Rick Seibt took over earlier this year as the brewmaster at Willoughby Brewing Co. in Willoughby. The brewpub, located in a former rail car repair building downtown, is worth a visit for one beer alone. There are plenty of other reasons, of course. But the Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter is one of the most unusual beers made in Ohio and a must-taste for those who enjoy sampling something different.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: My intense passion for good beer led me to it. I started drinking imports and craft beer in the late 80’s and began home brewing in 1990 after a trip to Great Lakes Brewing. I kept wanting to learn and brew more. It’s awesome to be able to go to work and do something you love.
Q: What sets Willoughby Brewing apart in the crowded beer industry?
A: We’re located in a unique setting, and we offer our customers a wide range of quality craft beer, entertainment, great food and a banquet room. Downtown Willoughby itself has become the craft beer destination in Lake County, offering over 60 different craft beer taps within a 5-minute walking radius.
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: The brewing is only a small part of the job, considering the transferring, cleaning, cellaring and packaging/dispensing aspects. Add in the business side of scheduling brews, ordering ingredients, developing new recipes, managing keg sales to simple things like ordering growlers -- there’s a lot that can draw your focus away from the beer if you’re not careful.
Q: What’s your favorite beer that you brew and why?
A: I’m a big fan of our Hopnotic Double Red IPA. I love the balance of the malt profile with the piney, citrus hops and the clean finish. We came up with that beer as a special one-time brew, but in 2012, it will be around more often.
Q:. Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: I’ve got a laundry list of favorites, but I’d have to say that I wish I created Schneider Aventinus. It’s a beautifully complex weizenbock. It’s a work of art in a bottle and a showcase of German brewing.