The New School continues November “Interview Month” with a guest article by Little Beast Brewing’s co-founder/brewmaster Charles Porter, who interviewed up and coming Moksa Brewing’s co-founder/brewer Cory Meyer. The following is Charles Porter’s interview with Meyer, as written and transcribed by Porter.
I met Cory just this year while he was touring several Portland breweries, sent our way by a friend. I became intrigued by the beers he talked about and what we sampled on his visit to our brewery. The Moksa crew makes some fantastic pastry Stouts, a style that I have grown to love. They also are very well noted for their Hazey IPA’s, with a great fan base. Just recently, Cory came back to our new location in Clackamas, and we brewed a collaboration – A Hazey IPA! But in true Little Beast style, we decided to add two of our favorite strains of Brettanomyces and see what happens (it’s still developing in the tank). You can find their beers in the Sacremento area at their pub as well as in small releases in the Portland, OR market. Thanks Cory!Cory is a brewer and co-founder at Moksa Brewing Company in Rocklin, CA, which opened in February 2018. He has been brewing professionally for just over three years, before which he was an avid homebrewer for many more.Q: What do you consider to be the roots of your brewing career?
Corey Meyer: The first beer I ever made was from a Mr.Beer kit I got for my birthday about 12 years ago. It was truly terrible. I thought I could do better, though, so I began my dive into the hobby. Soon it became an obsession and deep money pit, but I loved every minute of it. It wasn’t until five or six years later that the idea of brewing as a career started to creep up in my head, so I bought myself a BA membership and started going to conferences, pro brewing workshops at UC Davis, and just researching at every opportunity. A few years after that I was lucky enough to get a foot in the door washing kegs and helping out part-time at New Glory Craft Brewery, and six months later I quit my day job, took a huge pay cut, and made the leap – best decision I ever made.
Q: What’s the culture like at Moksa Brewing? Tell us about the beers you make and the ethos behind it.
Simply put, the culture at Moksa is all about the beer, and we brewers (Derek Gallanosa and myself) feel very lucky for that. Ever since my friend (and now owner) Nu and I started musing about opening a brewery years ago, our primary motivation was nothing more than to make great beers. We try to constantly to push our beers (and especially out stouts) over the limit, with an emerging mantra of “there’s no such thing as too much”. To this day we’ve never gotten pushback from management when we want to try something crazy, like a stout that was 1/3 Raspberry puree by volume, or one to which we just added 7.5 lbs of vanilla beans in 8 bbls.
Q: You guys have had a great start and a quick reputation at Moksa, what do you owe that to?
I think we owe all of that to our fans. It’s sort of a new trend for craft beer consumers to want to know who the brewer(s) are behind the brand. When starting Moksa, we combined both mine (from New Glory in Sacramento) and Derek (Abnormal Beer Co in San Diego)’s reputations, by combining two previous head brewers into a single team. We were honestly overwhelmed and humbled at the response right from the start when our first-year membership sold out in one day, before we’d served a single drop of beer.
Q: What was your biggest influence to becoming a brewer?
I guess for me it was just a slow realization that brewing professionally might actually be achievable. For years I’d spent every free moment either homebrewing, researching, or thinking about my next recipe, and eventually the notion that I could get paid for that time started to sound pretty appealing.
Q: What are your favorite California brewers and beers? Who do you respect most in the local Sacramento beer scene?
When I first started getting into beer, I was really inspired by the caliber and creativity of beers from breweries like Russian River and The Bruery. They taught me to love sours and IPAs, and barrel-aged stouts and imaginative beers, respectively. To this day, Pliny and Black Tuesday are still among my all-time favorites. As for Sacramento specifically, I think we are lucky enough to now to be part of a craft beer scene which is really blossoming. We have a wealth of talent in town now, and I expect us to collectively be more and more known as a beer destination in the coming years. If I had to name a few in the area in no particular order, let’s say Flatland, Claimstake, Moonraker, Urban Roots, Mraz, and New Glory are all making fantastic beers. I’m sure I’m forgetting more than a couple others, too.
Q: If you had one place or person to visit and learn about brewing, where would it be?
For no particular reason, Shaun at Hill Farmstead comes to mind. I guess I’ve always had a great respect for both his beers and philosophy of beer. Or maybe I should say Chad at Crooked Stave, to continue learning about Brettanomyces, which I enjoyed using very much as a homebrewer but have unfortunately not been able to play with professionally (yet!). Honestly though, I believe every brewer, no matter how great, could learn at least one little thing from every other brewer out there. I’ve been thrilled to be able to collaborate with as many great brewers as we have so far this year.
Q: What’s coming up from Moksa that you are most excited about?
Barrel-aged stouts! From day one, we have put about half of every stout we’ve brewed into spirit (mostly bourbon) barrels. The first of these are at just about the ten-month mark, and sometime next year we plan to start emptying barrels and reaping the rewards of that investment. So far what we’ve sampled is pretty promising!
Q: What beer should we drink next? (hopefully accessible by a wider audience)
I’m really looking forward to what we have planned for our first-anniversary stout. I can’t give spoilers quite yet, but suffice to say we’ll be pushing our budget and equipment to the limit. It’s crazy to think that we’ve only been open for ten months, but as long as we can keep thinking up new ideas, I’m excited for what’s to come!