Six years ago, Chris Sellers was an “enthusiastic young home brewer” who started doing odd jobs around
The People’s Pint, a Greenfield restaurant and pub that’s been brewing its own beer nearby since 1997. After climbing the ranks, Sellers enrolled in a brewing and malting science course at the University of Wisconsin, and, when he returned to The People’s Pint three years ago, he was named head brewer. Now 28, Sellers continues to helm the beer-making process as the brand expands on shelves throughout the region.
Q. The People’s Pint seems to have a fairly clear mission in its commitment to the environment and local products. How does the brewery align with that?
A. We carry a lot of elements of the restaurant’s mission [at the brewery] and a lot of that is sort of reducing our resource use, generally looking at every step of the brewing process, and still making the great beer that we do, while really being super conscious about how much natural gas we’re using, how much electricity we’re using every day, how much water do we absolutely need to be using.
Q. What kind of beers reflect that?
A. In the summertime, we usually put out a wheat beer. The last couple years we’ve had a beer called Wheelman’s Wheat, which we brew as kind of homage to bicycles and people who ride and commute on bicycles. We have a program at our pub that you can keep track of your mileage if you commute by bike to work and we’ll give you a discount when you add up all the miles. I want to say it’s 10 cents a mile on a gift certificate. It’s a really great way to encourage people to ride that bike to work instead of getting in that car, burning all those fossil fuels.
Q. What are your most popular beers?
A. We have two flagship beers — our Farmer Brown and our Pied pIPA IPA. And the Pied pIPA IPA is sort of English, traditional style IPA meets American IPA in so far as we use a lot of Cascade hops, a lot of West Coast-style hops, so you get a lot of that citrus, more resin-y flavors, but it’s got a really big malt backbone. We also don’t go crazy with the bitterness so it’s a nice, drinkable beer. It hovers around 6 percent. And the brown ale is sort of a dark, English-style brown ale so it almost looks like a porter when you pour it into the glass, but it’s got this nice kind of soft body and a little bit of toasty, chewy, caramel flavors in there but still a drinkable 5.2 percent. Those are our biggest sellers, for sure.
Q. How do you differentiate your beer in a field overrun with competitors?
A. We stay true to form. We’re able to really handcraft beers that people can sit down and enjoy a bottle of without having to muffle through a 10.5 percent beer or some gigantic hop bomb. That said, we do make some hoppy beers, but it’s really refining what we do and trying to stay true to the original style of beer that we’ve always made and our customers have always loved. And when I say we really know every single bottle, we hand-fill every single bottle. We are intimately familiar with every single bottle that leaves this place.
Q. When you’re not drinking your own beer, what do you like?
A. It varies depending on what kind of phase I’m in. I’ve had Belgian phases, I’ve had big IPA phases, I love really well-made session beers now. I had some Notch Session beer recently. Notch Brewing does a bunch of session ales and they try to use local ingredients, and most of the beers are 4 percent or below but really have a lot of flavor. I also try to really get into the breweries around here so I know what everybody in the neighborhood is doing.
Interview was condensed and edited. Glenn Yoder can be reached at email@example.com.