Q&A: Brian Allen, Mother Brewing Co.

Brewmaster, Brian Allen of Mothers Brewing Co. is this weeks Q&A victim, talking good beer and the need for spare socks.


Your Blurb…

I started brewing in 1995 at Boston Beer Works, a brewpub across the street from Fenway Park. I attended the Diploma Course at the Siebel Institute in 1996 and returned to Boston to brew at Beer Works, Salem Beer Works, and open another Boston Beer Works. In 2002 I relocated to Madison, WI and after a brief stint at Capital Brewery I ran both Fox River Brewing Company brewpubs in Appleton and Oshkosh, WI. Prior to leaving Wisconsin I brewed at the St Francis Brewery for a few months to help them with opening. I moved to Springfield in 2009, the stars aligned and I happened to bump into Jeff Schrag. After a few months courtship I landed the brewmaster job at Mother’s Brewing Company and the rest has been full speed ahead.

5 words to sum up your brewing ethos…

Details, process, balance, flavor, quality

First beer memories…

My first beer memory was during a school trip to Europe in the 11th grade- Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and Austria – due to the expense of soft drinks and for cultural education purposes we were allowed a beer a day.

What sounds are to be heard in the brewery…

Aside from the hum high bay lighting, the whir of exhaust fans, the venting of fermenters, the rhythmic hiss of the air driven packaging line, and the rumble of the big old kewanee boilers, you can often hear dub, reggae, ska, punk rock, jazz, blues, and maybe a little bluegrass. When we are brewing Old School Oktoberfest there is often polka music playing, too.

Before I was brewing I was…

In college then bartending while trying to get a job brewing.

Favourite thing about what I do…

I like making something. The day starts and the tank is empty, at the end of the day it is full of wort, which will soon be beer, which will soon be a whole mess of bottles and kegs and then folks from all around will open one up, pour out a pint have a drink and (hopefully) smile.

Greatest brewing achievement to date…

This is the second brewery I have built. I am very proud of each. I feel good about the fact that I have trained over 20 people in various breweries and many of these people are still in the brewing industry.

Pub heaven…

Dimly lit. Character. Good music- bass. Good beers, good spirits. Good amount of patrons and a skilled knowledgeable publican / bartender.

Pub hell…

Bright lights – bad music – ovewhelming amount of throw away P.O.S., no patrons.

Favourite non local pub…

Impossible to answer- Ye Olde Mitre in London, The HorseBrass Portland, OR, The Plough and Stars Cambridge, MA, Resi’s Bier Stube in Chicago, IL are four of my favorites.

What advice would you give any aspiring brewer…

Be persistent, be observant, listen, pay attention. Probably most importantly learn from your failures and your successes. Bring extra socks.

What’s on the horizon…

We have our spring seasonal coming up and then it is back to summer. We are extending our Mother’s Others line. We are going through several expansion projects, two over the next few months. We are installing a bulk grain system, adding on to our hot liquor supply, expanding our two vessel brewhouse to a three vessel and are adding 33% more fermentation space. It will be a busy few of months.

Next week it’s back to the UK and a catch up with Glyn Roberts of Utobeer and Rabid Barfly

Q&A: Brian Allen, Mother Brewing Co.

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