This week, I got the opportunity to throw a few questions at Jimmy Gohsman, the blendmaster at 4 Brothers Blended Beer. 4 Brothers, a Wisconsin-based brewery, was founded by four Gohsman brothers in 2012 and they've been happily brewing and blending since. While their beers aren't yet available in Illinois, you should be able to find them across our northern border easily enough. Read on to see how Jimmy answered my questions.
Q: What made you want to start the brewery with your siblings? Any sibling rivalry (no pun intended) going on within the ranks?
A: We’d like to think we’re a relatively smart group of guys with a passion for craft beer and we’ve all got some different business/industry experience so it made sense to go into business together. It’s a passion for all of us and we wanted to do something that we could work on together and build so we can all do what we love for living. There is definitely some Sibling Rivalry going on! Our backgrounds differ a bit which can be a double edged sword at times ;) On the one hand we have different ways of seeing things, which forces us to look at things differently than we normally would. On the other hand we have different ways of seeing things, which means at some point we’ll each have to forfeit from time to time. We don’t move forward on anything until everyone has had a chance to voice their opinion and concerns. We have yet to come to a point where we’re at odds and can’t move forward with something. At the end of the day we’re brothers first and co-workers second. To be clear, we are a recipe brewer. We develop the recipes and fine tune them on our pilot system and contract the production/bottling through an existing brewery.
Q:What's the story behind blendology? Who put the idea out there and ran with it?
A: We’re all craft beer enthusiasts and I have been home brewing since college. We love sampling new beers and we’re always seeking out new flavor profiles. At one of our family get-togethers one thing lead to another and we started blending some of my homebrews from the growlers and liked what we were drinking. The next day we sobered up and tried it again and it still tasted great ;) Done right it offers some unique and balanced flavor profiles. I started brewing batches based on the beers we were mixing from the growlers to see if it could be done from the beginning of the brew process and the results were phenomenal. Once we knew it could be done with consistent results in a controlled manner we thought we were on to something.
Q:How much longer do you believe it will be before you expand distribution beyond Wisconsin?
A: We’re looking to expand as soon as it makes sense. We want to first make sure we can continue to support WI statewide prior to expanding into surrounding markets. Once we have our arms wrapped around ongoing demand in WI we’re hoping to expand into MN and IL prior to 2015.
Q:What is your favorite 4 Brothers beer?
A: This is probably not the answer you’re looking for, but it would vary per occasion for us ;) The reason we wanted to come out with 4 beers right away was to offer a lighter option, an amber-ish option, a hoppy option, and a dark option; not only for ourselves to pick and choose from, but to offer something different to please those who like lighter/hoppier etc. We all also enjoy the culinary arts, so often what beer we prefer depends on what we’re eating, and also what type of mood we’re in. If it’s a cold winter night and I’m hunkered down then Relative Madness is my go-to, or if I’m having a nice garden salad with some grilled chicken a Whipper Snapper would be the choice. Interestingly; while we were going through the process of designing and perfecting the recipes, Andy found out that he was not just more apt to rough hangovers than the rest of us, but that he was gluten intolerant, so we’re working on a GF option as well.
Q:What has been your go to non-4 Brothers beer lately? Perhaps your go-to beer in general or one that has really stood out to you in the past couple months.
A: I am a big fan of Lagunitas and Bell's. If I’m not trying something new I’ll grab a Two Hearted or DayTime. One of the best beers I can remember having was Eclipse Brown Ale at Equinox in Ft. Collins when I lived out in CO. Tommy is a big Lagunitas fan with Founders coming in a close second. Robin is a Bells and Oscar Blues guy. Andy, prior to realizing he was gluten intolerant was a big fan of Stone; he now prefers Lakefront new Grist.
If you've got any questions for the brothers you can send them an inquiry at email@example.com. You can also learn about their "Beer Ambassador" program here.
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