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.
We had the distinct pleasure of talking with Phil Leinhart from Brewery Ommegang
Beer Alien: How long have you been a professional brewer?
Beer Alien: What is your favorite part of the job? Managing a process with a Team to make the best beer we can least favorite part of the job?
Beer Alien: How has your opinion of brewing beer changed from when you were a home brewer to now being a professional brewer?
I never really was a home brewer, I got a job in a brewery right out of college. But my opinion of brewing beer has changed much over the years. When I was young, especially before I entered the industry, I was very opinionated and a bit of a “know it all”. I realize now I was relatively clueless then. Working in several breweries of varying sizes has been a bit of a humbling experience in a sense, but in a good way. Now, I learn something new about brewing almost every day.
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?
I realized about half way through college that I wanted to go into brewing, so finished my junior and senior years then got a job at The Manhattan Brewing Co., one of the first brewpubs.
Beer Alien: Share your most interesting brewing disaster.
I worked at a brewery where a brewer undid the wrong clamp on a tank outlet and we lost the whole tank of beer.
Beer Alien: For other home brewers that want to make the change, what advice would you give to them?
Continue homebrewing, read as much technical books and literature as you can, enroll in a Brewing School and try to get an apprenticeship/job in a brewery.
Beer Alien: On your days away from the brewery, what activities do you indulge in?
Spend time with family, golf, cycling.
Beer Alien: Do you have an experience that stands out above all others during your time as a a professional brewer?
I’ve learned a lot at all the breweries I’ve worked for but I’d have to say my time with Anheuser-Busch was the most informative and educational. I worked with a lot of very smart, experienced and knowledgeable people there.
Beer Alien: How long did you home brew before you became a professional brewer?
None, maybe when I retire 🙂
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)
Probably an English-style Bitter at Manhattan Brewing Co.
Beer Alien: If you could give one piece of advice to new home brewers, what would it be?
Read professional brewing textbooks and literature, not just stuff geared towards home brewers.
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!