Brewer Bytes With Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
An Interview With Scott Jennings, Research and Development Head Brewer
Posted on 11/14/2012 by Chops
Sierra Nevada is one of the very few craft breweries that is known to beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. They have achieved something that every brewery wants but so few achieve: staying power. They have managed to scale up a quality product to meet the rabid demands of a relentless craft beer movement without sacrificing character. This is no easy feat, which is why Sierra Nevada is so highly respected as one of the industry's primary trailblazers. Ergo, you might say we were positively giddy when Research and Development Head Brewer Scott Jennings took some time out of his craft beer conquest to offer up some Brewer Bytes.

What inspired you to get into brewing?

I was in a transition in my life. I'd just been laid off from my job, wondering what to do--while homebrewing in my garage--and thought, Wouldn't it be great to do what I love doing for a living? I decided to go for it. I didn't want go through life having never sincerely tried to follow my passion.

What is your favorite beer or style to brew?

I like a challenge (although some days it's great to have an easy brew day!). I'd say Pilsner keeps me intrigued because it's surprisingly tough to get just right. I have every respect for brewers making a great Pilsner. It's such a delicate beer that anything short of perfect shows up negatively in the glass. In general, I like brewing beers that require synergy between delicate or intense flavors and unusual ingredients.

What was your best or most rewarding brewing experience?

Working with people--colleagues, collaborators and customers alike. For example, we have a program we call Beer Camp where we host people at the brewery to learn more about brewing and craft beer. It's always fun to share what you know and do with people who are genuinely interested. I learn from it, too.

What are your favorite beers/breweries outside of your own?

I like just about any style that's well-made, and my preference changes by mood and season. I'll highlight a few, though. Gutmann Weizenbock is up there for me. I try to get my hands on anything from Cantillon. Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River and Jeff Bagby--formerly with Pizza Port, now he's opening a new brewpub in San Diego County--they always make superb beers. Steven Pauwels and crew at Boulevard knock it out of the park, too. There are so many great beers out there--too many to name.

Where is your favorite place to enjoy a cold pint?

Outside!

What advice would you give to a new home brewer?

Be meticulous about sanitation, take good notes, have fun and be prepared for people hanging out at your kegerator at all times. (Buy pretzels!)

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

There have never been as many wonderful and different beers available in this country before now. The variety is endless; the quality is great. Try as many as you can!

What is the best thing about being part of the beer industry?

The sense of community and camaraderie. Learning and sharing information. It's an industry packed with great people, great friends and great beers. It's so much fun and so rewarding.

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Scott Jennings, Research and Development Head Brewer at Sierra Nevada
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