What’s your biggest brewing nightmare?
We’ve certainly had some mishaps in the brewing facility. We had a door, a man way, blow out of one of one of our tanks one day, and it sent 3,000 gallons of beer through two walls. That was a scary event.
I’m envisioning the floods of porter in London…
Yeah, or the big molasses flood in Boston. It was a big mess. We six inches deep in beer throughout much of the building. The fortunate thing was that no one was injured. That was dreadful.
It was the result of an improbable sequence of circumstances. You’ve got all these fail-safes that are supposed to kick in and keep that kind of thing from happening, but in this case, every single one of the fail safes failed. That was quite a few years ago…part of the learning curve. We’ve implemented some pretty rigorous procedural changes since then.
What do you drink when you’re not drinking your own beer?
I do enjoy a glass of wine from time to time, although everybody teases me when I do. When I go out and order wine, I usually ask for some big, bombastic red wine, like some very unsubtle Shiraz or Cabernet. Maybe I’ve deadened my taste buds with the all the hops, but I do like big, obvious-tasting wines.
I’m a scotch drinker, mostly Highland scotches. I rarely go the other way: I’m not a fan of big, peaty scotches.
As far as other beers go, I’m pretty eclectic in my taste. I don’t think I’m a snob about beer, either. I think there’s a beer for every occasion. I think there’s a beer for every occasion. When you’re at Fenway Park and it’s one of those hot, sticky New England nights, and the beer they’re pouring is a domestic light beer, you take it and you like it. It tastes really good.
You get plenty of the beer aficionados who are dismissive of our enormous brethren in the beer industry. It’s like Duke Ellington said, there are two kinds of music: there’s good music and there’s bad music. It’s kind of like that in the beer industry. There’s a time for everything.
How is Olive? Is she the original Old Brown Dog? [Olive is pictured on the Old Brown Dog label.]
Olive is fine. She turned 15 last spring: she’s pretty arthritic, deaf as a stone and covered with lumps, but she still comes to work with me every day. We took that picture of her 12 years ago, in her supermodel days. And now she really is an old brown dog.