Martin House Brewing Co. Founder Cody Martin considers craft brewing a unique combination of art and engineering. Formally trained in the latter, he worked as an environmental engineer while simultaneously honing his skills as a home brewer until March of 2013, when he opened his brewery in Fort Worth. Here's a chat with Martin on sustaining the local beer boom and how his beard saved his life.
What's the greatest misconception about being a brewer? Probably that we drink beer all day. We do drink some beer, but not all day and not near as much as some people seem to think. They also probably don't realize how much time we spend cleaning stuff.
In 2010, there were just two local craft breweries. Now there are more than a dozen. Do you think this explosive growth is sustainable? Are there enough craft beer enthusiasts for all the local beers? I think the growth might be sustainable. We're already seeing a change in the market where tap handles and shelf space are harder to come by. I think that craft beer enthusiasts will keep up with the breweries as long as the retail establishments keep making craft more and more prominent and available.
What's in your beer fridge right now? Basically all the local stuff that's canned. I'm partial to cans.
Ever had a colossal brewing mistake? Like a situation where you wanted to laugh and cry all at once. A few. Our very first brew day was long and trying for several reasons. At the end of the brew, while we were cooling our wort we opened the wrong valve and was rewarded with a powerful stream of sweet boiling wort. Directly in the face, shoulder and arm. Mostly the face. I've still got a scar on my arm, but my beard protected my face completely. I tell people my beard saved my life.
Do you have any advice for budding brewers? 1. Make good beer. 2. It's going to take much more effort then you think to win and keep customers. 3. Don't expect to get rich.
Have you found any invaluable brewing resources? McMaster Carr is a brewers best friend.
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What's the hardest part of your job, and, at the other end of the spectrum, the best part? The hardest part is working a full day in the brew house then going at night to do promotional event. The best part is working with my best friends and knowing that all our employees love their jobs.
Are there any styles, ingredients, trends or brewing processes that you're really excited about right now? We are excited about experimenting with barrels and sour yeasts coming up soon.
What's the best beer you've ever had? I could never pick one. (I assume you mean other than my own.) I may like one style more than another depending on my mood. Also, my tastes seem to be constantly evolving - especially lately. However, Jester Kings Salt Lick is one that stands out recently as being absolutely outstanding.
What's the most ridiculous or far-fetched thing you've ever done to get beer? Like traveled somewhere just to taste this or that. Or tried to sneak it somewhere or ... anything crazy? Not very ridiculous or far-fetched, but I once took a work assignment with my old engineering company in Tampa so I could visit Cigar City. Ended up returning home with several cases of goodies.