Welcome to an ongoing BREWVANA series, Favorite Brewers’ Favorite Brewers. The project is simple: I ask some of the industry’s most notable brewers to share which brewers they most admire and why.
Vinnie. Like Madonna, Sting and Prince, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company is one of the great American brewers who could get away with just one name. Refer to “Vinnie,” and folks know who you’re talking about. Not only is he credited with brewing the first Double IPA, Vinnie’s also known for his work with barrels and bugs—and his willingness to share his expertise. Who inspires him?
BREWVANA: Who is one of your favorite and influential-to-you brewers in the industry and why?
VINNIE CILURZO: I can’t pin it down to one person; I have to list four people: Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewery; it is no secret I am big Sierra Nevada fan, not just for their amazing beers but for the way Ken pursues quality and the way he runs his brewery. As an industry, we are very lucky to have someone like him around to inspire the rest of us. I was lucky enough to do a collaboration with Ken’s son Brian at Sierra Nevada; it was amazing seeing the inter-workings of SNBC. Ken and his staff never do things the easy way, but they always do it the proper way.
I also have to tip my hat to Peter Bouckaert at New Belgium for inspiring and teaching me the art of sour, barrel-aged beers. I’m also a big fan of Jean Marie Rock at Orval for his amazing depth of knowledge of Brettanomyces and finally Hedwig Neven at Duvel for his ability to make amazing Belgian beers.