I don’t have a hometown. I have lived all over the country since I was born. Kansas, Boston, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Orange County, New York City, Chicago, San Diego...I am sure I am forgetting a few. But in the fall of 2011, I was home.
I was ready. It was time to leave home.
At that time, I was living in North County, San Diego. A craft beer paradise and triathlon haven (my sport of choice along with hockey of course) with perfect weather and rolling hills. Within ten miles of my house were Lost Abbey, Stone, Iron Fist, and Green Flash to name a few. My local Mobile gas station had an entire cooler of twenty-two-ounce bombers. If you don’t drink craft beer in North County, you are weird. I had finally found the place that I could call home. The lifestyle. The beach. My friends. And again, the beer. All was exactly where it was supposed to be. That is, until my brother came for a visit.
At that time, Solemn Oath was over a year in planning. Tim was on board. Our brew system placement was being drawn out in chalk on what now is our brewery floor. Our taproom bar was designed.
John had been working every angle he could to get me to move back to Chicago to work with him on this project. John even encouraged family members to recruit me. They tried, but I respectfully--and sometimes not so respectfully--declined the offer.
The lifestyle. The beach. My friends. And again, the beer. All was exactly where it was supposed to be. That was until my brother came for a visit.
On a rainy Friday night in November, 2011, in San Diego, I met with John to discuss possible opportunities at the brewery. In part just to appease him, in part to just see how things were coming along. As he went forward explaining how far along things were and when Solemn Oath was slated to open, I thought to myself for the first time that this was going to work. Not just for me, but for us. His presentation wasn’t much different than any other time, but this time it felt real. John’s passion to bring Solemn Oath to life, and his excitement to have me be a part of it, was the driving factor for me to open a new chapter in my life. I couldn’t just dismiss it like I had all the other times. I was ready. It was time to leave home.
I arrived in Chicago February 1, 2012 to assist in the creation of Solemn Oath Brewery. Since my arrival, I have met amazing friends and loyal SOB followers that are now a huge part of my life. It has been a wild and awesome ride that I wouldn’t change for the world. I look forward to the future.
On Feb 1, 2013, I got a tattoo of the California flag and the Chicago flag side by side. I now have another place to call home.
This is the fourth in a series of posts by full-time SOBs about how and why they ended up where they are. Read Paul 'Basecamp' Schneider's post here, owner John Barley's post here, and head brewer Tim Marshall's post here. Next up: Erin Lowder explains how just showing up and having a few beers can land you a career.
Photos for this post were provided generously by Michael Kiser of www.GoodBeerHunting.com.