Some of you might have already heard the news, especially those close to him, but our Brewmaster of the last 4 – 5 years, Derek (Weedy) Weidenthal, is moving on. He’s been given a great opportunity in Arizona that sounds like a perfect fit for both him and for his new bride Caitlin.
Weedy approached me at, I think, the very first event that we did, and all he’s ever strived to do since that time is pour as much love and help into our business as he can. I reached out to him a couple weeks later for our Grand Opening to help pour beers and he was there all night, working incredibly hard, doing anything we asked him to do. We knew from the beginning that he was a great fit in terms of work ethic, and I’ve continuously been blown away by the caliber of brewer that he started as and that he has grown into over these last few years. Weedy was the one who approached me about trying to get some more courses under his belt in order to continue working to improve our quality. We instantly benefited any time that he took a class and every time he came back with a virtual fountain of new information to incorporate into our growing brewery. Some of the experimentation and research has resulted in incredible beers, notably his award winning Adambier. He is a brewer that is talented way beyond his years and with the right opportunities those of us in the beer world won’t stop hearing Weedy’s name – I can guarantee you that.
Weedy was actually the first person that Blue Pants hired. Up until that time it was all family and volunteer help. Not to get too sentimental, but he’s been around our family all these years as we and the brewery have grown up. Our daughter, Annabelle, still sees a motorcycle on the television and says “that’s what Weedy has!” He’s been a very cherished part of our business and our family and while he will be missed, we are all incredibly excited for him to be embarking on such a great adventure. I know his family is still here in town, so I don’t think it will be the last time he comes over to the brewery to have a pint.
Weedy knew this was coming a little before we did and he has taken some steps that I didn’t even recognize to position us for our continued growth. We have a great team of brewers and packagers that have worked as a group, basically all hired on the same day, for the last year. We picked up a couple new filters for better shelf life, have a new keg washer on the way, and he’s trained our group on some new swabbing techniques using an ATP meter. Weedy and I are still looking for a qualified brewer to take on some of the roles that he has been fulfilling, mostly with a focus on the production planning that he and I did regularly. You might see us slow down on playing with Biotransformation of Essential Hop Oils for a little while, but I’ve definitely been trying to pull all that information out where I can. Mostly because when he’s onto something, he needs a sounding board to talk about it.
We’ll be hosting a going away party for Weedy, and it comes just after the release of one of his last experiments at Blue Pants – the dry hopped sour – which I think is a nice culmination of the whacky experimentation that has occupied his enthusiasm for the last year or so (ranges from everything from a yeast that was thought to be a brett, to kettle souring, to that biotransformation of hop oils thing above).
Please join us for the Sendoff on Thursday, September 22nd from 5:00 – 7:30pm. It’s not goodbye – it’s good luck and see you soon!