Brewers often say that they “brew the beer they like to drink.” While this is sometimes true, for many professional brewers, brewing schedules evolve with the business. In other words, they often have to brew things they don’t like to drink.
Just as craft brewers will cop to the fact that they drink macro lager every now and then, many opt for something other than their own beer when they’re off the clock.
To find out what brewers are sipping in secret, we asked 10 industry members across the country what they’re really reaching for when they’re not brewing their latest NEIPA.
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“A Saintsbury wine, Margarita, or Gin and Tonic.” — Brock Wagner, Founder, Saint Arnold Brewing, Houston
“Sparkling rosé. I’ll drink it when people are watching, I have nothing to hide.” — James Gentile, Director, Brewery Operations, Victory Brewing, Downingtown, Pa.
“Coors Banquet. Having spent most of my life in Colorado, it’s all too easy to reach for a crisp, refreshing Banquet. Even if it is brewed with corn syrup, I’m still a fan.” — John Schnettler, Cellar Brewer, Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo.
“Gin and Tonics (yes plural) with Tanqueray Gin [and] lemon garnish. If it’s beer, then my go-to is and will always be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Perfect balance of malt, hops aroma, and bitterness for almost any occasion.” — Guy Bartmess, Brewmaster, Garage Brewing, Murrieta, Calif.
“Tiki drinks.” — Phin DeMink, Founder/Owner, Southern Tier Brewing, Lakewood, N.Y.
“When I’m out on the town I drink Live Oak Pilz or Gold. I’ve been lager-obsessed for over 20 years. Skull Mechanix has really good lagers, too.” — Brian “Swifty” Peters, Owner/Brewer, The ABGB, Austin, Texas
“This may sound selfish, but I have some rare aged bottles of beer I only want to enjoy by myself. No distractions, just me and the beer. And yes, I want the whole 12 ounces all to myself! My brother who lives in Michigan gave me some bottles from the area. Some are over 10 years old. Many are limited releases from Bell’s Brewery, one of my favorite breweries.” — Kelly Lynch, Head Brewer, Berthoud Brewing, Berthoud, Colo.
“Modelo.” — Charlie Cummings, Head Brewer, Remnant Brewing, Somerville, Mass.
“As much as I like to try nearly every type of beer, I like simple, light lagers. I always come back to the basics. I’ll grab a 6-pack of Pilsner Urquell because it’s the original, unpretentious, and drinkable. And hey, I’m part Czech! Oh – and I don’t mind if everyone is watching.” — Jason Abbott, Head Brewer, Seedstock Brewery, Denver
“I find myself searching store shelves for new and innovative flavors and styles from breweries all over the U.S. More times than not, I’m looking for West Coast beers — some of my favorite breweries from my old stomping grounds of San Diego are still my top choices, like Modern Times, Pizza Port, and Stone. I like their take[s] on IPAs — both West Coast styles and adaptations of NEIPAs.” — Jon Schorah, Brewer and Brand Manager, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Lewes, Del.