Friday, June 25, 2010

Brewer of the Week

The Brewer of the Week today is one of America's newest craft brewers, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Name: Jonathan Baker
Brewery: Monday Night Brewing


How did you get into brewing as a career?

Frankly, we stumbled upon it. We were in a bible study and started brewing beer four years ago as a way to get to know each other better. Three of us (Joel Iverson, Jeff Heck and myself) really took to it and we set upon the path of making this our career. It’s been a fun ride.

What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?

We’re still in startup mode, hoping to launch this fall, so the most important characteristic is still TBD. But being very precise about processes and flavors has served us well thus far. Flexibility has also helped, as a brewer (particularly a startup brewer) has to wear many different hats.

Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full scale production?

We still homebrew as a way to test batches to get to full-scale production. All of our recipes start out as homebrew before they make it to the big system.

If you did homebrew, do you still?

Yep.

What is your favourite beer that you brew?

I’m going to say our imperial pumpkin beer. Brewing with pumpkin is just fun, even if it takes a little longer. I love all the colors and spices we get to work with.

Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?

It totally depends on who you ask. I love our Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale. Jeff is more of a hophead, he loves the Eye Patch Ale.

How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavour, ingredients and method?

Is this a trick question? I’m going to say NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL. Just joking. “Authenticity” can be a pretty broad term. But we think it’s imperative that we are authentic to ourselves and our vibe with all of our beers. We want to brew flavorful, balanced beers that can stand on their own or blend seamlessly into a meal. And we have this in mind whenever we approach a new recipe.

If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?

I’d actually like to work with an up-and-coming Southern distillery here in America, like Corsair Artisan or Firefly Distillery. We love our home and would relish the challenge of working with other new Southern companies to see what we could do to combine flavors and methods to create something uniquely Southern and uniquely us.

Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?

There are a million and one different beers out there, and it’s so great to try new beers and get a little bit of each brewer’s personality in each sip. That’s the beauty of this industry. Everyone tries everything and learns from everything. I don’t think there’s one particular beer that we wish we’d invented. We want each beer we brew to define who we are and what we’re about, so we wouldn’t ever consider taking that away from another brewer.

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