What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the owner (Jill of all trades) at City Star Brewing in Berthoud, Colo. I take on a range of roles at City Star from administrative and janitorial to marketing. When I met my husband, John, seven years ago, his infectious love for homebrewing and craft beer became something we shared. We always had distant dreams of opening a brewery. The first time we jokingly voiced the possibility was while playing Keno in Las Vegas. We didn’t win anything, so when it came time to start our brewery we had to gamble on ourselves and credit cards, which was a lot more nerve-wracking than throwing a few dollars on a game of chance.
What’s new at City Star?
We are continuously growing; production increased 57 percent in 2014. We are expanding the tasting room to include an outdoor beer garden, complete with a barrel aging room and event space. We also bottled our first beer, Outlaw, a whiskey barrel aged imperial stout.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The camaraderie between breweries is amazing. I’ve never worked in an industry where people are as excited to be innovative and work together to try new things. Also, through City Star we are able to use beer as a vehicle to make a difference, including helping our furry friends through our partnership with National Mill Dog Rescue. (On a selfish note, it’s always great to be able to trade beer for anything: coffee, haircuts, and even my wedding cake.)
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Since opening the brewery together, John and I got married, purchased our first house, and are now expecting our first child, so starting our family is priority number one. We have a great staff we can rely on so when I do have a chance I like to travel and check out other breweries. My personal and business life are very intertwined so it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
We did a beer pairing with Lyons Fork where our Six Shooter Pale Ale was paired with an orange, avocado, and spinach salad with honey dressing. Thinking of that pairing still makes my mouth water. Cheese and beer continues to be a favorite, too.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I have 20 years of traditional martial arts training. I’ve invested a lot of time in this journey and the reward has been huge. I can list ranks and honors attained along with board and brick breaking abilities, but the real accomplishment is the journey itself. The mental discipline, focus, and communication gave me the skills to teach and give back to others in the martial arts community, later in the ski racing community as a coach, and now as an employer at City Star Brewing.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Being pregnant, I haven’t had a chance to participate in one of my favorite hobbies for about eight months. A Joe’s Premium American Pilsner from Avery Brewing sure does sound great.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
On our honeymoon we went to Germany and visited so many amazing breweries. The culture, history, and people truly made it one of the best beer-centered experiences of my life.