Ozzy Finnegan is the head brewer at the 4KD Crick Brewery in Defiance. The tasting room and brewery, which uses a 3.5-barrel system, opened in September. It focuses on Ohio-made beers, wines and spirits.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I became a brewer due to an extremely lucky opportunity. I have been into craft beer since I was 16 years old. Unfortunately, I could not afford it all of the time back then. I moved to Colorado at 18 and was lucky enough to meet a friend who worked for Great Divide. My craft beer game exploded at that point. I started working for a martini bar and began to learn a lot about proportions. A little of this. A little of that. A lot of this. And boom, you have a magnificent martini.
I feel the same way about beer. A little of this malt. A lot of this. A smidgen of hops here. A plethora of hops there. And boom, you have an amazing beer.
Obviously, it's a little more complicated than that, but it really comes down to having a scientific mind mixed with some crazy ideas. I became a brewer due to my love for science and alcohol.
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: In all honesty, I am new to the brewing world and I do not think the highlight has come just yet.
I did get the pleasure to meet Brad Clark from Jackie O's and he has always been somewhat of a role model of mine. I'll never forget the time I first had Champion Ground and wondered how he did it. How do you create something so delicious? I have been in touch with him a few times and am very grateful for the advice he has given me.
Q: Northwest Ohio finally seems to be finding its footing with locally made craft beer, as more breweries are opening. Why do you think that region of the state has been behind others when it comes to craft breweries?
A: Northwest Ohio seems to be fairly far behind in most cultural trends. I feel our location has a bit to do with it. We are two hours away from a major city. So it seems the trends coming from the coasts trickle in very slowly.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: I sell three different styles of beer the most. The blonde ale seems to sell to a lot of the locals due to it being the most approachable style. We also sell the Ole Ransom, our Russian Imperial Stout, and the Green Mountain, our New England-style IPA.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: Champion Ground. It was a groundbreaking beer for me. One of those moments where you take your first sip and just think "How is this even possible?" And then you take your last sip and wish for more. The mouthfeel alone makes this beer top notch, then you add the flavor, and it takes it to an impossible level.
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