Thursday, November 15, 2012

Meet SweetWater Quality Manager Paul Chlup and new Dank Tank!

Paul breaks down the Danktoberfest, his cool gig 
and family's brewing history in Jamaica! 
(Oh, and a preview of the new Dank Tank!)

What's up, Craft Brew Lovers!

During my adventures documenting the world of beer through video, articles, interviews and, well, drinking, I have come across a number of people who not only have some pretty cool gigs in the brewing industry, but it’s their interesting life stories that truly win me over. In fact, recently, I paid a visit to one of my favorite producers of the suds—Atlanta’s own SweetWater Brewery—to sample their latest addition to their revered Dank Tank series of potent one-and-dones­­: Danktoberfest.
Check out the infamous Dank Tank! Crazy, right?
While enjoying a 22-ounce bottle of SweetWater’s malty, biscuity, and aggressively hopped ode to Oktoberfest set at a resounding 8.5 percent ABV, I came across one of the folks responsible for bringing this tasty lager to the masses—Quality Manager Paul Chlup.  It turns out that not only was I enlightened by what Paul‘s position entails, but how he is part of a 4th generation brewer dating back to his family empire that was birthed in Jamrock aka Jamaica. (Ever heard of Red Stripe?). Although he’s just a modest dude who’s simply happy to ensure everything out of the second leading brewery in volume of the Southeast is on point (juuuust behind Abita), I still got Paul to open up for us. Yeah, mon!

Ale: Whaddup, Paul! Off the bat, congrats on your Danktoberfest. It’s official! Talk about what you do with SweetWater. You look important.
Paul Chlup: (Laughing) I'm the Quality Manager here at SweetWater Brewery.  I test and taste the beer throughout the brewing and bottling process to ensure its fitness of use. 
Killer gig, bro! Well evidently you are doing one helluva job. How did you get into the brewing industry?
I'm a 4th generation brewer.  My great grandfather started a brewery in Jamaica called D&G, the producers of Red Stripe beer.  My family moved to the U.S. when I was 2. My father continued to work in the brewing industry at a large brewery in TX and NJ.  I have worked at Anheuser-Busch, Shiner, Harpoon and Brooklyn Breweries.  I also have my Masters and PhD in brewing science.  I studied at UC Davis and Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh, Scotland.  
That’s all? Ha! On the real, I am impressed on so many levels! My people are from Jamaica and D&G is major there and, of course, abroad! Then there’s your extensive education and experience with all of these major breweries… Tell me your most memorable experience working in the brewing world. I know you have a good one!
Yes, I do. My fondest memory in the brewing industry is enjoying a pint or two at Redbones in Boston with my Harpoon colleagues.
Okay, so let’s get back to the Danktoberfest. Could you break it down for me?
Well, at SweetWater we are carrying on the Oktoberfest tradition using fine German malt and hops and adding some dankness. Danktoberfest is full bodied and malty with a bready aroma, packed with zesty hop bitterness and huge amounts of heat. 
My boy Reid getting his sip on!
I’ll drink to that! What do you love the most about your job and what could you do without?
Okay, what I love the most is meeting and talking with customers.  I always like to hear their opinions and thoughts about our brands. When it comes to the hardest thing about my job, it’s destroying beer when the quality has become compromised.
Okay, and last, what would you like to see SweetWater come out with under your watch in the future?
I hope we get the chance to brew a Belgian Golden Ale. Ideally, two different yeast strains would be used. One yeast strain would be used for fermentation and the other would be used for refermentation. I think using multiple yeast strains is the next big thing in the craft brewing industry. I believe the flavors imparted will be complex and interesting.
I’m feeling that! Keep me posted and thanks for the time, Paul. Your story rocks!
Thanks for stopping by the brewery to take in the Danktoberfest packaging and tasting.
 Man, it was my pleasure! ‘Nuf respect!

Be sure to scoop some of the 22-ounce bottles of Danktoberfest before they are gone! They are one-and-dones, remember?
By the way, a little birdie told me that the next Dank Tank is going to be called “The Gimp”, an Old Ale at 10.3% potency and it will be released in mid-December! I can’t wait! Want more info? How about this??? 


Happy Sippin’!

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