Creativity in a Can
I chose my major because creating beer was simply another medium for me. There is artistry tied in with technology. One influences the other. I hope to create new and exciting styles of beer that will push the boundaries of what is currently the norm. I spent a good chunk of my youth prepping for my first career in the computer graphics animation industry and I was very successful during my first round of college readying myself. Once I was in that first career, I again excelled and reached the top. Realizing there was no more room for growth was the biggest shock and I had to find a way to reinvent myself. Fortunately, I knew whatever I fell into next was going to be something creative. I knew I could take those creative skills and direct them toward the next thing.
The labs in the College of AgSci have provided the most hands-on experiences, especially cheese-making in the dairy labs. Taking milk and turning it into Camembert was one of the coolest things I have done during my time at OSU.
I am most passionate about creating new things from scratch, or going out and doing an extreme thing that not a lot of people are doing. I am currently the head brewer at a new brewery here in Corvallis, called Dirt Road Brewing (now with a taphouse in Philomath, OR). We are considering ourselves a "farmhouse brewery" meaning we are aiming to make beer out of ingredients grown on our farm. In past summers I grew, threshed and malted my own barley. It is an incredibly labor intensive process, but we hope to yield a super uniquely-flavored beer.
Tapping Local Knowledge
I have done internships at both Flat Tail Brewing and Block 15 here in Corvallis. The most valuable part was understanding brewing at a production level versus a home brewing level. Working on a canning line or a bottling line or scooping hundreds of points of spent grain out of a mash tun really gives you perspective for the scales of economy that a brewery must have to be profitable.
Looking to the Future
In five years I see myself having grown Dirt Road Brewing into something where people will travel long distances to find our beer, on site. I really want to develop this brewery into a destination brewery. We are located on a farm where we are trying to utilize as many ingredients grown on the farm as possible, including the wild yeast and bacteria in the air. All of the wine, beer, distillation, microbiology and chemistry classes have been an immense help for troubleshooting any problems I have encountered.