Welcome back to one of our favorite interview series here at BeerSelfie, “Behind the Brew”. In these interviews, we get a chance to focus not so much on the beers themselves, but on the people behind those beers. Today, we’re talking with a man behind some of the community’s favorite brews. That man is none other than Derek Gallanosa.
BeerSelfie: Please introduce yourself, and how you find yourself a part of the Craft Beer community.
Derek Gallanosa: Hello! My name is Derek Gallanosa and I’m the Head Brewer of Moksa Brewing Co. I also handle our membership, outside events, sales, and marketing including social media. As far as being a part of the craft beer community, not only am I a producer of beer but on my time off you’ll sometimes finding me trying other people’s brews at either another brewery or local beer bar. I also contribute through education. Recently I taught Craft Beer Marketing classes at San Diego State University, the California Craft Beer Association’s yearly Summit, and soon at UC Davis.
BeerSelfie: Wow – you’re doing, well, everything! Those are a lot of skills and abilities to be able to bring to bear – how did your journey into craft beer get started?
Derek Gallanosa: Ever since I started drinking beer I wanted to continually try new styles and breweries. Growing up in San Diego there was no shortage of options.
BeerSelfie: Well, there are certainly worse reasons than that to get into craft beer! Since you’ve jumped in, what have you found to be the most enjoyable thing about craft beer and the community that has grown around it?
Derek Gallanosa: The most enjoyable thing about this community is the passion. For some people this is a way of life. It’s fun to meet other people with the same passion, most of my new friends have come from the beer community.
BeerSelfie: Agreed – passion around a common interest can forge some very strong bonds, and lead you down some interesting roads. Since you’ve joined the community, how have you seen it grow and/or change?
Derek Gallanosa: Since I joined the community, people are more into the scene. And sometimes, that means they’re way too into the scene. A positive outcome of the evolution of the community has been the growth of craft beer fans. At Moksa we are able to sell the majority of our beer in our taproom. This wouldn’t happen without the amount of beer drinkers there are today.
BeerSelfie: Yes, I would define being able to supply the home crowd – and not necessarily worrying about wider distribution – as a very good problem to have. Even so, I imagine you need to get the word out about new releases. How do you see social media playing into (and influencing) the craft beer “scene” ?
Derek Gallanosa: Social Media is by far the leader for reaching your current or potential audience. No other platform can spread information faster. If you make a good product, people will share it.
BeerSelfie: Speaking of good products – what would you say is your “Go To” brew that you reach for?
Derek Gallanosa: At home or at a bar I’m usually drinking a West Coast IPA or Miller High Life. It’s kind of ironic that I prefer those styles but mostly make Hazy IPAs and Pastry Stouts. I do enjoy those big styles but I can only drink so much of them. They are pretty fun to brew though.
BeerSelfie: I have to imagine it’s sort of like the person who works at the bakery – sure, donuts are great, but you just want a change of pace when you’re not at work! Yourself aside, when you’ve got someone asking you for a recommendation, what’s the first one that comes to mind?
Derek Gallanosa: For a beer I would recommend you try our Lagers or West Coast IPAs then move on to the Hazies and Stouts. We pride ourselves on brewing multiple styles well and I want the consumer to give themselves the opportunity to see that.
BeerSelfie: Well, they don’t say that “Variety is the spice of life” for no good reason – and you’ve just given us some more good reasons. When it comes to variety, what’s going in the box that you’re sending out for a solid six-pack trade?
Derek Gallanosa: Well beyond throwing in a few of my beers as extras I would send a combo of some NorCal gems from breweries like Urban Roots, Slice, Cellarmaker, Sante Adarius Rustic Ales ,The Rare Barrel and Humble Sea.
BeerSelfie: Wow, those are a ton of spots I’ve never heard of – if I ever make it out your way, I’m going to have to go on a crawl with you! And how cool is that – Cellarmaker has Detroit-style pizza (aka, the style I grew up with). Lots of good stuff out there in California, it seems! If you had one piece of advice to someone jumping into craft beer community – in whatever capacity – what would it be?
Derek Gallanosa: My advice for joining the craft beer community is to be open to styles other than what’s trendy. I feel you’ll have a better appreciation for beer and the people that make them if you can grow past the usual IPA, Stout, and Sour rotation.
BeerSelfie: Hmm, feels like that’s some advice that I need to take to heart, especially as I’ve just started rotating in the stouts in the colder Chicago weather! If you could sit down and share a beer with anyone, who would it be, and why?
Derek Gallanosa: As you grow older your friends tend to move around and fade out of your lives. I would love to get together my childhood buddies and kick back a few beers.
BeerSelfie: I hear you there, man – life seems to hit fast forward at a certain point, and it’s great to be able to kick back and reminisce. Last, but not least – what’s in your glass today?
Derek Gallanosa: Coffee. It’s 7am and I’m brewing. But later I be indulging in some of the new beers we have carbonating right now. Uppers and downers all day!
Coffee and beer, now there’s a man I understand! A big thanks to Derek for taking time out of his quite packed schedule and sharing a bit of his life and thoughts with us – and you, dear reader.