Brewmaster at North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg, CA
Years Brewing: "Geez, does that include homebrewing? My first home brew was March 1, 1990, so in that case 28 years. The "internship" at North Coast Brewing began on August 5th 1992, so 25 plus years professionally."
Favorite North Coast Brew: "Ruedrich's Red Seal Ale. This is a perfect beer, being both malty and hoppy, not too strong, not too light. As the description goes, a perfect marriage of malt and hops. If I can only have one beer for the rest of my life, Red Seal is it."
Favorite Type of Beer: "That's a tough one, there are so many. I hate "favorite" questions. Favorites for me change with time but I currently am hung up on German styles as my palate seems to have shifted from love of hops to love of malt. I'll say this, my favorite type of beer is any well-made, fresh beer."
1. What are you drinking when you're not drinking your own beer?
“I only drink my own beer. Quite literally, I drink mostly home-brewed beers I made myself. I have a German-style Doppelbock and a Bamburg-style Smoked Marzen on my Kegerator now. I'm a home body and rarely go out to bars and such. When I do get out there, I usually order a stout."
2. What got you into brewing?
“It's in the genes. My dad was a home-brewer and I recall the smell of the boiling wort wafting up to my second floor bedroom as a kid. Later, while studying microbiology at Cal Poly, I came across a side bar in a Food Micro text book. It piqued my interest. I went to my parents’ house and dusted off dad's old homebrew equipment and went from there."
3. What is one thing that you feel sets you apart from others?
“For starters, the man responsible for this company, Mark Ruedrich, is a brilliant pioneering brewer. I am fortunate to have been able to learn from him. He's always instilled a keen attention to detail and, cliché as it sounds, emphasis placed on quality. Of all his attributes, I believe his ability to formulate recipes is his best. He formulated Old Rasputin in a dream and we brewed it without a test brew. It was perfect from the start and we've never changed it. Having been at this for so long, this is our 30th year, also sets us apart from most other breweries. We've seen it all. We've made mistakes and learned from them. We know what works and what doesn't. There is no substitute for experience."
4. Can you please expand on being members of Certified B Corp and TRUE? I've been on many brewery sites and yours is the first that I have seen this. Why is it important to you to be a part of these movements?
“The principles that these certifications acknowledge are principals that Mark, as the leader and founder of our company, has had since I have been here. When I started working here in 1992 we were a small brewpub run by Mark and his wife Merle. The company always had a family feel to it and I think that is why I stayed beyond my 6-month internship. It felt like home. The employees have always been important, it was not just about making great beer and making a profit. Mark is environmentally conscious, he truly cares about the earth and its health, especially the ocean. Our brewery is located in a small, beautifully remote area on the edge of the continent. We work and live here despite the challenges the isolation of sea and mountains bring to the business of making beer. We want to help preserve the beauty of the area, hence the support of Marine Mammal Science with sales our North Coast Steller IPA. We want to do more than make a profit, it is a responsibility all businesses should have. With the power of business, we have a ability to help others - starting with our own employees and extending to the world on environmental and social levels. This is the philosophy of all B Corps and has been our philosophy from the beginning."
5. What is your favorite Flight combination and why?
“So many choices. I don't have a favorite flight combination but there is a logical and artistic way to taste beer. I prefer improvisation and it depends on what the choices are. I like contrasts, like starting with a malt forward beer and going to a hoppy one, how it makes the hops explode on the pallet. Taste a mild wheat beer and then follow that with a Belgian style wheat beer to allow the esters to assault the senses. There are rights and wrongs to tasting beer but there are so many ways to do it."