How do beers evolve over time? And how does patience, curiosity, trust, and creativity work to the benefit of both brewery and brewer? Wayne Wambles, the (now former) long-time brewmaster of Cigar City, joins the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast to talk about his career, a return to homebrewing, and how specialty ingredients work best when added to a solid beer base.

Wambles came to beer after a career in kitchens. He was inspired to brew early on – like so many brewers of his generation – by reading the books by Charlie Papazian. His time homebrewing played an important part in shaping who he would become as a brewer.

There were a few stepping stones on his early path that would ultimately lead to Cigar City in Florida where he was brewmaster for nearly 16 years, shepherding beers like Jai Alai and Hunahpu into the beer consciousness, all while tweaking and perfecting those recipes, and playing with variants.

Fireman Capitol, a private equity firm, purchased Cigar City in 2016. It already had Oskar Blues, and other breweries in a portfolio that would be dubbed CANarchy going forward. CANarchy was sold to Monster Beverage in 2022 and a few weeks ago Wambles was laid off from the company.

Last week news came out that a dozen additional members of the cigar city brewing staff was let go. It’s fully unclear what this means for the brand, or innovation, but Monster has been making alcoholic versions of its energy drink in recent years, and has a hard iced tea too.

Wambles might not be associated with the brewery anymore, but h’s not leaving beer. He’s going back to his roots and reflecting on a career filled with joy, education, and creativity. And it’s fueling whatever might come next.

He’s also consulting for breweries these days offering his expertise to real breweries that need it. He may be reached at

Hear the whole conversation on the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast. Download via Apple PodcastsSpotify, Overcast, or wherever you download shows.