How did you get into brewing?
Well, my grandfather was a brewer for Falstaff beer out in Arizona. My dad worked there for a little while but quit because the job didn’t pay too much. [Laughs] Mainly home brewing though; I wanted beer, and I was under 21. Plus, I’m kind of a science nerd, and when you’re a nerd, the best way to make friends is to get some beer.
So, do you still brew at home?
Yeah, I have a beer cellar in my old house in St. Louis. It sucks though because I rented it to my 21-year-old nephew. As you probably guessed, I went back over Christmas, and he had just annihilated my collection. Really rare brews were down there. He even drank this Expedition Stout that I had been aging for a couple of years. The worst part is that he doesn’t even know what he is tasting!
I’m sure he made lots of friends having a brewmaster for an aunt. Speaking of, how rare are female brewers?
It’s getting less and less rare. If you look up a website for the Pink Boots Society (www.pinkbootssociety.org), a group of female brewers all over the world, they have a list that you can look at. I want to say they have 30 or 35. I think a couple of them worked for Anheuser-Busch.
What’s your favorite part about making beer?
Drinking it. C’mon, you could have answered that one for me!
If Knoxville was a beer, what beer would it be?
[Laughs] It’s a college town, so I think it would be a light beer. It’s just that I haven’t had much Knoxville beer. Do they make a moonshine beer?
I’m not sure.
Well, I think that’s definitely what it would be. This old man gave me some moonshine once, and it just burned straight through my chest. People around here were telling me to light it on fire and watch for a blue flame to burn before I drank it. That stuff is wild.
What’s the wildest beer you’ve ever made?
I made a jalapeño beer once. It was awwwww-ful! It was really spicy. My old brewery in St. Louis released it in August when it was still hot outside.
I can’t imagine what that tastes like. Did it sell?
No, it just sat there. It did not sell. It just burned all the way down. Not in a good way. You could only drink one, and that’s not really good for business.