Beer Alien, being fascinated with all things beer, has begun interviewing the local brewers in order to better understand the humans that make the beer we love so much. Through these interactions we hope to better understand and appreciate beer and the humans involved in making it.
Ryan Brooks – Head Brewer at Coronado Brewing Company
Michael Beer Alien: How long have you been a professional brewer?
Ryan Brooks: 6 years
Michael Beer Alien: What is your favorite part of the job? least favorite part of the job?
Ryan Brooks: My favorite part of the job is trying new techniques and having them be successful! My least favorite part is not having enough ingredients which sometimes includes hops! Its hard to get new and exciting varieties.
Michael Beer Alien: How has your opinion of brewing beer changed from when you were a home brewer to now being a professional brewer?
Ryan Brooks: Being a professional brewer is a lot less stressful because I have the experience now to know what works and what doesn’t work. I am much more confident now, because of my background and experiences with home brewing.
Michael Beer Alien: When did you realize you wanted to be a professional brewer and how long after realizing did it take you to become a professional brewer?
Ryan Brooks: I realized I wanted to be a professional brewer when I gave my beers to a brand new brewery opening up. They rated my beers very highly and ended up giving me a job! I didn’t realize at the time I wanted to be a professional brewer, but the opportunity fell in my lap so of course I had to take it!
Michael Beer Alien: Share your most interesting brewing disaster.
Ryan Brooks: My most note worthy brewing disaster was creating our Señor Saison for the GABF ProAm brewing competition. The grain was milled in the day before and no one noticed the mill was running backwards! I had over 1,000 pounds of grain in the hopper unmilled, so I had to divert the auger into a second kettle, jump inside with a 5 gallon bucket and some trash cans to collect all the dry grain and re mill it. It made for a long and dusty day!
Michael Beer Alien: For other home brewers that want to make the change, what advice would you give to them?
Ryan Brooks: Enter lots of competitions, take constructive criticism, and learn to brew a wide variety of styles!
Michael Beer Alien: On your days away from the brewery, what activities do you indulge in?
Ryan Brooks: I enjoy walking around the neighborhoods of San Diego and checking out new places to eat and drink.
Michael Beer Alien: Do you have an experience that stands out above all others during your time as a a professional brewer?
Ryan Brooks: I have brewed in Australia prior to working at Coronado Brewing Company. There I gained very valuable experience in large scale brewing. It definitely stood out.
Michael Beer Alien: How long did you home brew before you became a professional brewer?
Ryan Brooks: 1 year.
Michael Beer Alien: Do you still home brew?
Ryan Brooks: I only get to home brew a few times a year because I have a very busy schedule!
Michael Beer Alien: What was the first beer you brewed? What do you remember about the experience? (Come on, we all know the first time is an experience)
Ryan Brooks: I did my research so I brewed two in one weekend! An American IPA and a Northern English Brown Ale. I was a little nervous, and I was very worried about sanitation, but we all know that’s one of the most important things about brewing!
Michael Beer Alien: If you could give one piece of advice to new home brewers, what would it be?
Ryan Brooks: Understand ideal fermentation temperatures, pitching rates, and treat yeast the way you would want to be treated! With lots of good food and a clean cool environment!
Sounds like Ryan has had some similar experiences to myself in brewing. And, as we have been seeing, brewers have to be creative in every facet of the job because something is always going wrong. But, that is part of the fun of brewing beer. 🙂
Thank you Ryan and Coronado Brewing for the opportunity to share this with our readers.
Be sure to follow us on Social Media as we invade more breweries and discover more awesome craft beers from all over the world! Cheers humans!