Brewer Bytes with Rogue Ales / Oregon Brewing Co.
An Interview with John Maier, Brewmaster
Posted on 11/28/2012 by Chops
If any beer fan were asked to name the powerhouses of the American craft beer scene, Rogue Ales would certainly be mentioned. Founded in 1988, Rogue has continued to make big splashes in the industry with their unique spin on brewing. Rogue's passion for a spicy variety has won them countless awards and their remarkable product line beyond speaks for itself. Adventurous beer fans can find everything from imperial maibocks to smoked doughnut ales. Brewmaster John Maier has been brewing for the company since nearly day one, so it was quite an honor for us to have him partake in some Brewer Bytes.

What inspired you to get into brewing?

I started homebrewing in 1981 and at the time was working at Hughes Aircraft Co in El Segundo, CA. I was sick of LA and thought the only way to get back to Oregon (where I grew up) was to make it my living, so I went to Siebel in 1986.

What is your favorite beer or style to brew?

Mogul Madness, a strong ale for the winter, has everything you want in a beer: fantastic dry-hop aroma, big malt with burnt caramel flavors, big hops flavor and bitterness, not too high in alcohol.

What do you feel sets you apart from other brewers?

My age! I'm older than most other brewers, heck-the guys I brew with now weren't even born when I got into the business!

What is the most challenging beer for you to brew?

One of our most recent beers, Roguenbier Rye. Difficult lautering, easy to over-sparge, frustrating to make...but the beer is fantastic!

What is something surprising you learned about brewing?

How physically demanding it is. I'm lucky my back and my knees still work.

What would you say to a beer novice who is trying your brews?

Try the lighter styles first then progress to the more intense styles - not necessarily by color!

What advice would you give to a new home brewer?

1. Read Charlie Papazian's "Complete Joy of Homebrewing" before you even start.

2. Write down your recipes and specific gravities and file them.

3. Do bottle/keg conditioning over forced carbonation. Results in a far superior product.

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

Try them all and have fun!

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

The people I have met along the way. I have made life-long friends I will never forget.

Anything else you would like to say?

When in doubt, add MORE HOPS!

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John Maier, Rogue Ales Brewmaster
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