Justin Chaney is the head brewer at The Common Beer Co., a neighborhood nanobrewery in Mason. The brewery's motto is: "We rise for the Common Man and the Uncommon Beer."
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I started homebrewing when I was around 22/23 and fell in love with it. I was working at Starbucks at the time and wanted something more exciting. I have a degree in theater but that wasn't exciting for me anymore. I realized I wanted to become a brewer at that point.
I started from the bottom, working as a bartender at The Growler House upping my knowledge in beer, and working my way up. I went from bartending, to working at Fibonacci Brewing and hanging out with Bob Bollas (owner/head brewer) while he brewed, learning more and more about brewing, eventually landing a cellar position at Rivertown Brewing, which started my commercial brewing career. Years down the line, here I am.
Q: What's the story behind the name Common?
A: The meaning behind The Common Beer Co. comes from Mark and Amy Lortz (owners of the brewery). When Mark was growing up, his neighborhood would have get-togethers, like a block party if you will, which was a common place to hang out. Which is exactly what he envisioned the brewery to be. A common place for friends, neighbors, and anyone to meet up, have a drink and get together for memorable times.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite craft beer trends now?
A: This one is tough for me. I'm a fan of most beers. There are certain beers that aren't my jam like spiced beers, coconut and nutty beers, but that just goes along the lines of my taste buds. I like the Brut IPAs. I think that's one of the most interesting styles that's trending right now.
Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?
A: Our best-selling beer is probably our cream ale: My First Creamy Blonde. Which is actually a funny story. It was our first batch we did on our system, which was a saison recipe I love. While I was checking the carb on it, I noticed it didn't taste much like a saison, and realized I pitched the wrong yeast. So as I'm tasting it, I realized "This tastes like a cream ale." So we coined it as such and the crowd went wild. We've ended up brewing it four times already. Just goes to show that there can be happy accidents in brewing.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/brewed and why?
A: I think that would probably be Opera Cream from Blank Slate (R.I.P.) That's always been one of my favorite beers of all times. Scott [LaFollette] is an amazing brewer and anytime I would see that on tap I would immediately order it. Every time I would visit Jungle Jim's and they had it on tap, they'd have it poured for me as I walked up to the tasting bar.
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