Bob Garza is the brewer and co-founder at Two Bandits Brewing Co. in Hicksville. The brewpub opened earlier this year.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: Well, like most, I started out in my garage brewing from a kit, and I just fell in love with the brewing process. As I started to build my brewing equipment, then going from kits to all grain, and getting more experienced, I just got more and more interested in the art and the learning of new techniques. I would go to a lot of breweries and try to figure out what I was tasting and to see if I could replicate the taste. Then about four years ago, I just started to do my own thing and I've been doing it ever since.
Q: What has been the highlight of your brewing career so far and why was it so special? (Maybe it's been a beer that you brewed, an award that you won, an idol you've met ...)
A: The highlight so far has been watching the expressions of peoples faces when they try our beer. I have to say, it's very humbling when people actually like drinking what you have made. Most of the time they are surprised that they like it, especially when they are not much of a craft beer drinker, and then they turn around and take home a growler on their way out.
Q: What advice can you give future brewers to be successful?
A: Never stop experimenting! Don't let a bad brew slow you down. Lets face it, you're going to brew something that's not going to be popular. Take the time to find out what the people in your area are drinking. My business partner, Mark Young, and I did a lot of research and brewed a lot of different beers. We took them to parties, beer clubs, and fundraisers. We let the people tell us their honest opinion of what they thought, and believe me, some were pretty harsh. Just because I thought something I brewed was awesome doesn't mean the next person will. Always be prepared for criticism.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: Our best-selling beer is the one we call The Killer Bee. We market it as an IPA for people who do not like IPA's. 7.1 percent ABV and 111.1 IBUs. We add honey and orange zest to give it a sweet, slight alcoholic warmth finishing with a citrus taste. The honey and orange really tone down the hops in the beer. At one of the beer clubs we went to and displayed The Killer Bee, there was a long discussion about the beer itself. Was it an IPA or something else? In the end, everyone agreed that it was an IPA. I think that's one of the reasons why it's so popular, because people don't know how to categorize it, and another reason is that people who don't like IPAs can't believe they like it.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: Easily Hoof Hearted South of Eleven. I think that is one of the best IPA's I have ever had. I've only been able to get my hands on one of them but I thought it was amazing! The next one I get I will have to hold onto it for awhile and open it on a special occasion, it's that good!
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