Tom Schaeffer

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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 co-founder, CEO, and president of Black Cloister Brewing Company [in Toledo, Ohio]. I founded the local homebrew club, the Glass City Mashers, and am a Certified Cicerone . Additionally, I am a Lutheran pastor of 26 years, and I started the brewery at the urging of my church members. I started the church with a beer tasting bible study, so naturally my church is made up of a bunch of craft beer drinkers.

What’s new at Black Cloister?

We just opened on March 20, but things are moving at a fast and furious pace. New is something that happens almost every day. In terms of beers, we just released our festbier. We also just ordered fermenters to double our capacity.

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

That it is a community. Craft beer, for me, has always been about the community. I rarely drink a great beer alone. It’s poured and enjoyed with friends, new and old, around great conversation and shared moments. I love having the privilege of creating those moments.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

Mussels and Duvel at Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to brewing?

My marriage of 28 years to my wife, Karen, which produced two fantastic daughters.

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

With a new business, I’m putting in countless hours. The time away from the brewery that I get to spend doing anything with my wife is precious. But we do quite enjoy going to local establishments and drinking my beer!

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

Gulden Draak holds a special place in my heart, because it was the beer my daughter and I drank together the night before she left to serve in the Peace Corps for two years. You also can’t go wrong with Westy 12.

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

For our 25th wedding anniversary, we went to the place of my wife’s heritage: Budapest, Hungary. There we took a walking tour with Budapest Beer Tours. Yes, that is a real thing. We sampled many local beers and particularly enjoyed the local style, which is essentially a fruit doppelbock.


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