?
2020 has been quite the year. While forced to close due to COVID-19, we took the opportunity to do some significant remodeling of our main restaurant, changing the concept from table service to counter service. We also jumped into packaging at our new brewing facility, adding a 24CPM canning line. Most recently we’ve begun the construction of a new “Whetstone Winter Garden” to offer a comfortable outdoor space not just for the COVID-19 era, but for the winter skiing crowd for years to come.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
I think the best part of the craft beer community is just that, the genuine community. That word is thrown around a lot by various groups, but I really believe that the people of craft beer continue to genuinely represent the power of a community. Be it the collaborative efforts of breweries supporting causes or something as wide reaching as the Independent Craft Brewer Seal, the people of craft beer continue to demonstrate that regardless of how big the group gets, there is still a true feeling of community.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
The most memorable food and beer pairing I have ever had was at an event in the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia years ago. I don’t even recall whose event it was, but I will never forget the pairing of an Ostrich egg omelet (served in the empty egg shell) alongside Victory’s Golden Monkey. It was one of those moments when you realize how much you just don’t know about beer and food. The salty, savory, umami aspect of the omelet perfectly complimented the bright, spicy, sweet Golden Monkey. Just typing this out is making me crave that combination again.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Some may not see it as an accomplishment, but I would say travel. I love to travel and have a passion for exploring new places. When I left my “corporate” gig to give a shot at opening my own business, my goal was to be able to really travel. Not vacation, but travel. Yes it took another 10 years of hard work, but the very first time I was able to take off for three months in my Airstream with no plan and infinite flexibility, was life changing. Since then I have visited 19 countries, 48 states and have been able to spend six to eight months each year exploring in my RV. Backroads, breweries, strange roadside attractions. I have had the privilege of seeing it all, at a truly comfortable pace, often spending a month or so in each new location. Experiencing such diverse communities and cultures continues to shape who I am as a person and a professional.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
This is like people asking “what’s my favorite place” because of my travels! An impossible question that begs for additional qualifiers. I love trying new beers and have found hundreds of favorites around the world. There’s a time and a place for every beer!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Travel obviously! But while on the road I love mountain biking, scuba, and visiting other breweries!
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Haha this combines the two hardest questions! Offhand I would say that one of the most memorable beer and travel combinations I had recently was in Budapest. Wandering into a small “ruin” bar, seeing a random beer on the chalk menu with Vermont in the name. Surprised, I shared with the bartender that I was from Vermont. He explained that his friend brewed that beer after a trip to New England this summer. I ended up traveling by train to a random city in Hungary later that week to meet the brewer and had an amazing time exploring some of the places he suggested. Several months later we connected and brewed a collaboration beer (Hungary ‘Stoner) together. An awesome set of circumstances that led to a fun collaboration and another demonstration of the size and strength of the brewing community.