Joey Hansen is our head brewer here at Exile and we interviewed him so you could learn more about him, the person who makes our beer AWESOME. So grab a brew and read on!!
Erin: What’s your story?
Joey: Grew up in Gtown, aka Grinnell, Iowa where I graduated high school. I then headed north to Cedar Falls where I received my degree in Exercise Science from THE University of Northern Iowa. After graduation my wife and I moved to San Diego, California as I accepted a position as a rehab specialist at a spinal cord injury recovery center. After 3 years we decided we wanted to move back to the great state of Iowa to start our family.
EM: How did you get into brewing and can you remember your first experience with beer?
JH: I remember as a kid my dad bought a home brew kit and tried it out in our basement. Not sure anything turned out the way he hoped but I think that’s how it all starts. I got a sweet little home brew kit for Christmas from my brother and we began experimenting. Nothing to exciting came from those kits but it peaked my interests.
I have to say my first enjoyable experience with good beer came from a trip to Europe in college. I remember going to Munich and trying a Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier and couldn’t believe how great it tasted. The banana aroma and flavor was mind blowing to me at the time considering what I was used to having on The Hill in Cedar Falls. It definitely opened my eyes to more flavorful beers that were out in the market.
EM: What is your typical day like at Exile?
JH: Typical day is getting up at 4:30am to get to the brewery by 5:00-5:30 to get mashed in. We are at the point where we are brewing at least 4 double batches per week so I spend 95% of my days in the brew house. If I’m not in there I’m in the cellar getting yeast cropped off or milling in for the next batch.
EM: Any weird things you guys do while brewing?
JH: I can’t say anything we do is weird but we listen to a lot of bluegrass and usually so loud that we normally can’t hear each other. Also the brew house definitely has some funky smells coming out of it but makes for a killer Berliner Weisse style ale.
EM: What is your favorite beer to brew and where do you get inspiration
JH: My favorite beer to brew right now is G-Funk Gose. I didn’t realize how much I loved the smell of coriander seed until it simmers in the boiling wort.
EM: If you were a style of beer, what style would you be and why?
JH: I’d say a nice pale ale. I’m a fan of a clean malt bill and experimenting with the different flavors/aromas that come from the many hop varieties available.
EM: Outside Exile, top three breweries and what do they do that you like?
JH: Stone Brewing Co, Karl Strauss Brewing Co, and Russian River Brewing Co. Stone and Karl Strauss were the two breweries that got me hooked on craft beer in San Diego and Russian River have some phenomenal barrel aged sours.
EM: Favorite thing about the beer industry, Iowa’s in particular?
JH: It’s got to be that I’m fortunate enough to actually say I love going into work and meaning it. There’s not too many people out there that can say that.
EM: Best city to drink beer in, besides Des Moines obviously?
JH: I’m partial to San Diego, CA. Amazing weather, beaches, and pretty dang tasty brews.
EM: Do you still play around with home brewing kits?
JH: I don’t have too much time to brew at home but we have some plans in the near future to get creative and experiment here at Exile.
EM: Hobbies (besides brewing and drinking beer)?
JH: Love spending time with my family and friends. Nothing better than having a BBQ with the family and hanging by the fire pit….usually with an Exile in hand.
EM: Something someone might be surprised to learn about you?
JH: I’m a pretty shy and laid back guy but a switch is flipped during Iowa Hawkeye football games….it’s typically best if I watch the games in a cold, dark basement where I cannot be heard from outsiders.
EM:Lastly, if you could share a beer with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
JH: I’d love to share a beer with Dave Matthews. I’ve always been a huge fan of DMB and think he’d have some pretty amazing stories to tell.