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Beer Run

A glimpse into the suds-soaked world of some of the country’s craftiest brewers.

 

In our September/October 2012 issue we highlight 50 of the world most obsessed-over craft brews (as well as some of their worthy understudies). But we wanted to know more about the people behind these acclaimed beers, so we recently checked in with a handful of America's best craft brewers for an insider’s glimpse into their suds-soaked world.



ontap_beer_brewers_logsdonDavid Logsdon
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Hood River, Oregon

 

I’ve been brewing since … My college days.

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … I couldn't afford the beers I wanted to drink.

 

My first batch of beer was … More like an experiment.

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery is … Winning a gold medal at the World Beer Cup competition.

 

I define the perfect beer as … One I could enjoy a session of four pints.

 

The most unusual beer I’ve ever brewed is … Gluten-free IPA for my daughters.

 

I find inspiration in … My Belgian friend.

 

I can’t make beer without … A lot of inspiration.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … Knowing it's worth waiting for the results.

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … Waiting for the results.

 

If brewers had superpowers, mine would be … Creating the bottomless keg.

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Wish I was.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … Son, It all starts in the mash tun.

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … Son, It all starts in the mash tun.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … Ripe for the picking.

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Strange Brew

 

If I wasn't making beer I’d … Be dead.

 



ontap_beer_brewers_colbychandler

Colby Chandler
Ballast Point, San Diego, California

 

I’ve been brewing since … 1993

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … I saw a family friend homebrewing and realized how close to cooking it was. I already had a passion for cooking and craft beer, and homebrewing seemed to be the next step.

 

My first batch of beer was … A Portland Brewing Company MacTarnahans Amber Ale clone.

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery was … Helping the Ballast Point team win the 2012 World Beer Cup Champion Small Brewing Company.

 

I define the perfect beer as … A beer that you crave another sip of.

 

The most unusual beer I’ve ever brewed is … A black lager made with California-grown barley, Carlsbad Aqua Farms Luna oysters, San Diego-grown hops and fresh-picked indigenous bay leaf and coastal sage.

 

I find inspiration in … My peers, local chefs and our thriving homebrew community.

 

I can’t make beer without … A beer to drink.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … No matter how bad things get or how hard the work is, I can always go get a glass of beer to make things better.

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … When it's so hot that everything in my pants sweat.

 

If brewers had superpowers, mine would be … The ability to communicate and control a large mass of single-celled organisms and the ability to fly on a column of bubbles created from CO2.

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Drink water.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … To make beers that you want to drink.

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … Is that even though it's a lot of hard work, it's not hard work all the time.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … Sweeeet.

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Everything but new-school country.

 

If I wasn't making beer I’d … Be 20 pounds lighter.

 



ontap_beer_brewers_scottsmith

Scott Smith
East End Brewing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

I’ve been brewing since … Around 1996 at home. At the brewery since December of 2004.

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … I first had a REAL BEER.

 

My first batch of beer was … Homebrew—an amber ale, and probably pretty awful, but it tasted great to me!

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery is … Sheez, I don't know... I was going to talk about the event we did in D.C. with the Smithsonian a couple years back, but mostly I'm just proud to get through a given week.

 

I define the perfect beer as … Challenging my perceptions. Whether it's something outrageous, or something that's elegant in it's simplicity that I've overlooked or dismissed before. Beer doesn't have to blow your head off to be truly great.

 

The most unusual beer I’ve ever brewed is … Probably either our Kvass (Russian bread beer, some of which is currently in oak) or our gose (3 day sour mash, salted).

 

I find inspiration in … Music, local foods and bad jokes.

 

I can’t make beer without … An incredible staff that's as beer-obsessed as I am.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … Hot-damn!!! I'm making beer!

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … Wet feet. Always with the soggy socks.

 

If brewers had superpowers, mine would be … Complete control over all yeast behavior!

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Spend time with my family, remodeling our old house ... wait, there's usually beer involved there too.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … If you're using a spice or a special ingredient, keep the flavor in the background, at the edge of perception. Make sure your beer is a beer first.

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … Be genuine, and find your own voice. Don't be weird just for the sake of being weird.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … All over the place, changing based on situation and whim.

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Pixies, Yo La Tengo, Luna, and The Skatellites.

 

If I wasn't making beer I’d … Be making bourbon. Maybe in the next lifetime.

 



Ron Gansberg
Cascade Brewing, Portland, Oregon

 

I’ve been brewing since … I was 12 years old, making root beer carbonated with yeast in the kitchen sink.

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … I read Fred Eckhardt's A Treatise on Lager Beers way back in the 70s.

 

My first batch of beer was … Tough to hide from my parents in the pantry cupboard.

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery is … My relationship with the beer.

 

I define the perfect beer as ... Always out of reach but worthy of every effort to achieve.

 

The most unusual beer I’ve ever brewed is … My first full-mash beer. It was 100% Scottish peated malt!

 

I find inspiration in … The foods the changing seasons bring us.

 

I can’t make beer without … Water, malt, hops & yeast.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … The first wort run off in oatmeal.

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … Having to share with others.

 

If brewers had superpowers, mine would be … Microscopic X-ray vision to see what's really going on in the barrels.

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Must not be working.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … Styles are guidelines, not gospel.

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … Is that it is like juggling cats—no matter how good you are there is always somebody better.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … Red

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Reckless by the Steeldrivers.

 

If I wasn't making beer I’d … Roping goats, making cheese and playing the dobro.

 

 


Nick Arzner
Block 15, Corvallis, Oregon

 

I’ve been brewing since … 2002 at home, 2008 professionally.

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … I stumbled upon the homebrew section at a grow shop in college.

 

My first batch of beer was … An IPA that really turned out closer to a pale ale.

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery is … Growing our barrel program to over 160 various oak barrels.

 

I define the perfect beer as … One that hits you just right for that moment.

 

The most unusual beer I’ve ever brewed is … Barreled in our spontaneous fermentation project, which has a crazy grapefruit character, rind and all.

 

I find inspiration in … Everything around me—food, conversations, other beers, wine, spirits.

 

I can’t make beer without … An extra shirt.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … Customers enjoying my creativity.

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … Cleaning.

 

If brewers had superpowers, mine would be … Moving full barrels with my mind.

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Cook, exercise and relax with my family.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … Multiple lessons brewmaster Steve van Rossem has taught me.

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … You have to know when to dump a batch.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … Spicy cotton candy.

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Phish from the late 90s, Jack White, Moe., & Trampled by Turtles.

 

 


Sean Lawson
Lawson’s Finest, Warren, Vermont

 

I’ve been brewing since … 1990

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … A good friend in college brought me one of his homebrews, I opened and said "Wow! You made this? Show me how!" A homebrewer was born.

 

My first batch of beer was … A maple wheat ale.

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery is … The Maple Tripple and the two World Beer Cup awards it earned hanging on the wall.

 

I define the perfect beer as … Exactly what I was craving right now!

 

The most unusual beer I’ve ever brewed is … Acer Quercus—a collaboration with the Bruery that included Vermont maple syrup, California date sugar, custom smoked malt, rye and chocolate rye malt, flaked oats, oak cubes, and two yeast strains!

 

I find inspiration in … Walking in the mountains.

 

I can’t make beer without … Good music and high quality ingredients.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … Making people happy.

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … Having to say "no."

 

If brewers had superpowers, mine would be … Transforming myself into a hop.

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Am sleeping.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … Follow your passion.

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … Always make the highest quality brew you can.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … Hopalicious.

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Old-school blues.

 

If I wasn't making beer I’d … Be a naturalist.

 



Peter Bouckaert
New Belgium, Fort Collins, Colorado

I’ve been brewing since … 1986

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … I saw the students at the brewery lab in the University of Ghent working with boots transferring beer with hoses.

 

My first batch of beer was … St-Gilbertus, an abbey beer named after our brewery professor Gilbert Baetsle.

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery is … Where we have taken New Belgium as a business role model.

 

I define the perfect beer as … The first sip is followed by a “Wow!”

 

The most unusual beer I’ve ever brewed is … A lager, Blue Paddle, in an ale brewery.

 

I find inspiration in … Everything—sounds, smell, listening, sensing, tasting, thinking, seeing.

 

I can’t make beer without … A twist as a signature.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … The camaraderie between breweries and brewers.

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … Packaging, since in most cases it’s the start of the deterioration of the beer.

 

If brewers had superpowers, mine would be … Used to reduce energy consumption in brewing.

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Am drinking too much coffee.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … Forget the past from time to time (Antoon Lietaer).

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … Is think about the shape of the glass you will drink it from, it will change your life.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … Complex harmonious tartness.

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Raymond van het Groenewoud of course, who else?

 

If I wasn't making beer I’d … Have to search for another creative outlet.

 

 

 

John Kimmich
The Alchemist Pub & Brewery, Waterbury, Vermont

 

I’ve been brewing since … I was in college, 20 years now...

 

I knew I wanted to make beer when … I made my first batch. I just loved it from the start.

 

My first batch of beer was … A porter that I brewed with my brother-in-law. He homebrewed in the early ’80s, and I convinced him to try it again. I am now in the process of convincing him to go pro.

 

My proudest accomplishment at the brewery is … Making it to work every day. Well, most days.

 

I define the perfect beer as … One that I want to have four or five of in a sitting.

 

I can’t make beer without … Barley, hops, water, yeast and Slayer.

 

My favorite thing about making beer is … The smell—one of the best smells on earth, in my opinion.

 

My least favorite thing about making beer is … When I smash a body part on something stainless steel.

 

When I’m not drinking beer I … Am usually asleep.

 

The best piece of brewing advice I’ve ever received is … Don't be a jerk.

 

One thing I tell others about making beer … Is to read the part in Greg Noonan's book about water treatment.

 

If I was a flavor I’d be … Delicious. And a bit salty.

 

My brewing soundtrack includes … Just about everything under the sun. Especially Milli Vanilli and Barry Manilow—they're the best!

 

If I wasn't making beer I’d … Be dead in a ditch.

 


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