Meet Alyssa Thorpe - Head Brewer at Jagged Mountain Brewery
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery came to grace us with their presence in 2013 out of Denver, Colorado. A couple of outdoors-man with a passion for the outdoors and of course, craft beer! They also received an award for “2013 New Colorado Brewery of the Year (Denver Post - Troy Casey).” They also give back to the local community through “Jagged Gives,” which features a number of outreach programs that benefit and assists a number of Denver area charities. Just another awesome addition to the ever popular beer culture in Denver!
Meet Alyssa Thorpe, Head Brewer with Jagged Mountain. Alyssa ever so kindly answered my questions for inquiring minds. I know she is busy because I follow her on Instagram. Love to see women working and creating in the beer industry.
It should not matter (society is its own beast) but how do people react to you as a brewer? Especially maybe some other males in the industry? Are they welcoming? Do they act resistant in the beginning?
It shouldn't matter! But of course, it does... I haven't had too many haters, or I try to ignore them, but I get my fair share of people within the industry who initially meet me and don't treat me as equals. Luckily for me I have built a name for myself in the Denver area so I don't get that much anymore! In all reality it's hard for any woman to be taken seriously in the beer industry, but I hope in the next few years that will change.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced or heard of maybe from others female brewers in getting hired as a brewer?
For me, and I suspect most other women trying to brew, is just getting your foot in the door. I graduated from a good brewing program at Regis University and still had trouble finding a solid brewing job afterwords. I think employers seem to have been concerned with if I could actually do the work, if I could lift a grain bag, or if I was up to getting down and dirty. Its hard to prove yourself based off of an interview.
At what point did you decide "I want to brew beer?"
Back when I was still home-brewing I had the privilege of brewing a Pro-Am beer with Black Project - a bohemian Pilsner. I got to go to the GABF awards ceremony with them and realized how amazing and supportive the beer industry was. It was such a great experience to have from the outside and instantly knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Are you a member of the Pink Boot Society?
Absolutely! They are such an amazing organization that supports women in the industry! I've had a lot of friends get amazing scholarship opportunities through them. I'm always happy to brew a beer in honor of them every year for International Women's Day.
What did you do for a career before you found the love to brew?
I have always had a love for science and biology- I was a Veterinary Technician for almost 10 years! I often say that it was much more demanding and debatably harder job than brewing is. It was stressful and emotionally draining with long hours, patients that wanted to bite you, and little pay. It takes a true passion to work with animals. I sometimes miss that job, but mentally it was time for me to retire from that job and do something way more fun!
What is unique about the beers you brew?
I always have the goal of brewing extremely drinkable beer. I like Dry beer. I like to brew things that I find interesting or fun. I think brew a diverse set of beers, but all of them I love to drink at the end of the day. I also really love to work with fruit and botanics.
I see you are born and raised in Texas like myself, where at? How do you like Denver in comparison?
I was born and raised in a small town called Roanoke right outside of Fort Worth. At first when I moved out here with my now husband I was super homesick. After being here almost 4 years I absolutely love it. The weather is amazing, the mountains are unbeatable and the beer scene is amazing. I still love Texas, but I live in a permanent vacation. I'm spoiled now!
What was your first craft beer?
I would have to say, although i'm not sure because I've always liked beer and did mixed 6 packs at the grocery store for years even before I knew anything about craft beer, but probably Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (before they sold...)
Favorite place you have ever traveled to and why?
So far Japan definitely makes the top of the list. The food was incredible, the craft beer was surprisingly booming and delicious, and the people were some of the nicest in the world. It was amazing to see how organized their society was, and how much beautiful culture they had. I really want to go back soon!