Brewing Exceptional Beers Behind the Scenes

All About Beer Magazine - Volume 36, Issue 5
November 1, 2015 By

Steve Parkes of Drop-In Brewing Co.

Steve Parkes

Drop-In Brewing Co.

Middlebury, Vermont

Even after all these years in the industry, Steve Parkes still enjoys the little things. “The smell of mashing in the morning, tasting beer out of the brite tank, tapping a fresh keg. I absolutely love it.”

He was enamored at a young age. Looking through books in his high school library, he discovered a brewing program and decided he’d do that as a career. While many of his generation would go on to work at large breweries in corporate brewing jobs, he eschewed that path and decided that small and hands-on was the way for him. The U.K. native moved to Baltimore in the late 1980s to open a microbrewery, then to California.

It was there in 1997 when he started teaching for the American Brewers Guild, including a course on how to open one’s own brewery. An early adopter of technology, many of the courses were online. He purchased the ABG in 1999, moving east to work as the brewer for Otter Creek Brewery in Vermont, where for the next decade he taught and brewed. Eventually he went all-in on education, opened his own brewery as a training ground (Drop-In works out of the ABG space, Parkes says) and continues to turn out well-rounded, enthusiastic graduates—some 600 since 1999.

“It’s not our job to tell them what to brew, but provide brewers the tools,” he says. “The ambition and the imagination have to come from them.”

–John Holl

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