1. Where is your brewery?
We're located at 87 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA. We used to be at 3 Charlton St, Everett, MA, but recently expanded from the old 2,400 sq. ft. spot into a very spacious 16,000 sq. ft. location with a taproom the size of our old spot. Essentially, just outside of Boston.
2. What was the first beer you had that made you realize craft beer was going to be a bigger part of your life?
There were two moments, actually. One was the drunken bet with an old neighbor that got me started homebrewing years ago. The other was the moment I tasted the first beer I had brewed...and subsequently lost the bet. The beer was insanely awful, but it lit the biggest fire under my tush to just keep trying harder and harder. Haven't stopped striving to be a better brewer since that first magnificent failure of an Octoberfest. I just shivered thinking about it...blegh.
3. What is your favorite style to brew and Why?
Barrel-aged mixed-fermentation farmhouse ales. So that'd be where you pitch Brett and/or bacteria at the same time as your primary yeast. The whole process is very time consuming, as it takes months to fully mature, but the finished product is so enjoyable. We just packaged one, actually, so that's pretty great timing (Farmer's Funkadelic is the current working name). The style is so wide open and easily manipulated by time and blending. Each barrel turns out slightly different, and the blending to create a harmonious union of flavor and complexity is easily the best part.
4. If you were stranded on an island (with a working refrigerator that automatically replenished itself) and you could only have one beer for the rest of your life in that fridge, which would it be?
Wow, that's a really good question. If it was canned and super fresh, probably RPM from Boneyard. Seriously, though, I'd love it if they ever get on that canning train...and then send some here.
5. What is your favorite music to listen to in the brewery?
There's always a bunch of us in the production space, so we usually go for Alternative/Rock radio stations on the interweb. I'll throw out a few bands we usually cycle through: Surfer Blood, Har Mar Superstar, Cold War Kids, Tame Impala, Modest Mouse, Cake, Mr. Gnome, STRFCKR, Cut Copy, Hot Chip, Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arcade Fire, Family Crest.
6. Which other brewery has inspired you the most? Why?
Oh man, I'm gonna go ahead and list 3, because there's literally no way I could choose just one.
1) Lost Abbey - Tomme Arthur is the man, Gwen Conley is doing amazing things with their QC program on a consistent basis, and the entire staff is just incredibly welcoming and thoughtful. Great group of people making really killer beers. Their flagship offerings are great, but their barrel program, Brett program, sour program, and experimental beers are really where they shine. Essentially, they make great straight-forward beers, and killer "niche" stuff.
2) Jester King - Every single person there is insanely kind and knowledgeable. Seriously, every correspondence with them leaves me with more knowledge and a HUGE smile. Plus, their transition of moving to strictly using a house culture of wild yeast obtained from their land...just whoa. One of the ballsiest moves from a brewery as of late, and they're absolutely killing the game in terms of reinventing the wheel. They're constantly using innovative techniques most other breweries are terrified of, and they have such an impressive brand. All-around champs.
3) Ale Apothecary - Paul Arney is just doing such amazing things with a seriously small setup. All wild ales? Practically the only time it touches metal is in the kettle? Everything is barrel-aged for extended periods of time? You fell a tree and carved it out to use as a lauter tun? Paul also runs a really open and forward attitude with his brand. It is just so refreshing to see someone so open about the struggles he's going through in order to create such an amazing product. Totally humbling.
7. Single hop beer – which hops are you using?
Pacific Jade or Southern Cross. Just the best spread of spice/fruit from each of them. So good!
8. Where is your favorite place to get a beer after work and why?
Probably Cambridge Brewing Company. Will Meyers is the man and Jay Sullivan runs a really tight ship. Solid barrel program and always a great tap list. Plus, ya know, support local. Honestly, though, most after-work beers end up happening here. We're all huge beer nerds and end up sharing our absurd cellar collections pretty often, haha.
9. What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who thinks they want to get into the craft beer industry?
I hate it when people say this, but that person probably has no idea as to what they're getting into. I mean that in the nicest way possible, and certainly don't mean to deter anyone from ever following their dreams. That being said, this job is literally 90% cleaning and scrubbing. The craft beer industry is basically comprised of glorified janitors that just so happen to know a thing or two about fermentation. How much do you love cleaning tanks and sweating for 12 hours or more in 80%+ humidity? Is that totally and completely your jam? Blue collar work at it's finest, and it certainly isn't perceived that way by the average person. Having said that, this is the most rewarding and gratifying job I've ever had, absolutely no contest. I'd never trade it for anything in the world, and I haven't regretted it for a second.
10. Dogs or cats?
Dogs. No contest.