What’s your first beer memory?
Back in Minnesota, my grandfather handing me a can of Blatt’s when my mom wasn’t around, trying to see if I’d take it and drink some. I was strangely aroused.
What’s the most recent beer that you developed and what was your approach with it?
This year we’ve had the opportunity to design a few beers, but most recently, we’ve been working to develop a new beer for the Nectar Ales line, the idea being that we have three session beers and want to come out with something a little more over the top. Black Xantus is kind of this crazy beer, a 12% alcohol Russian Stout, but it has oats in it, so it’s kind of an oatmeal stout. We’ve been playing with that on the Firestone side with Parabola. With Black Xantus we’ve infused coffee into the beer. We’re aging it in brandy barrels and bourbon barrels. It will see the light of day in September, probably 300-350 cases.
Who are some other local brewers you respect?
Central Coast in my mind is Ventura County up to SLO County line. One brewer I’ve really been impressed with is Eric Rose at Hollister Brewing in Santa Barbara. He’s super modest, not one of those guys who’s pounding his chest or tooting his own horn. If you go inside his brewpub, you can’t find a bad beer and the last time I was there he had 14 beers. More locally, Steve Courier in SLO at Downtown Brewing. You can always go into his pub and have an outstanding IPA. Of course I’m partial to my staff. In California, it’s insane how many great brewers are in this state. I was happy brewing in Goose Island…but I was inspired to move to the West Coast because I saw the innovation.
Where do you like to drink in Southern California?
It’s a little different scene in the Central Coast than the rest of California. Our beer bar here in our county is Spike’s. I live in San Simeon, a city of 400 people, so I drink at San Simeon Lodge. Outside of Central Coast, Hollister Brewing Company in Santa Barbara is an awesome pub. As far as beer bars in the L.A. area, I really like Blue Palms in Hollywood. Brian, who buys and manages the place, is super enthusiastic about craft beer and goes out of his way to get interesting beers. I’m a big fan of Father’s Office, they have good beer and good food. Lucky Baldwin’s is another one. It’s so well established. They’ve done a lot to educate the beer public.
If you could only drink one more glass of beer, what would it be?
People ask what’s your favorite beer, and I say it’s the freshest beer at that given time. Desert island beer: that would either be Trumer Pils or Herren Pils. If it was one final beer, I’m on my deathbed, then I’d have to take Parabola Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout and blend it 50/50 with a Flanders style red ale, maybe Rodenbach Grand Cru. Then have a Firestone Pale Ale beer-back because it’s a heavy beer and I’d have to wash it down with something hoppy.