Tom Uban

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

I’m owner, brewer, engineer and jack of all trades at Figure Eight Brewing in Valparaiso, Ind. A homebrewer for over 25 years, I had been looking for an alternative to my day job as a software consultant and when my friend Heather in Fort Collins started a micro distillery (Syntax Spirits), I began to think in that direction. The next time I visited some of the other local breweries and brewpubs, I looked with a different eye and decided I could do this. After jumping in with both feet in May 2009, we opened Figure Eight Brewing’s doors on March 4, 2010 and haven’t looked back. The name Figure Eight comes from the knot used to tie into the safety rope when rock climbing—my other passion…

What’s new at Figure Eight?

Along with a new, yet-to-be-named Belgian-style Tripel, we are in the process of getting our bottling line up and running. This project entails the rehabilitation of an older model Meheen four-head machine.

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

The craft brew people are wonderful, have great spirit, pull for each other’s success, and are generally fun to be around. I think this is a large part of what attracts me to the industry as they are very much like another group of people that I like to hang out with—rock climbers.

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

Go rock climbing with my family and friends.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

Chocolate and IPA. Any form of chocolate (cake, brownie, cookies, chips, etc.), but preferably dark.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

My son Joel.

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

Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas.

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

Fort Collins, Colo., home of our longtime friend Mark, who introduced us to rock climbing on one of our visits there. A city with a vibrant downtown and a number of remarkable brewpubs and breweries.

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