Jon Koester is the head brewer at the Maumee Bay Brewing Co. in Toledo. Maumee Bay is both a brewpub and production brewery. The brewpub is located in the historic Oliver House, which also is home to Rockwell’s Steakhouse, a couple other small bars, a bakery, small theater and even apartments. There's also a wonderful display honoring Toledo brewing history. The production brewery, which makes Buckeye Beer, is across the street in a separate building.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: That’s a stupid question. Next question. Just joking. I have been trying imported and craft beers since I’ve been 16 years old. I have had a passion for good beer for years and when I learned I could brew at home for cheap, I was all about it. When I started, I got geeked right away.
Q: Maumee Bay is both a brewpub and a production brewery. As a brewer, are there any extra challenges in running both operations?
A: Trying to balance the two breweries can be tough at times. Clint McLaughlin, my assistant brewer, runs the production brewery and I take after the brewpub. We help each other as needed.
Q: Maumee Bay has talked about starting to can its beer. What do you think about the craft in a can movement, which continues to pick up steam?
A: I love craft canned beer. Cans can go where bottles can’t. That alone opens new marketing doors. The beer can’t become light struck, Packaging is far lighter which saves on freight. There are many benefits.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: Buckeye Beer is our best seller. It’s an American lager so it’s very approachable to everyone. It has a rich history dating back to 1838. It’s a great lawnmower brew.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: Not to sound full of myself, but it would be our own double IPA, Amarillo Brillo. If I had to choose someone else’s beer, it would be almost anything from Stone Brewing Co. I love their IRS Stout and their IPA. They’re both really solid brews.