The years long process of launching Exile Brewing Co. is nearing its end. The Fitch Soap Co. building, which was once a run-down and vacant warehouse, has been transformed into a modern-day brewery that beautifully displays its historical integrity. But while our project is complete and our team is ready to serve, our beer is still bubbling away in fermentation.
Exile Brewing Co. would like to invite any and all beer lovers to an exclusive event featuring the beverages of acclaimed breweries from around the state and the cuisine of our talented Executive Chef Tim Garton. Be one of the first to tour the brewery with Exile’s founders and brew master, then stay for a four-course beer dinner tailored to Iowa beers you already love. While we wish we could serve our own lagers and ales as well, we must obey the age-old rule of no brew before it’s due. Each night has a limited amount of seats available. All parties wanting to be a part of this special first look, please contact our event coordinator:
515-883-2337 (M-F, 9AM-5PM)
John and Exile Brewing Co. have been in communication for a few months. We were initially put in contact with him through a friend. We exchanged emails and information a few times, but got to know him best when he recently flew back from Scotland to meet us in person. Soon after our first meeting, we knew he was the one. Utilizing a background in chemistry at Iowa State, John is currently completing a masters in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in the U.K, and will soon join the team full bore to start creating beers in our lab like a mad scientist. We recently talked with John to hear his thoughts on kilts, brewing, and beer loving Germans (yes, ze Germans).
John Woodford, Head Brewer, Exile Brewing Co.
What is your favorite part about being in Scotland?
Definitely the people. Mostly because they always offer whisky to guests, which is nice. Edinburgh is a beautiful city, too, but the highlands and western islands have some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. The whole country really is an impressive place.
Have you picked up any of the accent?
No, thankfully, although after my first few nights here out at the pubs I found myself developing this awful, awkward, hybrid accent. I remember one night after a few pints I stopped mid-conversation after my buddy from the highlands started looking at me funny. I’ll never forget the face he made and thinking, “man, I sound like a complete idiot right now.”
What first got you interested in brewing?
I was studying chemistry up at Iowa State, so naturally I was in lab… a lot. On top of what I was doing for my classes, I did some biorenewable research the last couple of semesters, which is great stuff in theory, but man, some of those lab spaces are a black hole - where happiness goes to die. I had intentions of going to grad school, but I knew I would be miserable. Anyways, I was really getting into craft beer at this time and brewing was clearly the best application of chemistry that I could think of, so I checked out a few brewing books form the library and the rest is history.
When wearing a kilt, boxers or briefs?
John in a kilt, we shouldn't have asked.
What excites you the most about being the head brewer at Exile Brewing Co.?
Well the brewery itself is going to be incredible. When I first went through the site with R.J. I was really impressed, so I’d say the environment I’ll be working in is pretty exciting. I suppose I’m most excited to tap into the new equipment and start creating some incredible beers. I really like to experiment as well, so I’ll be using a lot of my free time working on some new and existing ideas and recipes.
When people think of beer cities throughout the world, there are many that come to mind. What is your favorite city for beer and why?
Probably Munich, not only because the beer is so good, but I’ve never really experienced anything else that rivals the environment of the beer halls there. And there really isn’t anything better than a sausage platter and kraut with a liter of dunkel. The Germans are doing it right!
John at Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Das right!
Name your favorite beer to start the night and your favorite beer to end the night.
To start I’ll go with something sessionable so I’m not falling over halfway through the night. Usually something hoppy because I’m always drinking dark beers by the end of the night. The best night cap would definitely be a Belgian strong ale like Rochefort 8, or even a weizenbock like Schneider Aventinus, although I usually end the night with a dram of whisky. Single malts are my second love.
Your favorite food to eat after a drinking session?
Doner kebabs, but only the ones in Berlin. And with extra crushed red pepper, of course. It’s not spicy enough if it doesn’t hurt.
Last but not least, your thoughts on light beer: horrible or terrible?
I was going to say superior drinkability… haha! Let’s just stick with “pretty damn awful.”
Love craft beer? Excited for the Iowa State Fair? Exile Brewing Company will be pouring beer at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent during the 2012 Iowa State Fair! During Craft Beer Week, the Iowa Craft Beer Tent has been announcing a number of participants each day. Today, Exile Brewing Company, along with three other breweries, has been officially announced as participants!
There will be 17 Iowa breweries represented in total, with final announcements ending tomorrow, May 18th. All beer poured will be craft beer from throughout the great state of Iowa. We are excited and honored to be part of this special event! More information about the Iowa Craft Beer Tent (and other craft beer info) can be found on their website and Facebook page. Come join us at the State Fair this summer to try our brews, eat fried Twinkies, and meet the team behind Exile Brewing Co.!