Colin Foy is the head brewer at West Side Brewing Co. in Cincinnati. The neighborhood brewery -- which gets its name from being on the west side of the city -- opened last year. West Side also distributes its beer.

Question: Why did you become a brewer?

Answer: I was working for a start-up when a friend got me a homebrew kit for my birthday. I got into the hobby at about the same time the start-up was falling apart, and so when an opportunity to volunteer at a relatively new brewery came up, I had plenty of time on my hands. That was Yazoo Brewing in Nashville, Tenn., where I worked for about seven years before moving to Cincinnati where I worked at the Samuel Adams brewery in Over the Rhine. Brewing is great because it's an interesting mix of art and science - there's still so much we just don't know about beer - and because the community in general is filled with friendly, down-to-earth people.

Q: What are the best and worst aspects of being a brewer?

A: The best part of being a brewer for me is being able to have something I made and can be proud of. It's great to really enjoy a well-made beer and then see other people enjoy it as well. The worst aspect is the "Which piece of equipment will mysteriously and suddenly fail on me today?" game, which I'm sure all brewers can relate to. Especially in small breweries, where a lot of equipment may be old or used and there's not really a budget for a maintenance staff, sometimes it can seem like playing whack-a-mole just trying to get everything running the way it needs to.

Q: What advice can you give future brewers to be successful?

A: Keep learning everything you can about brewing. Whether you're a small brewpub that needs to have new and different things on tap all the time, or you're brewing the exact same beers every day, there's always new research, new equipment, and new processes being discovered and written and talked about. It doesn't matter if it's reading technical journals or just talking to other brewers about what they're doing, try to pick up something new every day.

Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?

A: Our Common Ale is our taproom's best-seller. It's a crisp, clean blonde ale that comes in under 5 percent ABV. I think it does well because it appeals to a broad range of beer fans, and you can always have a couple without getting overwhelmed. Our Hefeweizen has done really well out in the market since we've started distributing. We really target the clove/phenolic end of the spectrum for German hefs on that one, as opposed to the banana/ester aspect, and it also clocks in under 5 percent ABV. That's our goal: brew technically proficient beers that are drinkable, which means generally drier finishes and appropriate alcohol levels.

Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?

A: Tough one. Orval maybe, it's such an interesting, balanced, well-made beer. I love what the brettanomyces brings to the beer.

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