Staying Active, Then And Now, With 13 Top Craft Beer Pros

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For some craft beer pros, the view isn’t always of tanks, barrels and bottling lines. They also stay active outdoors.


On June 9 in Paso Robles, at the inaugural Firestone Walker Invitational Brew Fest, we asked participating craft beer pros, Did you play any sports in high school? And, How do you stay active these days? Read their responses.

Tyson Arp (Nebraska Brewing Company)

[In High School] Definitely not. I sucked at sports.

[These Days] I don’t. My wife and I are actually planning a backpacking trip this summer. We used to do a lot of rock climbing, and that kind of thing, before we got into beer. Before that, we had a lot of free time. We still love that kind of thing, we just don’t get out as often.

Mikkel Borg Bjergso (Mikkeller)

[In High School] Yep. I was a middle distance runner. Actually, when I lived in the States, I was on a scholarship, running mile and half-mile…I lived in Kansas for one year, in Manhattan, Kansas [at Kansas State], and then in Alabama of all places for half a year…a smaller college in Mobile.

[These Days] We have a big office in Copenhagen. We’ve made a fitness room. We have a treadmill and a stairmaster, so we use that when we work.

Matt Brynildson (Firestone Walker Brewing Company)

[In High School] I’m from Minnesota so Hockey was mandatory. My parents put me on skates when I was 3 years old and didn’t let me leave the ice till I scored. I played tennis and ran cross country as well.

[These Days] I’m not a big fan of running so I end up doing a lot of hiking. San Luis Obispo is a great place for outdoor activities and we are on the cusp of Big Sur, which is my favorite playground in the world. I love playing music and going to see shows. Although the brewery and brewing related travel has kept me from being active in a band lately – I try to sit down on the drum kit as often as possible.

Jon Carpenter (Golden Road Brewing)

I played quite a few sports in high school and then in college I played lacrosse. I was playing lacrosse with an all guys team here, which was a lot of fun, then I did some pretty severe damage to my wrist. Now I go out there and run around sometimes with them and cheer ‘em on from the sidelines until I get that time to get balance in my life and actually get my body fixed.

[These Days] The brewery takes a lot, and I get out and hike the hills when I get a chance, and go for a run. L.A.’s got so much outdoors to offer, the second I do get a chance to get out, I try to take advantage of that.

Phin DeMink Southern Tier Brewing

I’ve always been into snow sports. I love to ski.

[These Days] I play soccer. I paddleboard a lot. When there’s snow in New York, I try to ski every weekend.

Dave Engbers (Founders Brewing Company)

That’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that question. [In High School] Yes, I was quite the athlete back in the day, before I gained 100 pounds. I played golf, basketball and baseball.

[These Days] I chase four kids around the house.

Grady Hull (New Belgium Brewing)

[In High School] I did lacrosse and I did track. I’ve never been super athletically gifted.

[These Days] Bike rides with my family.

Brian Hunt (Moonlight Brewing)

[In High School] No.

[These Days] I don’t really ever use a desk. That’s probably the best answer. I have a desk that I don’t use, and there is no chair in the brewery.

Pat McIlhenny (Alpine Beer Company)

[In High School] Actually, I was kind of nerdy. I was a statistician instead of an athlete, but I’ve always kept in decent shape. Being a fireman, that helped, and I ride bikes extensively now.

[These Days] Bike riding, hiking, brewing.

Masafumi “Mori” Morita (Yo-Ho Brewing Company)

[In High School] Do you know football, five-on-five soccer?

[These Days] The job of brewer is kind of exercise. We have to lift very heavy things and go upstairs in the brewery, so I don’t need any exercise.

Victor Novak (TAPS Fish House & Brewery)

[In High School] Tennis, and played baseball. I played more city baseball than high school baseball.

[These Days] I’m a Southern Californian, I refuse to get a beer belly, so I have to workout…I’ve always run and picked up mountain biking about seven years ago with my buddy Remy. I like working out, but I’d rather be outdoors to stay healthy because I’m not a gym rat. It’s boring.

Noah Regnery (Hollister Brewing Company)

I surfed in high school.

[These Days] Running around the brewery. I try to get outside as much as possible. Living in Santa Barbara, it’s a beautiful area. We have the beach, mountains, everything right there. The goal in the next few weeks, for summertime, is to be outside as much as possible.

Clay Robinson (Sun King Brewing)

[In High School] I did not.

[These Days] I do yoga fairly regularly, at least once a week. My fiancée’s at yoga teacher training right now in Massachusetts. When she gets back, because she needs to practice her teaching and training, I’ll be taking some home private yoga stuff, which will be a lot more cost effective for me and keep me a little bit more fit. I like to walk regularly, and we’re only 40 minutes from Bloomington. Southern Indiana’s very hilly, tree-filled and lovely, so a lot of outdoor activity hiking-wise. Then I try to maintain, but it catches up to you in the belly.

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Joshua Lurie

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

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