We like to trade beer, and I recently met a nice man on Google+ that lives in Arkansas. I wasn’t sure what beers were available, but it was Prairie Bomb! from Prairie Artisan Ales. I still haven’t tried it, but plan on opening it soon at a tasting with another guy I met on Google+. Seems like Google+ is the place to meet people these days. Anyway, he sent me a bunch of good beers, including a few bombers from Core Brewing & Distilling Co. I wasn’t familiar with this brewing company, but they have wiener dogs on the label… We have 2 wiener dogs at home, so I was hooked. I didn’t even care what the beer tasted like. I just loved the label! We got the chance to try a couple of their beers including the Imperial Red IPA and the Hilltop IPA. I like hops, what can I say.
After drinking the first beer, I shared a photo on Facebook. I tagged the brewery and thought nothing of it. Within a few minutes, Jesse Core left a comment on the post. Um… Jesse Core… That name sounds familiar. Wait. Jesse Core FROM Core Brewing? Yep! It sure was. We talked for a little bit on Facebook and I asked him if he wanted to do an interview. It was a random way to meet someone, but I am grateful for his beer and for his insane hospitality. It was fun learning more about Jesse and the brewery and more importantly, the wiener dogs! It is my pleasure to introduce you to Jesse Core.
I DO take pride in my wiener… We actually have 2 wiener dogs. There is a wiener dog on the bottle. Tell me more about your obsession with dogs!
That is great to hear! The wiener on the logo is Barney. He was my dog and lived to be over 19 years old. My mother bought him for me after my team lost the state football championship to a cross-town rival. Barney was a special member of our family for a long time.
My buddy Joe introduced me to your beers. I had the Hilltop IPA and the Imperial Red IPA. You guys make a bunch of beers… Do you have a favorite?
ESB is my go-to. I have been brewing ESB for over 20 years and it has been with me through thick and thin. I love the rich balance of the style.
Leg Hound Lager is an award-winning beer. What style is that, and what awards did it win?
Leg Hound won the “People’s Choice Award” at the Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival. It is an Oktoberfest style. Our fans on Facebook gave the beer its name.
Of course you have a beard. Pretty much every brewer in Arizona has a beard! What came first… The beer or the beard?
Well… The beer. I told my team that I was not going to cut my hair or beard unless we hit 2 different stretch goals. I have a fresh new haircut and hope to be shaving the beard soon.
Speaking of beards, have you had Beard Beer from Rogue Ales?
Not yet, but I would love to try it. I have a great deal of respect for Rogue Ales.
Wait… Brewery AND distilling? What spirits do you make?
After 19 months of nonsensical regulatory hell, we have been approved to distill. We started last week. We make Arkansas Whiskey and Brandy.
Tell me more about your webisodes.
Brewing is hard-ass plant work. It takes a special personality to put in the hours. But, the work is very gratifying. We love to balance our hard work with some fun. After all, if you cannot have fun making craft beer and spirits, what can you do that is fun? The webisodes are a nice way for us to show our friends and fans the people behind the beer.
Until I met Joe, I didn’t know anyone from Arkansas. What is the craft beer scene like in Arkansas?
Booming! After living in Boulder and San Diego, I can say that Arkansas is on a great path to becoming a wonderful beer destination.
Have you ever been to the Great American Beer Festival?
I used to live in Denver, so my brothers and I would make sure we attended the Great American Beer Festival every year.
Tell me about your relationship with the American Brewer’s Association.
I would say my relationship is the same as any other brewery. Glad we have an organization that looks out for American craft breweries.
When you aren’t drinking Core beers, what beer are you drinking?
I enjoy so many different beers it is impossible to say. With our emerging beer culture in Northwest Arkansas, I am usually sipping on something locally made.
I would LOVE to try some of your beers. From Pumpkin Pie to the Oak Aged Barleywine, you have quite an impressive lineup. Past trading beers with Joe, how can I get I get my hands on your beers?
Thanks to our customers, we continue to expand. We are moving to Missouri in May, South Dakota in June, and Tennessee in July. Hopefully, we can get some beer out to Arizona in the near future.
Who designs all of your labels?
A group of good dudes who work for Livewire Strategic Marketing.
Hoppy beers are all the rage right now. Do you see any other trends in craft beer?
Hoppy beers are certainly a lot of fun. I keep hearing “session” more and more.
Beer is expensive. How do you decide what to charge for a beer?
Demand is always the driver for the price of craft beer. We are premium brand who uses premium raw material so our prices are on the upper end. However, it depends on the product. For example, Hilltop is less expensive than our Imperial Red IPA.
A lot of brewing companies release beers only on tap at the brewery. Do you guys have anything like that?
We have a “Pilot Program” that we only serve at our tasting room. We allow our customers to sample new ideas and get feedback. It is a lot of fun for patrons and provides us with a great deal of feedback.
There are a lot of rare beers out there… Do you guys have any rare beers?
We produce an Imperial Chocolate Stout that is made with 30 pounds of premium chocolate. It is one batch per year that does not stick around long.
What is your favorite style?
ESB without a doubt.
Do you guys offer flights in the tasting room?
Absolutely. Our tasting room is a popular local spot.
Can I fill my growler at Core Brewing?
Absolutely. We are open every day.
Have you ever made a mistake while brewing a batch of beer?
To make good beer, you have to make a lot of mistakes and learn from them. I have made many, many, many mistakes.
What’s next for Core Brewing?
We are opening a new tasting room in Rogers in June. We are excited about our distilling operation and the continual growth in the Arkansas craft world.
If we ever meet, I would like to buy you a drink. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Swing by the tasting room. I would be happy to show you around and of course do some tasting… I feel very grateful for where we are. I have an enormous amount of respect for those who started this great industry. Additionally, our goal is simple. If we make beer that Arkansans are proud to drink, the rest will take care of itself.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk a bit about our brewery.
Connect with Core Brewing & Distilling Co.:Website: http://www.corebeer.com/