Interview with Bryan Brushmiller – Owner of Burley Oak Brewery – Part 1 of 2

I met up with Bryan and his brew master, Brian Carl, from Burley Oak Brewery at the Oktoberfest in Berlin, MD for a couple of interviews.  This is the interview I did while we were standing in the beer garden.  The second half of this interview was done at the brewery later in the day.  This is the interview with Brian the brew master.

Scott: So 10 kegs and you just tapped it today.
Bryan: Yeah.
Scott: That’s good stuff.  What other beers do you have on tap right now?
Bryan: Here or at the brewery?
Scott: Well do you have anything else on tap here?
Bryan: Uh uh.
Scott: No. So at the brewery?
Bryan: Yeah we have like 4 or 5 beers at the brewery.
Scott: 4 or 5 beers at the brewery?
Bryan: Yeah, we kicked the keg last night. So we have….we kicked the Belgian last night. So we have a Lani-kai which is a single hopped galaxy beer. So we used galaxy hops all the way throughout the whole brew. And then we did a Pale Ryeder, which is our IPA that we do with rye from a local farmer. And September Fest, which is like a big red….imperial red ale.  And then we have Octoberfest.
Scott: The Octoberfest.
Bryan: Yeah.

Scott: What other beers do you like personally to drink the most?
Bryan: Whatever is in my hand at the time.
Scott: Whatever is in my hand. (laughter).
Bryan: Yeah.
Scott: Good answer. Good answer.
Bryan: I stole that from Sam. (laughter)

Scott: So what was it that you….you just recently opened the brewery, correct?
Bryan: Yeah like, 6 weeks….7 weeks ago.
Scott: 7 weeks ago?

Bryan: Yeah
Scott: What was it that inspired you to open a brewery?

Bryan: I got fired from my job construction (laughter). And then I was always home brewing, building…geeky with like, building equipment and stuff so I built a little brew house in my garage, you know, like everybody does, right?  Hook some kegs up, and i made it a little bigger and built a bigger one, and then just started like, trying to find used equipment. And built like what I got now going on. So.

Scott: How long were you brewing beer prior to opening the brewery?
Bryan: Kinda like, 3 years.
Scott: 3 years.

Bryan: Yeah.
Scott: What kind of types of beers did you experiment with prior to opening the brewery?

Bryan: Just like Belgians and Saissons.  Just stuff that people weren’t doing, you know what I mean?  Like if I can go somewhere and drink a beer I just go and drink a beer. But like, if I wanted like a Saisson that was like….I dunno or something crazy I would….that’s what I would try to make so.  That’s really what inspired me is just me trying to make beers, like push the limits.  And thats what we do at the brewery, you know?  Like, I dunno you guys should come check out the beers ’cause they’re real styles.
Scott: Yeah we were hoping to come by the brewery at some point.
Bryan:  We’re open until 2am Thursday Friday and Saturday.  There’s a full bar.

Scott: Are you guys going to be doing anything after Octoberfest tonight?
Bryan: Yeah, we’ll have a whole fucking party there, go down until like 2am. It’ll be nuts. (laughter). I’m serious. (laughter).

Scott: So you brew all the beers on those premises.
Bryan: Yes, and’ll meet him later hes just walked by.
Scott: I’m sorry, who?
Bryan: Brian, the other Brian is the brew master.  Yeah.
Scott: So you are B-R-Y-A-N
Bryan: Right, he’s B-R-I. Yeah, I’m the brewing assistant.
Scott: So is it the 2 of you in business together?  Who’s the owner of the company?

Bryan:  I’m the owner, yeah.
Scott: You’re the owner.
Bryan:  I just hired him.  He’s a Siebel alum.  I went through the Siebel connections and hooked it up.  He’s, he’s the man.

Scott: Are you local here in Berlin yourself?
Bryan: Yeah. I’m just right down the road in Salisbury.
Scott: So, obviously then, Berlin, you wanted to find a location close to where you already lived to open the brewery.

Bryan: Yeah yeah. Well, i wanted to find a town that would embrace it.  And Berlin came to me and was like, “dude what can we do for you?” And every other town was like–
Scott: The Chamber of Commerce?
Bryan: Just like the economic development director and the mayor…like, I’m good friends with the mayor… (pointing) he’s over there.  They were like “what can we do for you to come here?” Where every other town was like “this is what you need to do.”  Like, fuck, I’m going to Berlin, you know?   I don’t need any more hard fight you know than dealing with all this other stuff, like dealing….you know dealing with everything else to have a town be like, “You know, whatever you need, you know, we’ll make it happen.  You need a grant, to fix up  the front of that old building you bought?”
Scott: The funny thing is, for myself, I’ve been coming down to the ocean obviously my whole life, but recently, more actively over the past 10 years and this is my first time to main street Berlin.

Bryan: Sure.  That’s awesome.
Scott: Obviously it was your beer that brought me here.

Bryan: Oh, awesome.
Scott: So hopefully you can be that kind of draw to the township.

Bryan: Definitely, definitely, that’s what we want to do.  We want to give back to the town.  That’s why we do like events, a lot of charities and stuff

Scott: Who’s promoting this event?  Is this you?
Bryan: Yeah, me and the chamber of commerce.  You know, Michael Day, the economic development coordinator, the mayor, Mayor G Williams, you know, we just all hang out and its like, alright what can we do?
Scott: How long did it take to plan this event?  Or rather I should say how long has this event been in the planning?

Bryan: A couple of months.
Scott: A couple months?  Was it originally put forth by you or was it–

Bryan: No!  By these other 2 home brew guys.  And then the town kinda just ran with it.
Scott: Do you know their names?

Bryan: No I don’t but I knew that they were like the guys that wanted to get this all started.  So….that….you know you kinda gotta give credit to those guys too.  Then they kinda couldn’t do it ’cause of the laws, (interruption with “Cheers”) so the chamber of commerce was like, “alright, well we’re gonna do it coz its a good idea”.  And at first I was like, man you gotta have, you know, next year hopefully it”ll be like, every brewery in Maryland.  You know I kept pushing like, don’t just have me have every brewery and their Octoberfest or their pumpkin beer or whatever.  It’ll be crazy, you know what i mean?  But they were like oh, we just want to showcase you for now.  So I’m like, alright, that’s fine.  But I’m going to run out of beer, which, I’m getting ready to do.  We’re putting the last kegs on right now and its only 3 o’clock and it goes until 6, so.

Scott: (laughter) Wow, that’s the last keg?
Bryan: I think so.

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