We at Fall River Brewing Company are excited to introduce you to our Brewmaster, Clay Brackley! Here’s our second article in our series of “Meet the Team”.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Carson City, NV and after high school I moved to Reno to attend University of Nevada, Reno’s Forest and Range Management Program. During college, I took a job as an apprentice brewer and fell in love with the craft. I worked as an apprentice for a few years until I was offered a job as a Head Brewer and I moved onwards and upwards.
2. How did you become involved in brewing?
I was a 21 year old broke college student. I did the math one day and found out that you can brew your own beer much cheaper than you can buy it. After that, I went out and bought a homebrew kit. My first batch was an all extract stout, boiled in a three gallon pot on an electric stove and fermented in a plastic bucket. It wasn’t amazing but it was drinkable so I kept at it. Batch #3 was my first IPA and it was so good that my roommates and I drank it all before it was carbonated all the way. From then on, I became the House brewer and we never ran out of beer. My homebrewing experience, my young age, and willingness to work for peanuts eventually landed me a job in a brewery.
3. What made you stick with brewing?
There is something magical about fermentation. From a young age I always liked stories of magicians and alchemists, holed up in a dusty tower surrounded by bubbling vessels and strange ingredients mixing up potions and the famed Philosopher’s Stone. While I know the chemistry and biological processes that occur during brewing, there is still something of that magic that still remains. Even though I have brewed thousands of batches of beer I still enjoy watching a fermentor bubble away happily. I also love tasting new recipes and perfecting old ones. No matter how good people tell me a beer is, I always think it can be just a touch better and it is that goal of making normal, delicious beer into yell out loud “godamn that’s good!” beer that keeps me coming back to work every day.
4. What do you like most about brewing?
I like the peace of being alone in the brewery and having all of my equipment running smoothly. I really enjoy the recipe development process and the icing on the cake is that I get to brew the beers exactly how I want them. Not many breweries give their brewers such freedom and I cherish that trust. I also feel that it is my responsibility to brew the best beers I can. Having that personal connection with the beer I make is critical to the creative process, and it makes me ultimately responsible for the beer so I take no chances that might compromise the quality.
5. Where have you brewed?
I’ve worked in many breweries -large and small – all over the United States. I have brewed in California, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. I have also been part of building four breweries and have won several national and international awards for my recipes.
6. What intrigued you most about coming to work at Fall River Brewing Company?
I was excited to join an operation where I would have autonomous control over the brewing process and all recipes. I love small towns, the forests, rivers, and beautiful snow capped mountains.
7. What are you looking forward to most working (in terms of future plans) at FRBC?
I look forward to releasing a small series of “farm to glass” beers where we utilize local, agriculture products. We are currently talking about using products such as wild rice, honey, mint, and cider apples. We’re also working with Corder Farms to use locally grown hops.
8. What do you like about the Intermountain area?
The area is awesome! There is so much to do. I like taking my dog out and exploring. I like going fishing on Eastman Lake or Lake Britton and I look forward to getting a boat to find some nice fishing holes. I love the evening sunsets when the sky glows orange and the volcanic peaks that dot the valleys stick out like pyramids. Overall I love that there is an absence of turnpikes, toll booths, and spaghetti bowls. Five o’clock traffic here is waiting to get a beer at Art’s or the Buckhorn.