Friday, September 3, 2010

Brewer of the Week

This week our brewer is the founder of the Freetail Brewing Company, a brewpub in San Antonio, Texas. So without further ado, I give you....

Name: Scott Metzger, Founder and CEO
Brewery: Freetail Brewing Co.

How did you get into brewing as a career?

I was a homebrewer and huge beer geek that wanted to wake up every day and look forward to going to work doing something I believe in. In New Year’s Eve 2005 I promised myself to open my own brewery. We opened in November 2008 and to this date it’s the only New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever kept.

What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?

I’m an economist by trade and training. I don’t think this is a fair question because, like the economist, the brewer is part scientist, part artist. There are successful brewers who make incredible beers by leaning towards one of those characteristics over the other (in his homebrews, our assistant brewer John refuses to take any readings or document anything – a habit he thankfully doesn’t carry over to the brewery). Who’s to say which is most important? Because it’s a rule at our brewery, I’ll just say that the most important characteristic of a brewer is that he have a beard.

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

I was a homebrewer for 5 years before the brewery opened. Exactly zero recipes have I ever even considered to convert to full scale production. I made mostly clones of my favorite brews, but on a professional level I didn’t want to be a clone of anyone. I have a wonderful brewing team that is really creative and when we sit down and bounce around ideas for a new beer it really pushes me creatively. I also leave the door open for us to brew anything – I’m open to any and all ideas. The only things I’ve vetoed are two styles I don’t particularly care for. My motto is I’m not going to brew and sell something I do like myself.

If you did homebrew, do you still?

Sadly, since the brewery opened I haven’t homebrewed. It’s not for lack of wanting, but lack of time. I love the primal nature that only homebrewing can really offer – working as closely as possible with every aspect of creating the beer. Even for a small brewery like us, some of that gets lost.

What is your favourite beer that you brew?

This is always the toughest question to answer, it’s like picking which of your children is your favorite. For obvious reasons, I drink our sessionable beers the most. Usually if I’m sticking around for a few hours I’ll drink a few different of our lower ABV beers. The beers I’m technically most proud of are our Rye Wit (witbier), Torpor Porter, a robust porter, and Broken Promise Pale Ale (an English pale ale). I think all are world class examples of their style. If I’m sharing with friends, I go to our big beers. Our imperial stout, La Muerta, is unique in that is uses rauch malt, and it’s a beautiful beer.

If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?


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

See #5

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

I think most important is that the brewer is authentic to what he is trying to accomplish. When we make our Spirulina Wit (a naturally green beer) we certainly aren’t being authentic in the traditional sense. We are making a glowing, green beer after all. But we are authentic to our goal, which is to make something people enjoy drinking while pushing their notions of what beer can be.

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

I’d probably pick one of the breweries in my state who I’m friends with. While it would be really cool to collaborate with new people on the other side of the world, there is nothing better than doing something cool with your close friends.

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

I wish I would have invented the first tasteless, mass produced lager so that I could have immediately poured it down the drain before anyone else got their hands on it, saving us from the years of mediocre beer we suffered through in the US after prohibition.

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