Brandon works at the local TV station, for now, and some years ago he started writing about beer. He was a homebrewer, and like so many home brewers, he became hungry for knowledge. He started reaching out to professional brewers, asking hard questions about yeast strains and fermentation techniques, and eventually he started a blog, mostly as a safe place to put all this information. It was called Embrace the Funk, and his blog has since gone on to inspire a number of new, young brewers who are specifically interested in sour and funky beers.
Two years ago, Brandon found himself helping Yazoo Brewery in Nashville start a fledgling sour program. With no commercial brewing experience to speak of, he simply worked his way through trial and error, towards something he was proud of. And this year, he took home a bronze medal at GABF, beating out so many of the brewers he was inspired by over the years. And from the sounds of it, they couldn’t have been happier for him. He’s the kind of guy that inspires joy in others. He’s modest, curious beyond belief, and he works as hard as anyone to improve. His bronze medal was almost an industry success as much as it was personal to Brandon.
One of the people he’s inspired over the years is Ryan Brei, one of the newer brewing hires at Goose Island in Chicago. Ryan and I were in Nasvhille together for Goose’s Migration Week, and when he heard that I was going to get up early in the morning and catch Brandon Jones at Yazoo before his shift, well, he essentially invited himself along. And judging by the glimmer in his eye, I knew he was serious.
So after an unreasonably early Hop Project IPA #80, fresh off the line at Yazoo, we gathered around a table int he taproom and dove right in. This is Brandon Jones of Yazoo, and Embrace the Funk, alongside my travel companion, Ryan Brei of Goose Island, listen in.