Written by John Campbell
A LouisvilleBeer.com EXCLUSIVE!
Pat Hagan, owner of the Bluegrass Brewing Company Brewpubs, is ready for some fresh air. In a bold move to revitalize the BBC, Pat has hired Jeremy Hunt, Head Brewer at the famed Dogfish Head Brewery.
Jeremy’s interest in craft beer sparked in college with his first beer – a Sam Adams Scotch Ale. He learned early that a 6-pack of well-crafted beer trumps a 30-pack of cheap lager every time. Later, he had an opportunity to study in Austria where he stumbled upon the Orval Brewery.
“It blew my mind that monk’s brewed beer,” he recalled during a recent telephone interview. “I think that’s where it all began for me.”
Jeremy returned home and began brewing his own beer.
“I had to nail the style. I would try and try until I felt like I nailed it. Once I nailed it, that would become my recipe for that style and I would move on to the next one.”
Jeremy was winning medals and having a fun as a homebrewer when he realized that he wanted to pursue a career in brewing. During his senior year he started sending job inquiries to breweries that shared his goals and interests. To his surprise, he received several offers. After careful consideration, he chose to begin his venture under Ron Martin at Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswitch, Massachusetts. Like most brewers, Jeremy started his career cleaning kegs and working on the bottling line, but quickly moved into the brewhouse.
Jeremy left Mercury to take a job as Brewer at the Red Hook Brewery in New Hampshire. It was there that he passed the Brewer’s Exam at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and discovered what commercial brewing was about.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Jeremy said. “I learned a lot about brewing. I learned how to brew beer that was consistently the same. That’s a remarkable feat. That’s the hallmark of a good brewer, being able to brew the beer you want consistently the same each time.”
“Brewing is like architecture,” he continued, “it can be beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, but it has to stand.”
Jeremy has been brewing professionally for nine years, the last three at Dogfish Head Brewery. He is proud of his involvement with the Sam Adams/Dogfish Head Collaboration Brew (he suggested using rose water and experimented with rose petals) and helped with several other recipe developments.
“Sam (Calagione) is the mad scientist, but all of us helped tweak the recipes so they would work on a 100 barrel system.”
His own exclusive Dogfish Head creation was a Belgian-style Double IPA appropriately named “Le Kabouter de Guerre” or “The Gnome of War”. While La Chouffe’s mascot is a happy little gnome, this homage to Houblon Chouffe is an angry one that weighed in at about 92 IBU’s and 8.9% alcohol by volume.
Jeremy has enjoyed his time working for Sam Calagione and his experience at the Dogfish Head Brewery, but he is ready to add a new chapter to the story. Brewing on a 100 barrel system for a company like Dogfish Head is an education in itself, but with rapid growth comes repetitive motion. Dogfish Head is slated to double production in the next year and that means cranking out batch after batch just to keep up. Jeremy is ready to embrace the creative side again, the architecture of brewing.
Jeremy’s first goal as brewer at the BBC is to familiarize himself with the beers and brewing operations at the brewpubs. As a self-proclaimed foodie, Jeremy wants to focus on beer and food pairings as well as creating new food-oriented beers. He is excited about the opportunity to expand the Bourbon Barrel beer productions and offer some new twists inspired by his time at Dogfish Head. Together, he and Pat have new ideas in mind and big plans for the future of the Bluegrass Brewing Company.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to the root of things and back to the nitty gritty. It’s time to make my own beer again.”
Jeremy starts work at the Bluegrass Brewing Company’s Shelbyville Road location on November 1, 2011.READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY