INTERVIEW CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
What’s the most recent beer that you brewed, and what was your approach with it?
We’re making a black IPA that’s going to be released in the fall, so we’ve been doing test batches. We’re trying to make a big beer with chocolately malt character with a strong hop aroma. We’re trying to push to limits on that. It’s called Blacktop.
Would you say that you have any brewing mentors?
Definitely, lots of people. I’ve had a lot of help over the years. My professor when I was in school, Michael Lewis, was probably my first. I work closely with a German brewing professor Ludwig Narziss. He’s probably been my biggest influence. If you read anything about German brewing science or German brewing research, if you read any article that’s been written in the last 30 years, on average, his name will pop up. He was brewmaster at Lowenbrau, he was professor of brewing university in Munich, at Weihenstephan. He’s sort of the German brewing guru. I send him beer and we talk about recipe development and process. I go see him once a year and we communicate by e-mail, fax or telephone on a monthly basis.
Who are some other brewers that you really respect in the industry that you have not worked with?
Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo at Russian River. Larry Sidor at Deschutes is an amazing brewer. Of course Ken Grossman at Sierra Nevada and John Mallett at Bell’s, those are people I communicate with and have great respect for.
What and where do you drink when you’re not working?
I like all kinds of beverages. I like wine, love French champagne. As far as beer, if I see regular Coors, I’ll drink Coors. Regular banquet beer, I’m a big fan of Coors. I love Lambics, sour beers like Rodenbach and most Pilsners. I like a good bohemian style Pilsner. I’ll pretty much try anything. I don’t get out much, since I’m always at the brewery, but there are some good taverns in town. We were just over in Belgium, Ghent, Belgium and Bruges, researching brewing practices over there, and I always prefer draught beer.
If you could only fill your glass with one more beer, other than your own, what would be in the glass and where would you drink it?
I would probably drink Pliny the Elder, and probably at Vinnie and Natalie’s brewpub, and I’d go for a walk in Point Reyes seashore. That would pretty much be the perfect day. Pliny the Elder’s the perfect blend of a nice, malty, rich European pilsner with the power of a modern American beer.
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