5 Questions from a Lazy Beer Writer – Alejandro Brown from Big Al Brewing

June 9th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Beer & Food, Beer Releases, Washington Breweries

Next up in my “5 Questions from a Lazy Beer Writer” series is Alejandro Brown (Big Al himself) from Big Al Brewing.

1) In a couple of months Big Al Brewing will hit the one year anniversary mark. First off, congrats! Second, what’s been something you’ve really enjoyed during your first year and what has been one of your biggest challenges?

Thank you! What have I enjoyed?? This could be a very long answer but I’ll try to sum it up. I brew beer for a living, I could stop right there but I won’t. I can’t explain the feeling of sitting at a bar and having someone walk up and order a Big Al beer for the first time. I watch as they sip it, then hold it out and look at it and their face shows pure satisfaction while they say quietly to themselves “mmm”. It’s amazing and I hope I never take that for granted. One specific thing I enjoyed was working with Tutta Bella’s Executive Chef to develop a beer that pairs perfectly with their fine pizza. Brian and I had several meetings that involved drinking beer, eating pizza and taking notes. I’ve had worse meetings. Tutta Bella Amber Ale released this week.

Challenges? Like any small business start up: cash, cash, cash!

2) Washington has tons of great beer available, whether it’s made in state or brought in from somewhere outside the state. As a new brewery yourself, how competitive has it been trying to get your beer on tap at bars/restaurants around town?

Seattle is a great beer town and that brings a huge amount of benefits and challenges for a start up brewery. Most everyone loves the new guy and is willing to give you shot. But like you said, there is lots of competition so accounts can be very picky as there is no reason to keep a below average beer around. We just have to make sure our beer is above average! Seattle beer drinkers love trying something new so one of the things I think we do that has worked out really well is come out with a new beer every month. This way we are offering new beers constantly and can keep on most rotating handles pretty consistently.

3) What’s going on at the brewery this summer? Any special events or beer releases you want to tell us about? This week is a good time to go sit out on your large patio with a beer and enjoy the sun…

We are currently booking bands for a summer concert series that should be fun. We also added BBQ’s outside so people can BYOCM (Charcoal and Meat) and grill up in our black top beer garden while enjoying our Summer beers. We will release Big Al Summer Lager, a munich-style helles, in a couple of weeks. In July we will release Local Hero #3 Cream Ale as well as our Double IPA. The August seasonal will be another Local Hero that will end up going to the GABF Pro-Am which leads us to your next question!

4) Will Big Al Brewing be making the trip to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival this year? If so, you must be excited to attend as a brewer after attending as a homebrewer/consumer.

Yes!! And excited is an understatement! I already have my plane ticket. We even bought plane tickets for our 4 great employees so we can all share in this great moment. I have gone to the GABF for the last 4 years and to have my beer there will be just about the coolest thing ever. I am also looking forward to entering the competition and getting feedback from amazing judges. The Pro-Am will be fun as well, I am selecting the lucky homebrewer tomorrow morning.

5) What’s your favorite Seattle restaurant? Are there any places around the brewery that you would suggest checking out?

That’s a tough one, I have been eating at Tutta Bella a lot lately and that is some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Circa Alehouse in West Seattle also offers some great food and beer. Mostly at this point, you’ll find me at accounts or places I can go with my 2 year-old boy Samuel.

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