Brewer Bytes with Minhas Craft Brewery
An Interview with Kris Kalav, Director of Brewing Operations and Quality Assurance
Posted on 10/16/2012 by Chops
Dating back to 1845, the Minhas Craft Brewery is the oldest continually operating brewery in the Midwest and second oldest in the country. With a broad product line that includes premium lagers, craft beers, vodka, gin, rum, malt beverages, and other spirits, it's hard to imagine anyone not being able to find a tasty beverage to enjoy. Minhas has an impressive staying power that continues to keep the thirsty public satisfied. We recently caught up with Kris Kalav, Director of Brewing Operations and Quality Assurance, who happily agreed to provide some BrewChief Brewer Bytes.

What is the most challenging beer for you to brew?

Oddly enough, light beer is the hardest to brew. I can't seem to get the process down to where the end product has so little malt flavor that it tastes like carbonated water. People have complained that my light beer has too much flavor. Maybe there's something mental going on, something telling me that I shouldn't brew light beer. But hey, some like it light, some like it heavy, I try to please all my customers.

What advice would you give to a new craft beer fan?

Try every style you can. There is no bad beer, it's all in whether you like it or not. If you don't like it, try cooking with the rest of the bottle or can. You'd be amazed what a great base beer makes for all kinds of dishes.

What is the best thing about being part of the beer industry?

You mean besides the beer? I think it's that I've met some incredibly talented and decent individuals who got into a business that can drive you to drink on a good day, or even a bad one. This is one of the toughest, most cut-throat businesses in the world, what with the competition for shelf space and taps, and yet most of the people I've met have the same drive and determination to succeed while still managing a laugh over a cold one.

What are your favorite beer styles?

That's a toughie, because I like so many. It really depends entirely on my mood, or on what I'm eating at the time. I love red ales any time, but a nice stout with stew or light lager on a hot summer day also really hit the spot. Beer needs to be enjoyed in all its forms. I repeat, there is no bad beer, only beer you like or don't like. I've heard some folks describe the macros as horse p***. I always ask those folks "really, when was the last time you tried real horse p***? I understand it has more dryness to it..".

Where is your favorite place to enjoy a cold pint?

Under a large palm tree, in a padded Adirondack chair, on most any beach in the Caribbean, staring out over the ocean. Ooh look, jerk chicken...

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Kris Kalav, Director of Brewing Operations and Quality Assurance
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