Matt Brynildson: The Virtuoso
Most every beer Matt Brynildson makes turns to gold — or at the very least silver or bronze. Over the last decade the Firestone Walker brewmaster has nabbed medals for diverse beers counting crisp Pivo Pils, Wookey Jack black rye IPA, and Velvet Merlin oatmeal stout. Brynildson drawing a blank? Understandable. “Eighty percent of the beer that we make is consumed in California,” says Brynildson, whose brewing career commenced at Goose Island, where he helped create Goose IPA and its first quality control program. (Small surprise he previously worked at a spice firm specializing in hop extracts.) The humble bearded brewmaster favors technical conferences and leading global workshops on America hops, visiting farms to find the latest flowers to incorporate in his revolving Luponic Distortion IPA series, an endless exploration of beer’s experimental fringe of fragrance and flavor. “We’re a brewery that’s living the art and process of brewing, and hopefully that’s reflected in the beer,” he says.