It’s Sam! Sam is WISEACRE’s A.M. brewer and resident look-at-er of things. A Memphis native, living in NYC before he came to work for WISEACRE, he explains how he landed back in the South:
“So, a couple years ago, before I was even a speck on the WISEACRE radar, I was living in NYC. I had spent the better part of my college years and early twenties working at a restaurant here in Memphis, and I reached a point where I felt I had just stagnated. It’s a common coming of age story for me and my millennial brethren – go to college; graduate college; defiantly refuse to use that worthless college degree; set a course for the life-path equivalent of deep space; YOLO… So, as a born and raised Memphian, what better reality check than to move to the land of “my rent check this month is 25,000% higher than my net worth as human?”
With an insane amount of help from family and friends, I made the leap, moved up to NYC without a job, and eventually landed a beer-slinging gig at Singlecut Beersmiths in Astoria, NY (QUEENS!!!) Over the course of about two and half years, I climbed my way up the brewery’s ranks, from mere bar tending plebe, up to the proud squad of aggressive-driving NYC beer delivery guys, all the way to the yeoman cellerman. I delivered a ridiculous amount of beer to the city’s famed bars and restaurants, ate and drank myself silly, and very nearly had a nervous breakdown. I survived though!
Shortly after WISEACRE opened, I was home visiting for the holidays. I brought along with me some Singlecut offerings and I shared them with the Bartosch bros. We kept in touch after that visit, and they invited Singlecut down for the first Taste the Rarity, where we got to know one another a little bit more. Not long after that, we had some seductive phone talks about me abandoning my Yankee transformation-in-progress in order to help build upon the success they were having here. Before I knew it, the South had swallowed me yet again. I’m totally OK with this turn of events though, because I get to help make some of my favorite beers with a bunch of really amazing people!
And that is how I came to be the resident looker of things, hulk smasher of things, and morning brewer of things.”
Sam’s latest recipe for WISEACRE is an amber-ish ale, aptly named My So-Called Beer. According to Sam “The idea behind it was a well-rounded ale, with a nice balance between the troika of malt, hops, and yeast – or as Davin said, “the beer of the 90’s.” I wanted something that wasn’t a malt bomb OR overly hoppy, that had a nice body and finished relatively dry. It ended up somewhere on the fence between a pale ale and an amber, and definitively American.”
My So-Called Beer is very much in the vein of the most primo decade in recent memory. Amber-ish, toasty, slightly bitter, dry, well-rounded and drinkable.
Get to know Sam even better by reading a very important Q&A session below.
What do you do at WISEACRE?
I look at things quite a bit, I drink coffee, I drink beer, I clean things, I science, I mill about… Sometimes I brew wort.
What do you like about beer?
I’d say one of the things I like most about beer is that it’s essentially made up of four ingredients – water, malt, hops, and yeast. The science behind those ingredients and how they contribute to the production of beer can be quite complicated, but the actual process creating of beer is really quite simple. I think I’m a person who gravitates towards simplicity for whatever reason, and I think that’s a big driver for my love of beer. It also tastes fantastic and gives you a nice warm and fuzzy feeling – especially after 3 or 4.
What is your favorite beer (style or specific beer)?
Again, my devotion to the simplistic life leads me to favor the pilsners and pale ales of the world. I drink more Tiny Bomb than anything else, so I’d say that’s a safe bet to say it’s one of my favorite beers.
What is the first beer you drank & what happened after you drank it?
Too many nights of too many beers has rendered the memory of my first beer nonexistent. I probably didn’t like it. I do, however, remember my first Sierra Nevada and I remember wondering why anyone would bother with the Budweisers and Millers of the world when THAT was available. It’s still a go-to beer for me, provided WISEACRE isn’t on the menu…
What is your favorite pizza topping combination?
I don’t know if anything quite beats a Grandma’s pie. It’s an NYC thing (all of my coworkers are rolling their eyes), and I used to get those slices all the time. For the uninitiated, it’s a square pie with huge chunks of fresh mozzarella, garlic, and basil. Buttered crust. Ugh, so good… 2nd place: pepperoni and mushroom.
What sorts of obscure things are you into?
I wouldn’t call it obscure, but I play the drums and do a little music on the side for fun. I’m also acting commish of the WISEACRE Fake Sports-Ball League (fantasy basketball league). Sadly, I’m currently in 6th place…
If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Tyrion Lannister. Wait, hear me out! He has the smarts, he kinda gets to rule the world, he can eat and drink as much as he likes, all despite his vertical limitations… Maybe some combination of him and Podrick though, given Podrick’s standing among women?
Do you know a good joke?
I’m a ginger. We don’t make jokes. We just secretly plot our impending world domination, 24/7.
Have you acquired any nicknames since you started working for WISEACRE?
I’m known as The Hulk around the brewery for my incredible ability/tendency to break things that more ordinary men/women could not even fathom. I think I’ve got a standing 3-0 record against stainless steel manway doors… on the other side of the coin, Safety Sam was a nickname given to me for my incomprehensible knack for disregarding the safety of my own body. My first day on the job I ran my forehead into a stainless steel pipe, putting a nice scratch across my money-maker. I also think I’m the only employee to-date that had to visit the hospital for a workplace incident – I got a nice eye-patch out of it and won the hearts and minds of Chattanoogans as a result. PSA: LOOK AT THINGS EARLY AND OFTEN, JUST NOT TOO CLOSELY.
You have 30 seconds left to live, you can consume any food and drink. What food and drink would it be?
Probably a downright disgusting amount of Tiny Bomb and Tops burgers.