I was recently given the opportunity of a portrait session with Matt Potts, founder and brewmaster at DESTIHL Restaurant and Brew Works in Normal, Illinois, as part of my ever-growing Brewmaster Series. The session started off great, but immediately went sour!
(If you liked that horrrrrrrible joke about sour beers, I’ll be here all night! Cue the drummer, and, BA-DUM-CHING.)
The session went sour, because, well, Matt and the crew at DESTIHL in Normal have created some really, really fantastic sour beers. Their Saint Dekkera (TM) won the Silver Medal at the 2011 Festival of Barrel Aged Beers in the Wild Acidic category.
While at DESTIHL, I hung out with Matt and Jason Bratcher, the Chief Operating Officer. Also got a chance to meet Mark Tilley, who serves as brewer and cellarman. Such an outstanding group of people. Genuinely nice and welcoming, we soon found ourselves in a philosophical discussion about DESTIHL’s company culture. Matt and Jason are very passionate about DESTIHL, to borrow a term directly from Matt. The beer, the food, the staff, you name it. Matt relayed to me what it was like making the journey from a practicing lawyer to a fulltime brewmaster and restauranteur. Despite the everyday stresses of running a business, I could sense the immense joy that Matt receives when he shows up to work everyday, knowing that he is getting to pursue his brewing passion. These guys are damn good at it, as well. Jason came to DESTIHL from the wine industry, and explained to me how different the personalities are between beer peeps and wine peeps. If you are in Central Illinois anytime soon, I’d encourage you to stop by for a brew and meal.
For more information about DESTIHL, you can visit their website here.
There’s a Brewing Network podcast with Matt and Mark available for listening, too.
A little about the image: Matt’s favorite place at DESTIHL is the patio, enjoying a brew, naturally. I thought it would be nice to highlight one of the big features at DESTIHL: the barrel aged beers. The backside of the brewing area worked great for that. Naturally, the wind kicked up as soon as I had the 7-foot parabolic umbrella in place. Flipped it inside-out like a scene from Mary Poppins. I switched to tightly gridded lights to hold Matt’s window reflection without producing unnecessary reflections from the lights. I think we came out with a nice piece that summarizes a lot of what one might experience on a trip to DESTIHL!