Brewer Spotlight with Jake Howell

We’ve asked Jake Howell to answer a few questions before you show up for his Brewer Spotlight on Wednesday November 9th from 7pm-9pm. He gives you a little background of his background in beer and his passionate opinions of lettuce.
Please give me a brief summary of how you got involved with brewing beer?
I started brewing in college and my first batch turned out terribly.  Stopped brewing for almost a year after that, but began listening to a lot of beer and brewing podcasts that got me back into it.  After that, it pretty much just spiraled out of control and took over my whole life.
What is your favorite style of beer to brew?
I really just love the process of brewing, and a lot of beers are fairly similar in terms of what you do on the brewhouse.  However, It’s fun every now and then to mix things up a bit.  Jason Ranck and I are brewing a turbid mashed beer in the lambic tradition which is going to be interesting.  Ask me if I still think that after it’s done.
What is your favorite style of beer to drink?
I prefer to drink well made examples of any style over mediocre versions of my favorite styles.  More specifically though, I really like hoppy beers, lagers, and sours/barrel aged beers (obviously).
What is your favorite Neshaminy Creek Brewing beer?
I love Croydon Cream Ale (especially on Wednesdays) and Shape of Hops to Come.  Followed closely by Highwater Hefeweizen.
What is your favorite beer from another brewery?
If I could have an infinite supply of fresh Bell’s Two Hearted or Firestone Walker Union Jack, I’d be a happy camper.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
My biggest hobby outside of work is still beer – I brew on the weekends and read brewing books in my free time. Other than beer, I like playing video games and going to concerts when I can.
If you weren’t working for a brewery, what do you think you would doing for work?
I probably would have gone back for my Ph.D. in Astrophysics by now if it weren’t for brewing.  I enjoyed it as an undergrad, but even back then I knew that brewing is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
If there was any brewery in the world that you would wish to visit, what brewery would it be and why?
Cantillon.  They make, in my opinion, some of the best sour beers in the world and I would love to see their traditional process and equipment they use to make lambic.
What is your favorite Staind song? I hear you’re their #1 fan
To quote my friend and co-worker Tom Reamer, I’ve got no shame in my game.  Staind is definitely a nostalgic favorite of mine.  Either Raw or Mudshovel.  You can’t tell me that Dysfunction wasn’t a heavy album.
Can you explain your fascination with Iceberg Lettuce and cooked vegetables? 
Well, I enjoy raw vegetables, but once they’ve been cooked I can’t stand them.  I also love the way that iceberg lettuce takes over anything you put it on with it’s overwhelming blandness.  Everyone at the brewery disagrees with me and says it’s flavorless, but when it’s on a sandwich, it’s all I can taste.  I have a standing bet with everyone at work that I can tell the difference between a sandwich that never had lettuce vs. one that had lettuce on it and then removed.  No one has challenged me on this yet.

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