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A Brewer’s Story – Discovering the world through beer

Ty Stevenson joined the US Marine Corps at age 17. He received a Business Administration and Management degree from Sonoma State University and took the Concise Course in Brewing Technology from Siebel Institute. He went from being an avid homebrewer to Tasting Room Manager, and then Head Brewer, of Old Redwood Brewing in Windsor, California in just three years. Ty also launched his own business, Waters Brewer, selling brewing water treatments to homebrewers. All this, by the age of 26. That list of accomplishments in itself is quite a story, but the former Marine wasn’t satisfied with the rapid ascent to his brewing dreams . . . no, he decided to forego the stability of his day-to-day existence brewing commercially in Northern California to leave the US for the first time to travel the world learning brewing culture and meeting brewers. In the fall of 2017 Ty made the decision to venture off into the world and booked a flight to Europe in pursuit of brew.

His international journey began in Spain in January 2018 where he brewed a kettle sour with Riley Finnigan, Head Brewer for Edge Brewing in Barcelona (and formerly of Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colorado). Ty’s brewing adventures continued in Rome, Italy with a three-person collaborative imperial porter homebrew on an all-in-one electric brew system similar to The Grainfather. He did his first decoction mash brewing a 7-bbl batch of witbier with Andreas, the Head Brewer at 1516 Brewing Company in Vienna, Austria. Before leaving Vienna, Ty sampled beers with the brewers from Brew Age and Beaver Brewing Company.

He got to talk with the owners of a small, 3-bbl brewery – Calverly Brewing Company in Cambridge, England – about the dynamics of operating a nanobrewery and making all of your revenue out of a taproom. He met the brewers from Northern Monk Brewing Company in Leeds, England. He drank helles in the historic beer halls of Germany. He partook of Pilsner in Prague. He gazed upon the St. James Gate Brewery (Guinness) in Dublin, Ireland.

The genesis for Ty’s journey was based in beer and brewing. However, it struck me over and over while following his travels on his blog, or while communicating with him to write this piece, that what really stuck with him were the people he met along the way. Despite any cultural or language barriers, Ty was able to find common ground with strangers through their passion and appreciation for beer. He bonded with brewers over the challenge of combining four basic ingredients to create a beverage that brings people together in a pub, a livingroom, or a hostel thousands of miles from his home.

Ty’s European beer adventure lasted four months, took him through 30 different cities in 11 countries, and countless beers. So what’s next for this beer adventurer? Ty had tentative plans to continue his beer travels in South America after a brief return home to Northern California this spring. However, as fortune would have it, he has heard from an angel investor interested in setting him up with a small-scale commercial brewing operation. He’s feeling the itch to brew again in his own brewery, too, but it may not be here in the US. According to Ty, “The next goal, which was/still is a hard decision for me to make, is to pack up my life again, and move to Sevilla or Malaga, Spain to start my own microbrewery. I’m planning on visiting Sevilla and Malaga one more time in late summer/autumn to solidify the city and look for specific locations to start this brewery.” In the meantime he is enjoying sampling some of the homebrews he tucked away before his travels and working on a business plan for “One Life Brewing Company.” Follow Ty Stevenson’s beer adventures on his blog at www.abrewersstory.com.