Brewer Spotlight – Pale Fire Brewing Co.

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Brewer’s Name: Ben Trumbo

How long have you worked at the brewery? I’ve been here since the beginning. I had been talking with our founder, Tim Brady, about joining the team when he was still putting together investors. Having grown up near Roanoke, I was really excited about being able to come back to Virginia to pursue this career.

How did you get involved in brewing? While I was living in St. Louis, a buddy gave me a homebrewing kit as a wedding present. While my first few batches were total disasters, I stuck with it (in no small part due to Charlie Papazian’s mantra: Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew!), and was able to gain confidence in my process & knowledge. I decided I wanted to see what it would be like to do it for a living, and emailed some local breweries about possible opportunities. One had an internship program in place, and I signed on to clean kegs, and do pretty much whatever they needed done on any given day. From there, I took classes through the Siebel Institute in Chicago, and worked so I would be able to say “yes” when an opportunity to work for a brewery like Pale Fire arose.

What’s something people don’t know about your brewery? Most of us here are unabashed geeks, and there are signs of our nerdery all over the brewery. Some more obvious than others…

What’s your favorite food and beer combo? Harrisonburg provides for a wide range of adventurous pairings. Between all of our great restaurants and breweries, it’s pretty hard to nail down one favorite combo (and that’s before you head down to the farmer’s market, & start making your own magic!). That said, La Morena’s chorizo tacos and a cold Deadly Rhythm Pale Ale are not to be missed.

What is your favorite thing to do in the Shenandoah Valley? Like most people, I love all of the outdoor opportunities available year round in the Valley. One of my favorites, though, has always been going to Hull’s Drive-In Theater in Lexington. They re-opened when I was in high school, and it immediately became my favorite way to see movies.

What’s the best way to spend time outdoors in the Shenandoah Valley? On one of our fine breweries’ patios, beer in hand!