Name: Ryan Adams
Found at: Butler-McCook House & Garden (Hartford)
What did you do before starting at the Olde Burnside Brewing Company?
I started at the brewery just after I finished college. I always thought I knew what I wanted to do in school, but once I got out those plans quickly changed.
What was it that you love or hate most about your previous career and how did it help with what you're doing now?
I had a few small jobs, then interned as a lobbyist. I fought for healthcare reform. I hated how worthless one's opinion is in politics unless billions are behind that idea.
Why beer and why now? For that matter, why brewing?
The craft beer industry continues to grow and flourish. The brewing industry is pretty awesome. There is a camaraderie unlike any other industry. I think it is because we all drink each other's beers, and we like and respect them. As craft beer continues to grow, innovative brewers will continue concocting enjoyable products that are different and inspiring.
What's the business climate like in the area for entrepreneurs?
In Connecticut alone we are at least doubling the amount of breweries this year. That goes to show you how even in tough economic times, the craft beer industry is going strong. While Bud Lite is down double-digits over the last few years, well made, hand-crafted beers with variety, flavor and character are finding their way into fridges and beer cellars everyday. People continue to discover the wide variety of great beer that is handmade in our state and that helps our local community prosper.
The inexpensive product you can't live without?
York peppermint patties. They don't complete me, but they come damn close.
Biggest misconceptions people have about artisan beer?
Oh, where to start? Most non-beer drinkers think all beer tastes alike. They also believe drinking beer is going to make you fat. The one that always gets me is dark beer equals higher alcohol. I always hear “I don't drink beers like Guinness because they get me so drunk.” It's the same amount of alcohol as Bud Lite. I think those people are just afraid of tasting beer, that's all. Artisan beers are even higher on those scales for a lot of folks.
What's your favorite Olde Burnside beer and the ideal way to drink it? Favorite food accompaniment?
Dirty Penny Ale. It is a black and tan, consisting of 60 percent Ten Penny Ale and 40 percent stout. They are blended together in the tank while fermenting. This style is best enjoyed from an English pint glass, and paired with some grilled flank steak, mashed gold potatoes and grilled curried veggies.
What do you absolutely have to have on-hand when having friends over?
Obviously a wide variety of beers. I also like to have some type of food to snack on. Good music is a must, which always includes Zeppelin and more recently some Duck Sauce tossed in.
The character trait you find most attractive in others?
Intelligence. If you can't carry a conversation it's a wrap. Knowing little to nothing about the world or not having your own solid opinions on various matters means you are eye candy, and nothing more.
What are your most treasured possessions?
My amazing family and friends. They make life worth living. But I don't possess those, so I'd have to say my iPhone. I'd be a mess without it. It's sad that it has come to this, but hey, the phone really is awesome.
If you could have any guest at your table, who would you have over for a pint or two of Olde Burnside Brewery?
I'd love to drink a few pints with Napoleon. He was a great mind and one of the best strategists of all time. It was a rough ending for him, but I'd love to pick the brain of one of the most driven men in history. He would also make me feel pretty tall.
What are your thoughts on your namesake's music?
From what I've heard he is pretty talented, but not my type of music. I am a fan of Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Incubus, later stuff from The RX Bandits and the Mars Volta. Give me those bands any day.
Who's hotter, Mandy Moore or your girlfriend?
My girlfriend. I'd be dating Mandy Moore if she was hotter.
What are the benefits of being a brewer over that of being a rock star?
Well in the beer industry we are the rock stars. While being a brewer is hard work, it is extremely rewarding to know that people come home from a hard day at work to drink what you work hard to create. We might not get the money and fame, but we both do what we love and that is what really matters.
What is it that you love most about your job?
I like when people tell me “that's my favorite beer.” It is the ultimate compliment. Hopefully throughout my career I'll make a whole bunch of beers people will be happy to call their go-to.
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