My Journey

I took apart an alarm clock when I was four. I guess I literally wanted to find out what made the thing tick, and once I grasped the notion that screws held it together, it was game on. This basic little story—finding something intriguing that begged for my deeper understanding—has driven my life and work ever since.

My primary goals have been to seek new knowledge and creatively solve problems.

As a creative professional, I jumped on the opportunities that came my way, then have had fun learning new subject matter and acquiring relevant skills. And so I morphed from a graphic designer to an advertising creative director, to a writer and educator, incorporating my goals along the way. I was fortunate to be able to apply these skills to various industries.

My interests in creative cooking and science led me to beer and brewing. Once there, I acquired enough expertise to write six books, partner with two brewery startups, teach, and speak around the world. Other interests along the way in leatherwork, woodwork, metalwork, and electronics have satisfied my desire for both creativity and problem solving, enriching and enhancing my personal spaces.

My current writing project satisfies a longstanding curiosity about sensory perception including a deep dive into the science behind it.

While under-appreciated, even though it’s a constant part of our daily lives, tasting turns out to be irresistibly complex and endlessly fascinating. Not finding a comprehensive summary of the extensive scientific information on this subject, I decided to tackle it myself.

Five years later, my manuscript has been submitted to my publisher, the University of Chicago Press, and is now in the editorial process, including scientific peer review. For me this project isn’t a turn into left field, but another product of my continually evolving exploration of life.

Notable events in my professional evolution

(Additional information about past and present affiliations can be found in Advocate)

BS in Graphic Design, University of Cincinnati

Designer, art director, creative director for studios and agencies

Freelance designer/consultant specializing in branding and packaging

Publication of The Brewer’s Companion (second edition, 1995)

Columnist, All About Beer magazine

American Homebrewers Association Governing Committee

Board of directors, The Brewers Association

Senior Instructor, The Siebel Institute

Publication of Radical Brewing

Publication of Tasting Beer (second edition, 2017; now in 9 languages)

Partner, creative director for 5 Rabbit Cervecería

Speaker at international conferences

Partner, Senior Alchemist, Forbidden Root Benefit, LLC (brewery)

Publication of A Beer for All Seasons

Publication of Mastering Homebrew

Content Advisory Board, The Beer Culture Center (formerly The Brewseum)

Columnist, Beer & Brewing magazine

Manuscript research and writing, Your Tasting Brain