Brewer Bytes With Olde Hickory Brewery
An Interview With Steven Lyerly, Master Brewer
Posted on 10/19/2012 by Chops
North Carolina's craft beer scene is one of the most exciting in the country. It's chock full of ground breaking breweries, high end brewpubs, huge production facilities, and specialized brewers. Steven Lyerly is one such brewer. He is the Master Brewer of the Olde Hickory Brewery out of Hickory, NC. They specialize in handcrafted beers made in small batches, which allows a meticulous attention to detail. Their resulting brews have won numerous awards and are highly regarded throughout the region. We recently caught up with Steven, who was kind enough to offer up some Brewer Bytes.

What inspired you to get into brewing?

I like beer! My room mate from college got a home brewing kit for Christmas, we really got into home brewing; like brewing 1-2 batches a week for a couple years kind of home brewing.

What do you feel sets you apart from other brewers?

The number of different beers we are constantly brewing. We try to keep 8-10 beers pouring all the time and try to have a seasonal or another one-off out every 6 weeks. We are very much a pub brewer at heart. In the mid '90's there were not a lot of commercial examples of many beer styles for folks to try, so we made them and used them to educate the consumer. We still do that! But now, it's a little different. The consumer wants and expects something new all the time. Which is great if you like to keep things interesting and challenging in the brewery, and we do. But, it's also tough to keep up with at times.

What was your best or most rewarding brewing experience?

I would have to say the best and most rewarding experience in the brewing industry has to be the people you meet, and that goes for brewer and customers. It's a great industry to be a part of! Oh! And of course all the great beers you get to try while meeting all those wonderful brewers and beer enthusiasts, can't forget that!

Where is your favorite place to enjoy a cold pint?

In a pub. I feel beer is the best social beverage. I think beer tastes best when I have others to talk and laugh with. I really enjoy sitting down and making new friends while sharing new beers.

What advice would you give to a new home brewer?

Don't give up. Read and learn as much as you can. Join a club and brew with others, see how they do it and let them see what you do. That said; don't always assume they are right. Be focused on the craft and always strive to brew the very best beer you can. But, most importantly enjoy that beer you made and take pride in it.

What advice would you give to a new craft beer fan?

Don't give up. Try as many beers as you can. Understand that you may not like some beers, and that's ok. Read and learn about beer styles and guidelines, but understand that those exist only so we have a way to talk about beers. Some beers may not fit nicely into those guidelines and that's ok, do you like the beer? Go to beer festivals or have bottle sharing events or go to beer release events. Support you local brewers/bars/bottle shops that make or sale craft beers so that they can continue to do so. Introduce everyone you know to craft beers.

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Steven Lyerly, Master Brewer at Olde Hickory Brewery
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