What sparked your interest in brewing your own beer?
My quest for the perfect pint led me to start brewing beer in 1994, because it was very hard to find that perfect pint at that time.
When did you first realize you were really onto something with your brewing?
Immediately, when my friends started trying to buy my home brew from me.
What’s different about the way Hoppin’ Frog brews its beers?
We engineer beers, and their design is oftentimes superior, because they are highly developed. Now, my friends say that I am an “engi-beer” instead of engineer. I believe our beers are more sophisticated, balanced, and full-flavored examples of each beer style. They’ve also been designed to be accurately re-duplicatable, for a level of consistency rarely achieved.
How did it make you feel to win your first award?
Excited to get recognition — so much so that I got light-headed, dizzy. My first was in 1996 with my Golding’s Pale Ale home brew at the Grand Beer Fest in Columbus.
How about your first Great American Beer Festival and international recognition?
My first World Beer Cup medal was in 2000 before my first GABF. When the news was released, I remember actually getting dizzy. Yeah, I was pumped with each first time.
Do you still home brew at all?
Yeah, I still home brew. I own Hoppin’ Frog — it’s been my home for 14 years. I practically live there — so yeah, I still home brew. I don’t brew at my residence, but you can have more than one home, right?!
What’s the most rewarding thing about being involved in the craft beer business?
Sharing my unique combination of art and science with people, and getting their reactions.
What’s most challenging?
The business side of the business. When I started Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, I had learned how to brew very well, but didn’t know much at all about how to start or run a business.
In this time of crisis, how does craft beer help bring the community together?
It helps reduce stress and anxiety. More than ever, craft beer now is an affordable luxury — and we have that need, the need to feel taken care of, special, pampered. In general, people can’t afford the fine things in life that they were used to, but a well-crafted beer gives the community that comfort and luxury that they miss and desire.
What does the future hold for Hoppin’ Frog?
A bunch of great, cutting-edge, consistent, kick-ass beers! That’s the only thing we can be sure of right now.
What would you say to the craft beer lover who hasn’t yet tried your beers or visited the tasting room?
Hoppin’ Frog beers have a superior level of quality that is actually being sold in stores, bars and restaurants. This is proven by being ranked as one of “The 100 Best Brewers In The World” now for 13 years in a row on the world’s largest consumer beer-rating website RateBeer.com. Those are from millions of consumer ratings of beers that are purchased throughout the world, instead of specially brewed for contests. So they are the best representation of quality that can be purchased in the craft beer marketplace. That’s exactly what its all about – superior quality in the craft beer lover’s glass!
The Tasting Room at Hoppin’ Frog is a showcase for our beers, and offers fun, adventurous dishes that capture the flavor of the seasons, as well as a vast array of the highest quality Hoppin’ Frog beers on tap and to-go. With an experienced and enthusiastic staff in the kitchen, the focus is on freshness and vibrant flavors by using superior-quality meats and cheeses to make 12 to 15 tasty offerings, including appetizers, sandwiches and entrees. And, with 24 taps plus a special Rare Beer List at the bar, guests can order 5-, 8- or 16-ounce glasses of many Hoppin’ Frog beers on tap, and can get over 20 types in bottles, cans or kegs to go.