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A Brewer You Should Know : The Man Behind Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

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Brewery Name: Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Director of Brewing: Kushal Hall

Location: 1195 Evans Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124 (Bayview Neighborhood)
Beer most known for: Big Daddy IPA

Speakeasy Directory of Brewing Kushal Hall

We asked the Director of Brewing for Speakeasy Ales and Lagers about west coast brewing, pairing, & much much more:

Speakeasy History
In 1997 a wily band of bootleggers led by homebrewer Forest Gray were inspired to bring their exceptional brews from the underground to the masses, defiantly producing small batches of beer in a secret warehouse in San Francisco. Starting with a single, iconic beer, Prohibition Ale, Speakeasy now brews a wide array of acclaimed beers including Big Daddy IPA, Payback Porter, Double Daddy, Scarface Imperial Stout and many more, which are distributed across the entire West Coast and other major U.S. markets.

Why’d you start Brewing Beer?
My father introduced me to the hobby of homebrewing after I moved home for a stint when my BA in Fine Art didn’t pan out into a lucrative art career. I loved making beer, so I moved to SF and got a job on the bottling line at Speakeasy. Then I proceeded to kill off all of my rivals, brutally moving up the mob ladder to Director of Brewing.

What’s your favorite beer and food pairing right now?
I am a big BBQ and beer guy. I love a good IPA to cut the delicious rendered fats and collagen of a good pulled pork or brisket. I’ve also been baking using various beer yeasts for dough leavening. Lastly, I love pairing beer with Whiskey, which is a food if you truly believe. A nice bourbon or Rye, I fancy Templeton, paired with Prohibition Ale is a divine Sunday Breakfast.

“I am a big BBQ and beer guy. I love a good IPA to cut the delicious rendered fats and collagen of a good pulled pork or brisket.”

What’s different/special about “West Coast” brewing?
The West Coast grows the best hops in the world, and the majority of American hops. With shipping and other costs, it’s just easier for us to get away with being hoppier. I suspect that is what led to our hop forward, dry style, which although there are an enormous amount of other beers out there, still dominates sales.

Favorite place to drink beer (in bay area)? (ex: “I Iike to drink Pilsner on top of Mt. Diablo, or ‘I like to drink chocolate stout in my backyard’ etc.)
I enjoy drinking beer with my coworkers in our Brewery Tap Room. Having the Tap Room has encouraged us all to sit down and think about the beer while we are still together at work, but gives us a place to drop the work roles and shoot the shit and enjoy ourselves. I work with some of the best folks I’ve ever met.

Bill Phillippe’s Delta Trio playing the Speakeasy Tap Room

Favorite beer drinking activity?
I love drinking with good friends, but a beer never tastes as good as after you have lugged it along on a long hike and really earned it. Also shower beers.

Where do your brewing influences come from?
My father Bruce Hall and the previous head brewers at Speakeasy, Kevin Robinson, founder of Divine Brewing, and John Gillooly at Drake’s Brewing. Also, any good beer that makes me smile.

Any advice for those aspiring brewers out there?
Get your foot in the door and then work harder than anyone else, for as long as it takes (or relax and have a homebrew).

Anything new and exciting coming out?

Find all you need to know via Speakeasy social:



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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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