What is your current position at your brewery and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the owner and brewmaster of Urban Growler Brewing Co. in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve been a home brewer since the 1990s. While vacationing in Minocqua, Wisconsin, I saw a brewer pull out some spent grain and asked him if he needed an assistant. I started brewing on a 7 barrel system. The brewery was over 100 degrees, I was covered in yeast and cereal, and I knew this was going to be my life. My partner, Jill Pavlak, and I moved to Davis, California so we could attend the Master Brewers program. When I returned to Minnesota, I apprenticed at Summit Brewing. My partner and I dove into the craft beer industry, completed our business plan, and opened Urban Growler in July 2014.
What’s new at Urban Growler?
We won the Business of the Year award for our local chamber in 2019; Business of the Year 2019 for the local LGBT chamber; MN Women’s Press favorite brewery: and just took third place at our local guild’s Brewers Cup Awards for our De-Lovely Porter.
What’s the best part of being part of the craft brewing community?
It’s such a unique industry. We’re all connected for the greater good of the craft beer community. We’re all in competition for storage space at liquor stores, but most breweries will definitely help you out. I also love the science behind brewing beer. I am very passionate about the whole process.
Name a favorite beer-food pairing.
A good burger and fries with maibock.
What is your greatest achievement unrelated to your job?
I got my masters degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Completed a 10.5 mile run with my best friend – we biked, canoed and ran. It was brutal and memorable.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
Märzen of Sudwerk Brewing Co. in Davis, California and Pseudo Sue of Toppling Goliath in Decorah, Iowa.
What do you like to do during your time away from the brewery?
Play golf and pickleball. Spending time with my partner and her family playing cards and eating (they like to eat).
What is the most memorable travel destination where you had the opportunity to taste the local beer?
When I worked in the medical device industry, I traveled to Slovakia. I learned to say beer in Slovak: pivo.