We warmly welcome Heather McReynolds into the laboratory as the newest member of our brewing team. Heather is a proud member of the Pink Boots Society - the self-proclaimed “female movers and shakers” as represented in the brewing industry. Originally from Gainesville, FL, Heather most recently managed the Cannon Brewpub of Columbus, GA as head brewer. Now relocated to our home borough of Brooklyn, NY, we naturally had a slew of questions for her…
What was your initial introduction into brewing? Did you first see brewing as a path for you?
My initial introduction into the craft beer world was working as a beertender at my local beer bar. When I was hired, I enjoyed beer, but knew nothing about it. I drank a lot of different styles, learned a lot, and decided that I wanted to make a career of doing something in the craft beer industry. I never imagined, though that I was physically equipped to be a brewer- I always pictured them being 6 feet tall with the ability to bench-press a tree. After moving to The Cannon Brewpub as a manager, I was asked to cross-train in the brewery. A few people tried to discourage me, but I did it anyway. I eventually became the head brewer, and now I hate that I spent so long thinking that I couldn’t brew!
What’s the most fun part of the brewing process for you?
As a homebrewer, the most exciting part was watching the yeast when they were the most active. I loved just watching them create currents in the wort and bubble away like crazy. I wish it was feasible to have see-through commercial brewing tanks for just this reason! As a professional brewer, I love the first run-off from the mash tun, just as you’re starting the vorlauf. It’s the first time you get to see and taste the wort, and for some reason, it’s just really exciting to me.
As a female brewer in this industry, care to shed some insight about the pink boot society/camaraderie there?
Eh, it’s just like any meeting of beer people: hang out, exchange ideas, eat some good food, and drink some good beer. It’s just that the male to female ratio is reversed from your typical craft beer gathering!
What is the best part about coming up with a new brew? Any go-to favorites?
Selecting the ingredients is for me the best part about coming up with a new brew. The nerd in me loves researching all the grains, hops and yeast strains (and perhaps adjuncts) available to craft a brew. As far as favorites, I made an Oktoberfest that was a huge crowd favorite, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. But I think I make a pretty badass ginger beer.
Height does have its advantages Mashing in with Head Brewer Pete Dickson
What is most interesting and appealing to you about Sixpoint?
Sixpoint, you’re so stylish, edgy, smart and tasty. Every time I hang out with you, I always have a blast. I’ve really liked being with you for the last few weeks, and really I hope that we can continue to see each other. It might be too soon for the big “L”, but I really like you, Sixpoint.
If could do anything else what would it have been?
I would have loved to be a drag queen. I love drag queens for their fabulousness and audacity. Plus, I suck at singing, but I’m an awesome lip-syncer.
What would be your proudest accomplishment?
Becoming a brewer after I was told I couldn’t do it.
Who would win in an arm wrestling competition you or Pete?
Pete’s got the guns, but I’ve got better hair.
Fun fact about you in 10 words or less?
Grew up on two acres surrounded by cows, horses, ostriches!