The Im­prov Brew­ing Life

Jolly Pump­kin founder and brew­ing vi­sion­ary Ron Jef­fries is a free spirit who em­braces the joy of dis­cov­ery from unan­tic­i­pated re­sults and a con­tex­tual ap­proach to every­thing from brew­ing to his mar­riage. Th­ese six beers (plus a sev­enth of per­sonal im­port

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Pick Six - By Jamie Bogner


I don’t want to be stuck on a deserted is­land,” says Ron Jef­fries. It’s not that he’s afraid of boats—he’s spent plenty of time on them—but that ex­pe­ri­ence is ex­actly why he doesn’t want to risk it now. “Boats break.”

Thank­fully, his 6-pack doesn’t de­pend on be­ing stranded on an ac­tual is­land, as the ex­er­cise is purely the­o­ret­i­cal. And that’s a good thing be­cause Ron—a pi­o­neer­ing fig­ure in the world of Amer­i­can wild beer and mixed fer­men­ta­tion—de­rives as much en­joy­ment from the re­la­tion­ships he’s de­vel­oped with peer brew­ers as he does from the beer he brews him­self. In that con­text, nar­row­ing down a list to only six beers is hard work.

“I spent the past two days think­ing about this list, and the first thing I did was copy all the beers that Jef­frey [Stuff­ings, of Jester King Brew­ery] and Vin­nie [Cil­urzo, of Rus­sian River Brew­ing] put down. But then I scratched them all out be­cause that would clearly just be copy­ing their beers,” he says.

His fi­nal list is part homage, part ode to the peo­ple who in­spire him, and part nod to a new gen­er­a­tion of young, cre­ative brew­ers.

Taras Boulba

Brasserie de la Senne (Brus­sels, Bel­gium)

“Yvan de Baets is a fan­tas­tic brewer and a re­ally nice guy, and the beer is just so light, dry, re­fresh­ing, and hoppy. The way they use hops is dif­fer­ent than any­one in the United States, and if I could fig­ure out how they do that, I’d do that in at least one beer be­cause it’s ab­so­lutely de­li­cious. That’s my one ‘copy­cat’ beer on the list.”

Any Beer

Monk­ish Brew­ing, Tor­rance, Cal­i­for­nia “Henry [Nguyen] started by brew­ing a bunch of mixed-cul­ture beers, and he still does that (and does it re­ally, re­ally well), but what he’s done phe­nom­e­nally well is brew­ing a style of IPA he calls ‘Monk­ish

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