You’ve probably seen Jack Thomas hustling around the brewery, pouring behind the bar, or working one of the kajillion festivals we’ve attended recently. In addition to being Kelly’s brother, he’s Valiant’s (and Brian’s) assistant brewing technician. He’s our sales rep. And he may just be our number one fan. But he is so much more than that! Check him out.
Harvest Intern at Owen Roe, a winery in St Paul, Ore.
“I worked on the sorting line for the grapes. Punch-down crew. I took wine samples almost every morning to determine sugar levels and if any byproducts like EA or oxidation were occurring. I pitched yeast into new fermenters, and basically helped to take care of all fermenting red wines.”
Beer or wine?
“I like brewing better than I like wine-making, but both sciences are very wonderful and I loved every minute up at the winery.”
Favorite part of brewing?
“The ability to make a product however you want. You can make the beer to whatever specification you like, super hoppy, really strong, very delicate, or extremely strange. You can make something very different or very traditional. If you do a good job, people will love your beer. This is one of the few arenas where you can let your mind and artistry shine through in your creation. It’s very personal.
“The other great thing about beer is that there is a quick turnaround and this allows you to quickly find out what the people love or dislike. Very few industries can get such quick feedback.”
Most interesting part of working at Valiant?
“The most interesting is whatever I am doing that day, but I always have a great time picking names and writing stories for the beers we make.”
How important is taste-testing?
“Taste testing is VERY important. If you don’t know what sort of flavors or aromas your beer has, you won’t know if something goes wrong or if you have made a mistake. Also beer tastes great, and why not taste-test what is good? You are allowing your taste buds some exercise.”
Valiant’s secret weapon?
“All of our beers have three layers that work together. I find that most beers lack in balance and instead focus on gimmicks or one outstanding feature. Our beers have a fantastic aroma, a strong flavor, and a delightful finish. All three of these levels lead you from one to the other, none trying to outperform the other.”
“I play soccer, take pictures, read lots of science fiction, fantasy, and classics. I love camping and long walks on the beach.”
Famous last words?
“Try as many beers as you can, support the locals, and puns are a valid form of humor.”
You’ve heard about half our crazy-busy weekend, pouring our kegs dry at the Backyard Brewfest. Well, here’s the other half–a six-hour extravaganza at the Los Angeles Beer Festival at Paramount Studios. It’s a mammoth event, and a seriously good time–check it out.
This is somewhat a complex question for me to answer. Yeah I can say, it’s because I’m passionate about beer, I enjoy the challenges that comes with creating fairy big beers that are drinkable, or I like being part of an industry that is growing at a pace that’s faster than light partials traveling through space (ok that’s a little over exaggerated), waking up at 2am with coffee in hand excited about firing up the kettle knowing that another creation will be taking place today, being around good friends and exploring the cultures of life while pouring grains into the mill. Yes these are all very good reasons why I like brewing but it goes to show that brewing, as a whole, means much more to me then I can talk about if trying to answer this question in one sentence – it simply cannot be done.
It’s interesting given my experiences and background with automotives, more directly drag racing of how the two (brewing and racing) are similar. Drag racing itself is simple, drive a vehicle as fast and safe as you can 1,320 ft while hoping that you can beat your opponent. However prior to going down the track, you have endless amounts of time in building the car, performing maintenance, ensuring all your safety equipment is still up to date, packing for the weekend at the track, setting up the pits, etc… All this so you can drive down the track for a total of 7 seconds! Yes large amounts of time spent for such little in return but we love it. Brewing is very similar to this in that you spend a great deal of time ahead, during and after making beer to ensure that the one perfect moment, when someone takes a sip of our beer, gives them that unique experience that only comes from all that hard work. This moment, quick in time compared to everything leading to that one event is what is so precious to us and why we love brewing!
I’d like bore you with all the technical stuff that comes into play with brewing, remember I’m a gear head and the more knobs, switches and valves I can push/pull the happier I am but that is only interesting to a small number of you but is important to understand about me. However I’ll spare that time for when we get the chance to talk in person or perhaps for a future update.
There are many craft beer companies in Orange County, but there are not many offering ales (over 8%) with good flavor. That is our niche. We are “Your Ale Specialist”