With some excellent and varied beers dropping in the coming weeks (Batch 300, Spring Quarter, Space-Grant) we figured it was high-time to check in with our Lead Brewer, Dan Shaffer. Dan speaks softly but with a sharp wit and earned wisdom, making him right at home in the brewery, and on our new weekly podcast “Beers With the Brewers.”
Name: Dan Shaffer
Position: Lead Brewer
How long have you been at Land-Grant?
I started in the fall of 2016.
What is it you do here?
In general, I make beer. Specifically, I’m involved in all the steps leading up to providing our packaging team with brite beer to put into cans and kegs. The rest of my time goes towards educating our staff about beer, refining processes in the brewery, and developing new recipes.
What is your favorite beer to brew?
There's a real excitement to brewing a new recipe or trying a new technique, but I take a lot of pleasure in dialing in a staple like Stiff-Arm, our IPA. There's great satisfaction in knowing how a brew is progressing just by touch and feel (and of course smell).
We're going to be hearing a lot more from you on the Beers With The Brewers Podcast–tell us more about that!
When I first started home brewing, I wanted to feed my head with as much information as possible. Great podcasts like "Basic Brewing Radio" and "Brewing with Style" were as important to my beer education as my brewing degree. I'm hoping that with "Beers With The Brewers" we can not only inform people about our beers, but also relay some of the information I've accrued over the years about beer styles and brewing history. Hopefully it will inspire someone to try a beer that is outside their comfort zone, or maybe revisit an old classic.
What is your favorite day of the week at the brewery?
A brewer's schedule is so varied that it's hard to pick a particular day, but I love getting in before everyone on the early brew. It's quiet and the smell of the grain in the mash tun (and Ray Ray's meat in the smoker) wakes up your senses. The sun peaks up over the brewery windows, people stumble in one or two at a time and the place starts to buzz; delivery drivers load their trucks, can hands build boxes and load cans, the cellarman fires up the centrifuge and the bar staff take down stools and polish the bar top for the lunch crowd. A brewery is a living, breathing thing, and not just in the sense that we rely on living organisms to ferment our beer. Not to get too sappy, but without the people it's just a bunch of stainless steel.
Want to catch up on our previous ‘People behind the Pint’ entries? You can do just that right here.