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By Amy McCarthy
What's the greatest misconception about being a brewery owner?
That it's all fun and games. We are still operating a business and deal with the stresses that accompany all small business ventures. Fortunately for me, brewery owner stress pales in comparison to the stress associated with operating a law firm.
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In 2010, there were just two local craft breweries. Now there are more than a dozen. What do you think about the explosive growth of craft brewing locally?
The explosive growth is great. It's helped educate the public about the nuances of craft beer. Had a single brewery opened, it wouldn't have received nearly the attention that has accompanied the opening of multiple breweries. The rash of brewery openings has created a true D/FW craft beer movement that we previously lacked.
What's in your beer fridge right now?
Several New Glarus beers and a ton of other random singles that ended up in there somehow or another. However, the vast majority of beer I drink at home is from a dual tap kegerator. Royal Scandal is always on tap and the other tap is whatever we brewed last. Nothing beats draft beer!
Ever had a colossal brewing mistake? Like a situation where you wanted to laugh and cry all at once.
We've all had them. I don't share them. You'll have to ask Tony Drewry about mine.
Do you have any advice for budding brewers?
(1) Sanitation (2) Sanitation (3) Sanitation.
Have you found any invaluable beer forums, books or tea leaf readings that are great brewing resources?
Yes, the advice of my brewing sensei, Greg Matthews, in Denver. I still rely on him whenever I have any brew questions. Other than that, I rely on members of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild with concern to brewery operations.
What's the hardest part of your job, and, at the other end of the spectrum, the best part?
The manual labor is the toughest part. Brewing in and of itself it a workout. It's not a job for the weak. The absolute best part is creating a product that garners such passion from consumers. Nothing provides me more satisfaction or sense of validation than hearing people tell us that our beer is exceptional. Those words make all the hard work worth it.
Are there any styles, ingredients, trends or brewing processes that you're really excited about right now?
Excellent examples of classic styles excite me more than anything. Trends have a place in the ever changing craft beer landscape, but many of those trends are just novelties that wear thin over time. An exceptionally clean classic style is always my preference.
What's the best beer you've ever had?
New Glarus Belgian Cherry Red. A fellow American Brewers Guild student introduced me to this beer during my training at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont. I had never been a fan of fruit beer, but after one sip, I was hooked. It's made with fresh Wisconsin cherries, and a ton of them. I admire the manner in which New Glarus handles its operations.
What's the most ridiculous or far-fetched thing you've ever done to get beer?
Unlike most beer geeks, I don't go out of my way to find rare or highly rated beers. They ultimately seem to find me so I don't worry about rushing it. If trying a beer entails anything more than going to the local pub or store, I don't try it.