One of the great things about owning a brewery is the collaboration. Everywhere you go there is a brewery and someone who is as passionate about brewing as you are. This week we made our way to Guerneville California in Sonoma county and had the pleasure of dropping by Stumptown Brewing and chatting with the owner Peter. Stumptown is a great little seven-barrel brewery that sits right on the Russian River. They have a beautiful deck and their own private beach to make the beer sampling even more enjoyable.
After appropriately opening the visit with some samples of Sutter Butte’s beer, Peter responded in kind with a sampling of several of his brews, and as is almost always the case, we fell into a deep philosophical discussion of the superior position of brewers in the hierarchy of human endeavors. Peter is obviously a man of tremendous character as he is a firm believer in the enlightened status of the zymurgist. He is also quite talented in his skill as a brewer as his beers were unfussy, well crafted, and most importantly crushable.
One of the most interesting points Peter made was how craft breweries are a reflection of the communities they serve. A blue-collar town will have a brewery that has beers crafted for the working man who needs to wash away the hard work of the day with a good easy-drinking beer or two…or three… or you get the idea. In a Silicon Valley-type environment you are more likely to find breweries that cater to those who are looking for something new and innovative and distinctive. Wherever you go, however, the thing that matters is the quality of the product that is being made. A well-crafted beer of any style is what the brewer is striving for. It is the brewer’s passion that comes through in his beer.
For me, the opportunity to be a part of the brotherhood of brewers is perhaps one of the greatest perks of brewing. There is nothing better than discussing the great problems that confront mankind while sharing a beer with a like-minded individual. Even if the discussions don’t always reach that lofty height, you can always depend on a fellow brewer to have a cheerful word and time to enjoy a great brew. In fact, I would even say that you need not be a brewer to enjoy this kind of camaraderie as I have yet to meet a brewer who was not interested in sharing a beer and a good story or two with anyone. Peter at Stumptown Brewing in Guerneville is certainly no exception. Cheers! Scott.