I was born in Chattanooga July 13 1983. I began developing a love for craft beer at 21 as I had a friend who worked at a beverage store/ brew shop. They had the build your own six pack option and I went in at least once a week and built a six pack of different styles of craft beer. I was intrigued by all the different flavor profiles and how one could be sweet and another one bitter and one be chocolatey and another be like a sweet tart. It amazed me that you could make all these different styles and flavors with just four basic ingredients. I started reading about brewing.
I got a home brew kit for my 22nd birthday and brewed my first batch of beer the next day. It was an Irish Red Ale. I was so excited to try it and couldn’t wait for fermentation and bottle conditioning to be done so I could enjoy it. I was hooked after that. I brewed on and off by myself and with friends until July of 2015 when I discovered that the owner of one of my accounts from work was a brewer and could brew really well.
I talked to his wife and told her that I loved craft beer and brewing and that if they ever wanted to start brewing and selling in their restaurant to let me know and I would love to be involved in some way. I got a text a few days later and we had a meeting that weekend. We decided that day to go for it and Phantom Horse Brewing was born. Skip and I brewed our first batch of beer together on July 10th 2015.
I was born in rural Alabama to 2 parents who both worked numerous jobs. We farmed a small place for years before moving to a full scale dairy farm. It taught me the value of a days work. It also taught me about figuring things out. I was never a huge beer lover and certainly never a craft beer lover. Owing a restaurant really helped me get in touch with my inner artist and it had more room to grow.
On Father’s day of 2014, My wife bought me an extract brewing kit. Not knowing anything about what it required, she did not get me the necessary equipment to brew. I read those instructions more times than I can count before finally purchasing an equipment kit with buckets and a turkey fryer for boiling the wort. The fryer had a timer which had to be reset about every 20 minutes which made brew days a major chore. The first brew turned out very good. I bottled for the first time. I never bottled again after that instead converting a small beverage cooler into a kegerator and recycling some old beer kegs that were never picked up by the distributors when we used to sell beer.
I became a little obsessed. I think I brewed about 40 batches over the course of a year on my own. Eventually I began bringing the kegs to the restaurant to get rid of the beer since I couldn’t drink it all on my own. The customers loved it! Around the anniversary of my first batch, Jen said something about starting a brewery. I didn’t think much of it until the beer kept getting better as I learned more about the craft. We did some research and began the process. Enter Jason Randles. Jason tried some of the beer and immediately pulled My wife aside and asked her our intentions. When she mentioned that we were considering starting our own brewery, he jumped at the chance to become a part of our new venture.
So here we are. We strive daily to find new and innovative ways to master our craft without formal training. It has taken about 3 months of brewing mistakes to finally be able to say that today I would put our beer out there against anyone else’s.