Reflection: Passion for Brewing Beer

It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago, hanging out in my friend Steve’ kitchen watching him pour malt syrup into an oversized pot, would eventually lead me down the path of starting my own brewery.  That evening was the first step toward what would become an obsession and passion to make better and better beer.  Along the way, I have learned a lot about the process and artistry of brewing beer.  I have watched as other friends have started and quit the hobby while I kept going, making my own set of mistakes and lucky experiments.  It’s been a journey that is about to take a very exciting next step.

I’ve always loved to cook, which is part science, part creativity, and part magic.  So when I got introduced to a hobby that involved cooking but the end result was beer, I couldn’t get enough.  I knew I was in trouble when my wife walked into our tiny apartment and found me and my friends brewing on a 80,000 BTU burner, and casually mentioned that it was a good thing we didn’t burn down the place or asphyxiate ourselves in the process.  Sure, cracking a window open would have been a good idea, but we were too busy BREWING!

I owe a lot of my passion and appreciation for beer to Chico State University (yes, the punch lines practically write themselves).  Sure, I had my share of cheap frat party beer, which was intended more as a means to an end; but during my tenure at CSU, I was also introduced to Sierra Nevada which had opened their new brewery and taproom.  Suddenly I had access to local, high quality beer, and it was a revelation.  Before that I had no idea there were seasonal beers, or sour beers, or beers with real flavor, but I wanted to try them all.  I, with the rest of America, was riding the first craft beer wave.

People say there is a fine line between a hobby and an obsession.   Over the years I’ve definitely bounced between the two.  In the past few years, the obsession side has dominated in the quest to perfect and experiment with new recipes.  The kernel of the idea for our brewery started after a particularly good run of beers that I brewed got ecstatic feedback.  I have always been able to make more beer than I can reasonably drink, and I love sharing my brews with family and friends.  But this feedback was different.  It wasn’t the usual polite comments you would expect your family and friends to give.  This was, “wow, this is GOOD.”  The little voice in my head started to ask, “what if you could share with a bigger audience?”

I’m a family man first, and making sure my family is well taken care of has always been a priority.  To this end I have been a “working man” for the last 22 years.  And in order to make this venture successful, I will remain a “working man”.  The brewery is an outlet of sorts; for creativity, for art, and for sake of making something that is mine.  The end product is really a dedication to the working men and women out there that day in and day out strive to do what it takes to keep going.  So from one working man to another, our beers are a tribute to everyone that has a passion for what they do.  It’s no coincidence that our motto is “We are working hard for your beer”.

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