What are your brewing inspirations? I like to draw. I always have my favorite beer discoveries of the year. A couple of years ago, it was Bell's Hopslam. I was amazed by it, the freshness of the hops and the balance. I had this great opportunity to talk to [Bell's production manager] John Mallett when we were hosting a cask of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale. He's the right-hand man to [Bell's founder Larry Bell]. It was out of some of our conversation that the [Calypso] DPA [currently on tap] came about.
I always use the same malt and local honey from Santa Fe Honey. We use the same yeast. The only thing that changes is the hops. It's a great way to grow as a brewer, where you're just changing one thing and seeing what's happening. With the Calypso hops, you get these hints of tropical fruit. The hop bitterness is still there, though. The aroma seems kind of sweet, but it's drier in the finish. If you like hops, you'll absolutely like this beer. Last year, I had a chance to go to Bear Republic and try their Double Rocket. I was blown away by that beer. That's why I came home and brewed the first Double Red that McCoy's has ever produced. The great thing was that they [Bear Republic] were willing to sell me a growler. They just told me it would be $60, and I seriously thought about it.
What’s one food you hate? I don't know if there is a food I hate. Maybe raw onions. My wife loves them. I'll eat them sauteed. The sweetness is great. I just can't pin it down, but I can't eat them raw.
What’s one food you love? I love fried eggs or some version of eggs on something. It makes everything taste better. My wife, Julie, is the culinary inspiration in our house. Eggs have been the thing the last two years. I had a Scotch egg out in Portland that was the most amazing Scotch egg ever. It was hard-boiled with a layer of bacon, pancetta and then breaded and deep-fried. It was served with a heavy mayo aioli. And deviled eggs. Three years ago, I discovered that deviled eggs and IPA are fantastic. Another one that's a real surprise is IPA and carrot cake. There's something about the play of sweet and savory.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Oddly, I've been digging rose champagne. Also, I didn't eat bacon until a couple of years ago, and I now love bacon.
Do you have a favorite style of beer? It's always been pilsner. The only recent change is that I shifted from Budweiser Budvar or Czechvar in the States to Zatec. It's this bright beer from the Czech Republic that they have in half-liter bottles at Gomer's and Red X.
What’s always in your beer fridge? PBR, oftentimes a potpourri of friends' homebrews, and right now, a couple sours. Mikkeller Breakfast Stout. Haandbryggeriet — it's from a Norwegian brewer, one of their smoked variety. And some New Glarus. I always beg somebody who is heading to Wisconsin to bring me a little bit back.
What won’t you drink? I'm not real hot on the sour movement. That's probably where there are sours sitting in the back of my fridge. We're working on some sour projects here, but I'm not a big fan of lambics, and I don't accept the new "black IPA." It just doesn't mean anything to me. It's just an overhopped Russian imperial stout.
What’s one book that every brewer should read? Charlie Papazian's The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. It's got everything you need for an intro to homebrewing.
Who’s got the best barbecue in town, and what are you ordering? Oklahoma Joe's. I like that they're the new kids, but they've done so well. I can't eat red meat because it gives me terrible headaches. But I ate the pork and everything else. They have a nice smoked turkey, and I like it completely drowned in sauce. I love sauces. I'm always wanting to dip something in something. I gauge an Italian restaurant based on how good their straight-up marinara is.
What’s your dream destination for drinking and eating? In San Francisco, I happened across a ceviche bar. It was crazy good. And my wife and I went up to Vegas for a few days while Grandma watched the kids. We got off the strip and went to a little bistro in the arts district. It was the best meal we had in Vegas. They do turkeys on an outdoor spit and once a month roast a whole pig. It's about going where the wind takes you. It's always fun to happen across random places.
A brewer is only as good as … His brew, his passion and his ingredients.