This is the first in a series of Q&As with players in the Ohio beer industry. I hope to provide a new Q&A each Monday. Enjoy.
Eric Bean is the owner and brewer at Columbus Brewing Co. in Columbus. Columbus Brewing, the second-oldest craft brewery in Ohio, won a bronze medal last year at the Great American Beer Festival for its Summer Teeth, a kellerbier. It's also gotten rave reviews for its Hop Odessey program, which involves the brewery releasing a new hoppy beer on draft each month. Columbus Brewing is a bit of an oddity. It's a restaurant and a production brewery. Nothing strange there. But the brewery and restaurant are owned and operated independently -- even though they share the same building.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: The simple answer to this question is because I got a degree in biological anthopology. In other words, I didn't have a lot of options. Brew beer or go to graduate school. The reason I stayed in the brewing industry is because it challenges me to learn more every day.
Q: What sets Columbus Brewing apart in a crowded beer industry?
A: Along with making world-class beers, we are the only brewery in Ohio with three Elvis impersonators. We may be the only one in the world but I can't prove it.
Q: Everyone must assume being a brewer is a great job -- you get to work with beer. What would surprise people who did your job for a day?
A: That their day job really does suck. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. It is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. You are constantly soaking wet and you spend most of your day scrubbing things. However, you get to make beer. It really is an awesome job.
Q: What’s your favorite beer that you brew and why?
A: I don't have one particular beer that I love the most. I would say that I drink more of our IPA than anything else. It isn't a real complicated reason. I love hops.
Q: Which beer -- any beer in the world -- do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: This is a question that I get a lot. The truth is I love beer. I like to try everything that I can get my hands on. There are so many great beers and so many creative brewers making them, I'm just happy to get to try them and inspired to create my own interpretations.