Last year I did a profile for each of most of the local breweries in the Philadelphia region. I've updated them, but instead of once again spilling them out across the page here, I'll simply point you over to where you can find and download the profile. Flying Fish continues to crank out some of the regions most dependable beers and this past year was awarded justly by its peers at the Great American Beer Festival. Click here for a 2009 updated Profile of Flying Fish. An addition to the profiles this year will be an interview with a key "player" at each establishment. Casey Hughes, lead brewing artist at Flying Fish, spent a few minutes for some questions with me.
The Brew Lounge: Let's start off with the obvious. How did it feel winning this year at GABF? And other than winning, what was your favorite part of this year's Festival?
Casey Hughes: Winning is always nice, it's nice to be honored by your peers in brewing with a medal. The best part is seeing all of my fellow brewers in the area winning and showing people from the rest of the country that we have so many skilled brewers in this area that win medals in so many different styles.
TBL: Did you have anyone searching you out at the Festival with a job offer? But, seriously, answer this one honestly. Given comparables and a relocation package, where would be the one region/country that you would take a brewing job other than in the Delaware Valley.
CH: I've always wanted to go back to the Keys at some point and open a small production brewery where I can take my boat to work and enjoy summer all of the time. That said though, there is nowhere better than this area to brew beer; we have the best breweries, bars, brewers, and drinkers in the country.
TBL: Speaking of job offers, brew news of late has John Fiorilli heading west. Do you have plans that you can share for replacing him?
CH: Yup, John is heading out west to be Head Brewer at Mountain Sun Brewing in Colorado. He is going to be impossible to replace, Mountain Sun doesn't know how good of an employee they got, his personality, work ethic, and brewing knowledge are all top notch. I can't wait to go to Denver this year and see him on stage getting a medal from Papazian.
TBL: Is there any other change in the works at Flying Fish that you care to share at this point? I know there have been some brewhouse modifications/additions that you and John have been working on, right?
CH: We just installed a new brew kettle with an internal calandria that speeds up our brew days (and looks beautiful!) and I will be putting in a HMI (Human Mechanical Interface) to control all of our tanks and bottling line and it will give me the option of checking/changing tank temperatures from my phone where ever I'm at.
TBL: That will be one valuable phone!...Last year's Philly Beer Week was, by most accounts, a smashing success. What stood out most for you last year and what are you looking forward to the most this year?
CH: All of the events at Beer Week were great, I'm amazed that everything went off so well since it was the first year and this year is looking to be even better. There are so many great events but I always look forward to the Local Brewers Center City Bar Tour, with so many events going on during week this is the one event that a bunch of us brewers/brewery reps can get together and drink some beers together. I'm also looking forward to the Klash of the Kaisers event because Patrick Jones and I got to brew a beer to honor our great friend Jay Misson who we lost last year.