For this installment, we spoke with Dr. Jason Stairs the Co-Owner and brewer of Garden State Beer Company. Dr. Stairs received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and has brought that knowledge to brewing fantastic beer. Garden State Beer Company is continuing to expand production and has a solid lineup of beers including Blue Jersey American Wheat, Nucky’s Empiral IPA, and their award winning Cream of the Crop cream ale.
What was the first beer you brewed and how was it?
I first started making mead (honey wine), then tried hard cider. I eventually moved onto beer with a Mr. Beer kit. The first beer recipe I did on my own was an apple ale. It was a mixture of cider and beer, it was close but not quite there.
What is your favorite style to brew and why?
I don’t really have a favorite style to brew. It’s all grain and hops and boiling.
Do you look at ratings on Untappd, Beer Advocate, or Rate Beer and, if you do, does it influence your recipes?
Every once in a while I do look, but the ratings are too subjective to influence what we brew.
How do you stay connected to the local area in relation to sourcing ingredients?
We haven’t found a good source of local ingredients yet but would love to eventually.
What is one tip you would give home brewers to make better beer?
Keep it simple and, if possible, get your water tested to know the water you’re using.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone who wants to open a brewery?
Don’t. It is the fastest way to ruin your hobby. All joking aside, you really have to love it. There will always be good parts but you aren’t going to get rich quick. It’s a lot of hot, hard work.
It there was a beer you could brew with no regards to cost, production, or sales what would it be?
I would brew something different all the time if time allowed. It is what makes home brewing fun. As a commercial brewer, to be successful, we brew the same beers a lot to keep up with the demand of distribution.
Looking back to your opening day forward, what was the one thing that happened that surprised you the most?
We were surprised by how excited people were when they came to our place. We had worked so hard to open and everyone’s excitement kept us going and motivated us to keep it up
Other than your beer, what is your go to after a long day at the brewery?
My wife and I love checking out the Craft Beer section of the liquor store for anything that looks interesting. We also try to patron the friendly local breweries near us when we can.
Where do you see the brewery in a year?
Hopefully still going with this crazy idea!