Interview: Samuel Adams brewer Bert Boyce

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Experimental Samuel Adams brewer Bert Boyce was in Los Angeles to promote the release of Utopias, a monster barrel-aged beer has that clocks 27% ABV. The San Diego County native has been a professional brewer for the past 13 years. He previously helped friend Eric Rose launch Hollister Brewing Company in Goleta and has been with Samuel Adams for the past two years. We met at The Golden State on November 17, where he discussed his background.

How did you end up signing on at Samuel Adams?
I’d been living in Santa Barbara for five years before going out there, and ironically was looking for a change from California. I wanted to move to the East Coast, and basically through a friend of a friend, found out that my dream position was open, running the research brewery in Boston. It’s a small 10-barrel brewery within a brewery where we get to come up with all the new stuff. We make efforts and put into practice new beers. My resume was there the next day. I was all over it.

How did you become so interested in beer?
Homebrewing, as a kid. I started homebrewing when I was about 18. I went to UC Davis and studied brewing and winemaking, and that’s pretty much all I’ve ever done since then. I’m a bit of a one-trick pony.

Would you say that you have any brewing mentors?
Absolutely. So many people have done so many great things. In California, I’ve worked for a lot of great brewers over the years, and I’m inspired by what they do and the beers they make, and you kind of take that with you…Everyone has their own favorite tricks.

Do you have a first beer memory?
I was drinking from a pretty young age, so not so much. Sam Adams Cream Stout was my first favorite beer. My first legal favorite beer would have been at the brewery I was working at in Davis when I was going to school. My first home brew is still a favorite. It hooked me.

What was the first beer that you brewed?
It was an old ale…my favorite beers were stouts and barleywines and strong, malty, alcoholic beers. We’re still doing it today. This is a dream of mine. This is kind of the pinnacle of that style.

If you could only drink one more glass of beer, what would it be?

Jeeze. If I only get one, we just released a series of beers at the brewery in Boston. I don’t remember the distribution right now. It’s Massachusetts and Denver and rolling out to some other select markets in New England, which we can support on our tiny 10-barrel scale. We’re making a beer called the Stony Brook Red right now, which is the beer I want to drink most of the time. For special occasions, it’s either Boston Lager or Stony Brook Red.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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