Greetings fellow beer lovers, Franz Solo here with the second entry to my portion of our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series. I live just minutes away from Flix Brewhouse and have enjoyed quite a few lovely film-and-beer days and nights there since their opening. It was my pleasure to talk to head brewer Will Moorman about all things Flix for 2019 and 2020.
Solo: So how are things going at the brewery?
Will: Yeah, things are really good. We are just ramping up, getting ready for the holiday season, which is our busy season.
Solo: Right on, which is opposite of most everyone else, interestingly enough.
Solo: Got any interesting new beers in the pipeline coming up?
Will: We are currently lagering a Baltic porter that we did a couple of years ago. We are bringing it back this year for Star Wars; it’s called Darth Malt. The recipe has been developed a little bit. It won a couple of awards in its time and is one of my favorite beers that we’ve done, so I’m really excited about that. We’ve got a new collaboration (now on tap) with Ex Novo. We collaborated for the film Ford V Ferrari, and so we brewed an American pilsner (Shelby) and they brewed an Italian pilsner (Enzo). That’s also a recipe from my assistant and it is tasting absolutely fantastic right now. Another thing I am excited about, we are brewing another beer for Star Wars called Luke Scotchwalker, which is a wee heavy. We’ve never brewed one here before, so I’m really pumped about that. So we will see that in December obviously for Star Wars (The Rise of Skywalker).
Solo: These all sound awesome. The movie tie-ins are so fun with the titles and the beer pairings.
Will: That’s one of my favorite parts of the job.
Solo: Looking back over last year, what sort of remarkable successes or challenges did you face? Any interesting things that might’ve stood out to you as a brewer in this last year, and looking ahead, what stands on the horizon?
Will: This last year has been a really really good one. Hired a new assistant, Chance (Carolus), who has been fantastic. He came from the CNM program and has been kicking ass and taking names. I have nothing but the utmost confidence that he is going to be a head brewer at Flix one of these days. I couldn’t be luckier.
We did a lot of learning over the past year. I will be the first to tell you that I’m not the world’s best brewer. I’ve (still) got so so much to learn. I’ve learned a ton over the last year working with other people in this industry, my own research, and just brewing new styles and trying out new things. So I’ve been super pumped about the progress we’ve made. We are turning out some of the best beer we’ve ever made and I’m really happy about it.
We had a pretty solid year, competition-wise, as well. We took home 18 medals across … I’m not sure how many competitions, but several throughout the year, and we are looking to do some more next year.
Another big part of our focus here has been getting brewers ready to run their own Flix Brewhouses, so a big focus of mine has been working on becoming a better brewer and tightening up our training program here. (Editor’s note: Former Albuquerque Flix assistant brewer Marisa Bernal is now the head brewer at the location in Chandler, Arizona. — S)
Solo: You learn a helluva lot by teaching, too.
Will: Oh my gosh, yeah, it’s crazy learning what you don’t know. So we trained up a new brewer and sent him off to our Madison, Wisconsin, location recently. We are looking to open a couple new stores here in the near future as well, in this next year actually. So yeah, working on this training program a little bit and hopefully, I don’t know how it will all shake out, but hopefully I’ll get to train another couple of brewers. That’s been the vast majority of our focus.
Solo: Awesome. Any interesting events or whatnot on the horizon for this next year?
Will: We are looking to do some more collaborations. Look for something with Steel Bender, we always do something awesome with those guys. There’s been some talk in the works about potentially doing something to highlight what’s happening on the west side as far as breweries are concerned. So nothing set in stone yet, can’t say much more than that, but you might see some interesting stuff over here.
Solo: That would be fun what with Boxing Bear, Ex Novo, Flix, Lava Rock, Toltec, Turtle Mountain and multiple different taprooms. It’s filling in here nicely. It’s really cool having a community of breweries here on the west side and things seem to be going pretty well for all of them.
In closing, any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Will: I think the thing I said last year, come to Flix and drink Flix beer.
Well I couldn’t agree more with that. You will likely run into we in the crew in the lead up to a certain Dark Side referencing film and we will undoubtedly be enjoying some Scotchwalker or Darth Malt, which are two of our favorite styles not named stout. In any event, go hither and grab ye a pint and a film and a wee bite ere the end of the year, for I know I will. Until next time, I bid you good drinking!
— Franz Solo