Joe Karpinski is the co-founder and brewer at Lock 15 Brewing Co. in Akron. The Ohio & Erie Canal-themed and chef-driven brewpub opened earlier this year.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I started homebrewing because I love making things and seeing people enjoy my creations. After brewing for several years, I realized I wanted to turn my hobby into my career. Twelve years later, here we are.
Q: What's the story behind the name Lock 15?
A: The brewpub is located at Lock 15 of the Ohio & Erie Canal. I have been a canal history buff since before the idea of Lock 15 Brewing Co came about. Once we had the opportunity to open a brewery right next to the canal, the name came naturally.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite craft beer trends now?
A: My favorite trend is bringing beer recipes back to the basics of more traditional styles. I enjoy the historical aspect of where the recipes originated and what ingredients those breweries had at their disposal. My least favorite trend is "kitchen sink" beers with too many conflicting flavors.
Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?
A: Our best-selling beer is our 1913 Pilsner. It is a good introduction for those unfamiliar with craft beer, but it is also a solid Czech-style pilsner with a bit more flavor than your run-of-the-mill grocery store pilsner that even a craft beer aficionado would enjoy.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/brewed and why?
A: I'd go back to 1040, the year of origin of the oldest brewery in the world, Weihenstephan, and brew its Weihenstaphaner Hefe Weissbier. Our Mutton Hill Hefe is inspired by this beer and we've been told by more than one German that it is a good representation of the Bavarian-style hefeweizen.
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