Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Changing The Guard

My first, and so far only, paid job in the beer world was working in the Starr Hill tasting room. As is obvious from the previous sentence, that is something that is now in the past. After five and half years of serving flights, pouring pints, giving tours, and being the 'gregarious Scotsman with a wry wit', I left Starr Hill back in December. The reason? More than anything I felt as though my time there was done, and also the utterly selfish delight of having 2 day weekends after a week at my regular job.


Today I got news which made me sad. The founder of Starr Hill, Mark Thompson has decided to retire from the brewery to pursue new opportunities and interests in life. I think that Mark, and Kristen, were the only people still at the brewery from when I started working there in September 2009, so it really does feel like the end of an era, though the beer is in very safe hands with the new brewmaster Robbie at the helm.

I have served Mark many a pint of Northern Lights, Starr Hill's flagship IPA and without wanting this to sound like an obituary, it was a great experience for me to work with Starr Hill and to get to know him.


Mark really is the pioneer of craft beer in Virginia, starting Starr Hill in 1999 and overseeing its growth from a brewpub on Main Street to a production brewery whose beer is available through the Mid-Atlantic region. A brewery that boasts the most award winning dry Irish stout in the USA, Dark Starr, and a raft of awards from the GABF, World Beer Cup, and even the Michael Jackson award at the Great British Beer Festival.

Mark was also gracious enough to do my Brewer of the Week interview, which you can read here.

Cheers Mark! Looking forward to having a pint with you some time.

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