In this line of work, you're never in it for the money, because you're basically making minimum wage, working long hours. You start at the bottom, and it's really no fun spending 4, 10 hour days in a row staring at a keg washer. So you're not doing it for the money, you're doing it for the beer and for the people around you and your community.
I left Elysian Brewing Company when I was fairly young, around 30. I have no kids, and my wife has a super stable job, so this was kind of the time to sacrifice my life to start up. I didn't have any bills and didn't have to worry about providing for anyone else. It was the time to do it.
I'm responsible enough to try it, but irresponsible enough that if shit hits the fan, nobody else is taking the fall with me.
Brewing is such a humble business that it takes a lot for me to even pick my head up and think, 'Oh, shit! Your dream is actually happening right now."
I don't allow myself to do that because you don't want that to affect the beer. We've got to continue to get better."
My Cloudburst Order
"We're a couple blocks from Pike Place Market, so we really get to see what fruits and vegetables and spices are in season and what farm they come from. It makes you feel so much more connected to the source. We do a Saison with market sourced fruits and spices that are just at the whim of what we see when we're walking through. We try not to think about it beforehand, so we can just say, 'This looks awesome right now. Let's use it in a beer.'"
Best Advice I've Received
"I've always been told to just give things a try. To give it your best shot first, see how that goes and react accordingly.
Don't be scared, because if things don't work out, you can just learn how you can get better.
If you're not learning from everything you do, you've stopped growing."
My Advice for Others
"Work in the industry you want to be in and start at the bottom so you can learn how to do everything the right way. It's easy to be given advice, but actually watching it through the actions of others is a real difference."
What I Love Most about Seattle
"There's nothing not to love about Seattle. The scenery is gorgeous; you're sandwiched between mountain ranges with the sound and lakes thrown about.
The atmosphere is liberal and inclusive and innovative, and people put a lot of emphasis on locally sourced goods and independent small businesses too. Throwing all of that together works out to be a pretty desirable place to live."
"A lot of our beer names and inspiration come from short fiction stories, like George Saunders or Adam Johnson or David Foster Wallace. Things that get your mind outside the box and thinking a different way, that we can then bring that back to beer. We just named one of our beers after George Saunders 'Escape from Spiderhead' from his recent collection called the Tenth of December."