Welcome to the second in our monthly blog series introducing our founders. For this month’s blog, we’ll be interviewing our Director of Operations, Randy Schroeder.
Please pronounce your last name for me – what heritage is that?
Long A: Schrader, like tater. It’s German, it originally had an umlaut and sounded just a tad different. Americanized for mass consumption… ala Achtung Baby.
When and where were you born, and what was your childhood like?
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…. on the plains of Kansas, in the middle of “Turkey Red” wheat country, a special strain brought from Germany (insert irony here)! Growing up in a small religious town in a “dry” county, we had to create our fun in a world with no video games or computers – think of the movie “Stand by me”. As youths, we spent our time outdoors and as teens it was keggers at the lake and sports – think “Friday Night Lights”. Back then our kegs were always Bud or Coors, or occasionally Michelob when we had something to really celebrate – we simply didn’t know what we didn’t know. Craft beer was not on our (or anyone’s) radar. I paid for my college degree (Architecture) by bartending – an experience I look back on with great fondness. “Getting paid to party” we called it, a concept that totally makes sense! There was still no real craft, only the Big Three.
Do you remember your first beer?
Yes – rare sips from my dad’s Coors “Banquet”. I find that tag amusing now, but then I thought it was so GOOD! When I finally drank a whole can, I got sick…..I guess I had discriminating taste even then. I learned to like it, and we paid the older kids $.35 a can to get it for us… we kept it in our treehouse with the old Playboys that we paid a quarter for. Deviants.
How about your first GOOD beer?
When I moved to Colorado after college my first real craft was Fat Tire. New Belgium had just come on the market and it was considered a “bitter beer”. The commercials about “bitter beer face” were playing, they were pretty funny. I think the Big Three sensed a growing trend, and they were trying to discourage it. Little did I know what lay ahead, and how much craftier and more bitter beer would become!
When did you first get into homebrewing?
In about 2008 my other half Kim bought me a home beer making kit and Charlie Papazian’s book. Although I was excited about the idea, it sat on the shelf for several years before my bud Brian and I decided to blow off the dust and start learning & brewing. It was just something fun to do when we got together. The first batch was a dud and we blamed it on the 3 year old yeast that was never refrigerated! At that point, we didn’t know anything, we just knew it was fun!
If you could only drink and/or make one style of beer for the rest of your days, what would it be?
I am a hop hound – I go for the hoppiest brews around, so definitely IPAs. With all of the variations in hops, yeast and specialty grains available now, I am sure that I wouldn’t be bored! In Hop & Brew School we were introduced to hop varietals at harvest and it just fascinates me. I think the process and fresh cut smell brings me back to harvest days as a kid – both my grandpa and uncle were farmers.
Aside from brewing and drinking craft beer, what are your passions in life?
After Kim and our Golden Kai (future brewery mascot), I have a deep love for all things with motors and wheels. My dad was a car dealer (Mopar) and it’s in my blood. I am a diehard motorcycle and car enthusiast, and always have too many. I am trying to figure out how to feature a vintage bike in the design of the taproom (I may be outvoted by my partners)! I am a health & fitness junkie, and love all forms of activity – skiing, surfing, scuba, hiking, running, biking, swimming, tennis… I am an adrenaline addict with an adventurous spirit, and have been bungee jumping and skydiving…. also a certifiable roller coaster geek! I love to travel and have been all over the world trying crazy shit, obscure brews and weird food. I love to cook it and eat it, but not kill it…
What is your particular gluten “ish”?
I have no diagnosed issues with gluten. I do not feel sick when I eat it. I live a gluten-free life by choice, as I am on intimate terms with my body. I am a lighter, leaner, happier and more energetic version of myself when I do not ingest it. I’ve seen studies that suggest that 100% of humans are negatively affected by gluten and I believe it, at one level or another. I’ve taken it as my duty to inform, and I truly believe that anyone who goes off gluten for 60 days will not return.
Any closing remarks?
Life is truly a highway… let’s share a pint and create some “memories from the road” very soon.