Grant Anklam is the lead brewer at Columbus Brewing Co. in Columbus. The brewery is the second-oldest craft brewery in Ohio and is known for award-winning beers such as Bodhi and Creeper.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: Because I would have made a horrible doctor??
I have always been a musician, so following a life and career that allows me to create has always been extremely important to me. I started homebrewing in college. After a random stop into CBC six years ago, and a couple pints with our owner Eric Bean, I had somehow talked myself into a job. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to obtain a certification from the American Brewers Guild.
I truly love brewing. It's not a glamorous gig and that suits me. I come in every day, listen to music and spend the day creating something with people who are just as passionate. It may sound cheesy but I still have moments of “Holy sh*t, I get to make beer for a living.”
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: Traveling and the comaraderie of the industry has to be the number one highlight. I've been places I never thought I would go, met amazing people, and have always been greeted like a brother. It takes a special person to be in this industry and for that there is a common bond amongst us.
I can think of many moments along the journey that have shaped me as a brewer. However, there are many times I cannot remember and for that I know we rocked it like a hurricane.
Traveling also allows you to talk shop with other brewers and potentially learn new ways to do things (and I also learned to pack more than one set of pants. That’s an important lesson).
I had a great moment this past fall. I brewed a small batch beer called the Great Outdoors for my dad. I tried to create a beer he had always described but never had quite found. It was an easy drinking session beer with a good amount of hop character and malt to balance it out. Somewhat of a hoppy session red. We went on a camping trip shortly after and brought a small keg along. While sitting around the fire and sharing a few pints, I realized that THIS is why I do it. There’s a sense of pride in that. I am just lucky enough to get to do it every day. But I cannot emphasize enough….two pairs of pants.
Q: What advice can you give future brewers to be successful?
A: Listen. If you surround yourself with smart people who have been in the industry for awhile, you should make an effort to take it all in. Trust me, you'll learn something.
Read, research and experiment. Brewing is the perfect balance of science and art. What works for one brewery may not work for yours, but you still should try it.
Document everything and seek and destroy. Have fun with it. Be disciplined and respect the trade but also put your own spin on it. But seriously….two pairs of pants.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: Dang. Best selling and most popular for us may not be the same beer. Our double IPA, Bodhi, would probably have to take the prize though. It sure doesn’t drink like 8.3 percent and that’s why I have always described it as dangerously good. It has everything I want in a double IPA …Tropical fruit notes, pine and citrus combine with a medium body for a nice clean sweet finish. It's just a great example of having fun with beer. Creating a beer that doesn’t drink as big as it is.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: The obvious answer is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It is just ol' reliable. It set the bar for all of us. It's always my “go-to” at a bar that doesn’t have much to choose from in that realm. However, I'd have to pay homage to all those late nights, bad decisions, stupid tattoos, concerts and debauchery of my youth and say Busch Light. Yeah, f-ing Busch Light. And remember, two pairs of pants.
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