What’s your current position at Stone Brewing Co., and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m Sean and I’m a craft brewer! [McKesson is a senior brewer at Stone.] I started homebrewing a little when I was in my early 20s with my cousin because for one, we wanted to make our own beer, and two, we weren’t very impressed with the commercial beers we had tried. I had some of my first Stone beers shortly after that (7th Anniversary Special Pale Ale and the 04.04.04 Vertical Epic) and was floored! I thought to myself, “Damn, that’s some great beer! I want to be a part of that!” After a couple months of me badgering Lee Chase and John Egan for a position on the bottling line, I finally scored a couple interviews and the rest is history (in the making).
What’s new at Stone?
Ha ha! What isn’t new? Our two most recent acquisitions would be the addition of fermenting vessels #25 and #26 (that’s right, we have 26 tanks to ferment in), as well as our “remodeling” of the effluent treatment system. Not to mention the new building we acquired for distribution. We’re blowing up! There are constantly so many new things, I can’t even keep up anymore. We’re bursting at the seams!
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
It’s definitely a tossup between the outstanding character beers being produced and the entire craft brewing community. But I’d have to go with the community! It’s hard to believe that there are so many awesome personalities all working toward an awesome cause. I’ve never seen this type of camaraderie or unity in any other venture, EVER. We all love what we do, so how can we have bad attitudes about it?
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Fishing, playing drums, skateboarding (still for some reason), snowboarding, taking advantage of the ocean and its glorious waves, exploring new craft beers, travel, golfing (I’m actually pretty decent), and I’m a huge music fan. I go to as many concerts as possible.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
I’m going to get weird with it and say a nice subtly hopped pale ale with Thanksgiving dinner (it has to be turkey though). I know it sounds cheesy since it’s written on the Stone Smoked Porter bottle, but that beer with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is insanely delicious!
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I’d have to consider the places that I’ve travelled to as being my greatest accomplishments thus far. I love to travel and have seen quite a few different places that captivate the mind. My favorite so far would definitely be Switzerland (and I haven’t even gone snowboarding there yet!). The fact that it’s capable of being completely self-sustained, with the cleanest cities and friendliest people, makes me totally jealous that I don’t live there. However, there is no ocean, so I don’t know what I’d do without it.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Avery's The Beast (Grand Cru style ale) or Rodenbach Grand Cru.
What’s the most exotic travel destination at which you¹ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Fiji is by far the most exotic place I’ve been, but the beer wasn’t very exotic at all. They were mostly typical, Australian style bitter lagers, without much character. The islands were amazing and beautiful, but the beer scene wasn’t.