Ohio Brewery News
Friday Six Pack with Andrea Wertz, Nocterra Brewing
Every Friday, we ask an Ohio craft brewery owner or employee to answer six questions about their path to the brewing industry, what sets their brewery apart and their thoughts on craft beer in Ohio.
Today we’ll chat with Andrea Wertz, assistant brewer at Nocterra Brewing in Powell.
What made you decide to get into the craft brewing industry?
My first job as a server in college was at a small restaurant with an incredible craft beer menu. That is where I fell in love with the idea that beer could become so many different styles and flavors. I was originally interested in pursuing a graduate degree studying fermentation science, but after many years in undergrad as a biology major, I wanted experience in the field. After I graduated, Nocterra was new on the scene in Powell, creating a cool environment and making quality beers. I sent them an email offering my help and I have been there ever since!
Which of your beers do your customers enjoy the most and why?
We have a few core beers that are always the top sellers, but there are also some that have a strong cult following. Beta Flash is our main New England IPA and it has juicy citrus hop flavors without being too bitter, so many customers who are new to IPAs are surprised by how smooth and refreshing this beer is. Two of our other top core beers are Trail Break, a crisp and flavorful Helles lager, and California Swell Line, which is a tangy and delicious fruited gose with raspberries and blackberries. If you see these out in the wild, give ’em a try and see what all the hype is about!
What’s your favorite thing about your brewery?
The first thing that won me over about Nocterra was their motto: “Beer + Outdoors = Nocterra.” So simple, yet harmonious. Nocterra has cultivated such an awesome, respectful, and accepting community and family both within and around the company. It is really special to find a place that not only supports its people and the community, but also strives for greatness and adventure. Also, I might be a little biased, but I love that we make really fantastic beer.
What’s one piece of advice you’ve received from a member of the craft brewing community (either from Nocterra or elsewhere) that has stuck with you?
The mantra I always carry with me is: “Don’t let good enough be good enough, be great.” I take that to heart in all things I do, but especially with beer. Here at Nocterra, we firmly believe that if a beer in process doesn’t taste up to our standards, we aren’t going to try to sell it as “good enough.” We want people to enjoy the greatest quality beer that we can produce and I love that it’s engrained in how we operate. I think that is some pretty solid advice when it comes to not only brewing, but anything in life.
Besides your own, what Ohio craft breweries impress you the most and why?
This is a tough question, because I can think of so many beers/breweries in Ohio that are definitely producing some great stuff! The first to come to mind are Yellow Springs Brewery and Little Fish Brewing Co. I love Little Fish’s sours and I think it is very cool that they use unique ingredients while focusing on locally sourcing a lot of them. Yellow Springs also has a very welcoming atmosphere and they consistently make some of the most solid beers with a very talented team with some rad female brewers.
Where do you think craft beer is headed? What do you think craft beer will look like five years from now?
As much as “we brewers” would love to think that the era of milkshake IPAs and pastry stouts will end and trends will circle back to traditional styles, I do not think that is in the near future. It seems like seltzers and lighter, more lifestyle-friendly alcohol products are taking center stage. I think in five years there might be something wild like the invention of the first zero calorie hazy IPA, or possibly someone has perfected the gluten-free beer. But this is what makes brewing fun: the experiments and the creativity never stops.