June 19, 2012

Mother's Brewing Tap Takeover Tonight! Q&A with a few people behind the beer

Tonight's the night! Starting at 4 PM, The Foundry will have 6 brews on tap from Springfield, MO's own Mother's Brewing - Towhead, Three Blind Mice, Lil’ Helper, Sandy, Holy Mole’, and Trouble Maker. Until then, though, take a few minutes to get to know a little more about some of the people behind the brewery. I sent a few questions their way, was thrilled to get some answers from owner Jeff Schrag, brewmaster Brian Allen, and sales/marketing director Jeremy Wicks!

BeerKC: Are there any particular beers that got you into beer?

Jeff Schrag (owner): Yes, my crossover beer was a hefeweisen. I was told by the bartender at the brewpub that it was fresh, brewed that morning. I now know better, but at the time I was a dedicated Coors Light drinker. Then I moved into Wheats, some lighter belgian styles and so on. When I got into bigger craft beers, the move to pales, IPAs and stouts happened very quickly. I went with hops first and malts second.

Brian Allen (Brewmaster): No, not a particular beer. I got into beer during the first boom of microbrewing in the state of Maine during college. There were several breweries at the time just getting going, Shipyard, Bar Harbor Brewing Co, Sunday River Brewing, Geary's to name a few. I happened to run a pub on campus and when I took over ordering we were pouring Bud Light, Coors Light and Guinness; bottles were the usual suspects, Corona, Heineken, Newcastle, plus the big three. I changed up the draft mix and added more bottles. This meant weekly trips to various breweries around Maine on beer runs for the bar. Seeing the breweries and the passion behind the brewers I think is what got me hooked. It was a bonus that there was such depth and variety of flavors

BKC: Is there any ideal way to enjoy one of your beers (if could be anywhere with anyone, etc.)?

Jeremy Wicks (Sales/Marketing Director): We strive to create beers for every occasion. So it really depends on which of our beers you are drinking. We try to make beers that you can easily drink quite a few of for those nights that you're out on the town and doing it up with your friends. We also make bigger beers that are made to sit back, sip on, and enjoy all the complexities. Depending on the food you're eating, the weather, or just the occasion, we strive to create a beer for everyone of life's great occasions.

Brian Allen: I think the best way to enjoy our beers is with good friends, good tunes, good food and in a good place. I think we try to make a wide array of beers that will be a good accompaniment to any experience. 

BKC: What aspect of the beer community do you like the most? Are there any areas you like to see improve/evolve?

Jeremy Wicks: Within the industry, I love seeing all the friendship and support amongst breweries. It's an industry like no other. Within the greater craft beer community, I love the culture that grows out of drinking craft beer. The love for flavor, the beer and food pairings, and the friendships that can form over a pint of a great craft beer.

Brian Allen: The comraderie and amount of support from so-called competitors is truly unbelievable. Craft brewers, and even brewers from our country's largest brewers are always willing to share information.

BKC: What's the deal with mole style beer all of a sudden? Yours, New Belgium, New Holland, and later this year, Ska (Not that I'm complaining, I'm all for more of them!)

Jeff Schrag: The Holy Mole' journey for us started independently of other breweries. I had a longing to brew a pepper beer; but as a lighter pepper beer; maybe a Kolsch or an Extra Pale Ale. The Mole came from discussions about pepper and then maybe adding chocolate along with the peppers. Eventually, we began talking our love of a great mole' sauce. That morphed into maybe adding pepper to a darker beer. I never read anything about other breweries planning to brew this style, so I cannot tell you why this style and why now, other than how we arrived there.

Brian Allen: Our Holy Mole was to an extent, a beer that came out of necessity. I was propagating some yeast for Lil Helper on Three Blind Mice wort (it is a long story), but ended up with 7 bbls of a brown beer. I recalled some of the smoked pepper beers I had judged at GABF last year, particularly some chipotle porters. So we started talking about chili, but I didn't just want a chili beer. I think I am always looking at food to get inspired, and liked using the idea of a mole sauce as a jumping off point. I hadn't known about the proliferation of mole beers prior to making Holy Mole, unless it was through osmosis. I haven't had too many of them, but I am impressed with the breadth of the beers, from color, body, abv, flavor. 

BKC: Any styles you’d like to make?

Jeremy Wicks: Sure, in fact there are a lot of styles that we have not yet made, but we would like to. We have not started making Belgian beers yet, but this is something that we are actively experimenting with right now. We'd also love to start a sour program, but unfortunately that is a bit down the road still. We want to make sure that we have everything ready and in place before we just bring a sour program into the brewery.

Brian Allen: I am excited to get our barrel program up and going, and playing with different barrels. Right now in my career I am not so obsessed about styles. I like taking this aspect of this style and adding in an element from another, focusing on flavors and balance. I hope to play around with some new yeasts and maybe someday when we are ready look at using some bacteria or brettanomyces, too.

BKC: What do you want Kansas City to know about Mother's Brewing?

Jeff Schrag: Our goal is to brew love. As such, we brew beers for every occasion: easy drinking, hoppy, malty, high alcohol, low alcohol. As our line up grows, we will fill in the gaps with new brews. We hope to never be a brewery that is pigeon-holed by the public as only making specific styles or only brewing specific beers. Generally, we brew to taste and not to style, thus pulling varied elements from various styles into each beer we make. Finally, we hope to be a positive part of our communities and our region. We always want to be giving back.

Brian Allen: Your Mother's loves you! We want you to love our beer and enjoy it with a smile.

BKC: How cool is it to make beer for a living?

Jeremy Wicks: I can't think of anything else that I would rather be doing and I can't think of anything cooler. The beer industry is unique and a lot of fun. When drinking beer is part of your job description, you're on to something good.

Brian Allen: It is pretty cool. You get to see how your work touches people in a positive way. It is very humbling.


I want to extend a very hearty "thank you, and cheers!" to all three gentlemen for taking the time to reply. I know I'm looking forward to trying each of their beers, both tonight and in the future as more come to KC. And we hope to see everyone there tonight, to give them a warm welcome to our city!

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