10 Questions with Chad Kennedy of Laurelwood Brewery
1) If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only choose one pound of either hops, water, barley, or yeast, which would it be, and why?
Yeast! I'm sure I could make some sort of alcoholic concoction with the native flora. Maybe fermented coconut spiced with the root of some exotic plant? I wouldn't want to risk the local yeast though- I mean come on- just because I'm stranded on a deserted island doesn't mean I wanna drink super sour pruno.
2) What is the best aspect of NW beer drinkers?
That they leave some for me. Really, the fact that they're not afraid of flavor.
3) What is your favorite beer style, and why?
Cliche, I know, but I love IPA. There are so many varieties of IPA and it really shows me if a brewery knows about balance. Yes-balance even in a super hoppy Imperial IPA-can you balance that big bitterness and aroma or is it simply one dimensional hop bomb.
4) What is the first beer you brewed that was worthy of a name?
I'm not real big on cutesy beer names. I think the first beer I named was my first commercial seasonal-Holly Grail Abbey Ale.
5) Where do you get your inspiration from when creating new beers?
Everywhere. Other breweries, food, wine. What ever strikes my fancy I guess.
6) What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a professional brewer?
We don't drink all day. Maybe everyday, but not all day.
7) What characteristics of Portland make this area so popular for brewers, breweries, and consumers?
We're so close to all of what it takes to make great beer. Great water, hops and barley.
8) If “Northwest Ale” was added as a new style of beer, what would it be?
Based on whatever style- add hops, add gravity.
9) What is the most underrated hop?
That's hard to say- Mt. Hoods maybe? Great noble-esque character and their from right here in the PNW.
10) What are the relationships like between competing brewers? Is there a sense of community, friendly competition, etc.?
Good I'd say. I don't think you start really loosing that friendly feeling until you've got stock holders, a marketing department and need to sell a bazillion barrels of beer.
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