If you follow us on social media, or caught the piece in St. Louis Magazine, you already know that we have recently added a new Head Brewer to our family! Ronnie Fink already has an exemplary reputation in the area, known for his technical skills and attention to detail. We could not be more excited to have him come on board to lead the charge on new beers and perfecting special one-off projects. In an effort help you get to know him better, we are sharing this Q&A!
Q: What drew you to Six Mile Bridge?
A: The people. I definitely feel like there is a ton of good craft beer out there but what usually draws me to breweries as a customer are the people behind that beer. I think what drew me here professionally was both the people and the atmosphere. Plus, the opportunity presented itself when I was ready for it, so it was the right thing at the right time.
Q: What is your current favorite SMB beer?
A: It’s no secret that I love Citra hops…. By far my favorite and my dog’s name is Citra. So obviously DDH Citra is my go-to!
Q: What are your favorite styles to drink and to brew?
A: My go to beer style is IPA, but also hoppy beers in general like Pales, DDH pales, IPA, etc. They are also my favorite styles to brew. A close second for favorite thing to brew is any kind of lager. They are somewhat technical, so I think they are a good indicator of the quality of a brewer and his or her brewhouse and cellar management.
Q: What is your training and educational background with regards to brewing?
A: I have a biology and chemistry undergraduate from Missouri State. Then I went to UC-Davis’ master brewer program in 2010. My time in Davis has proved to be invaluable for my career and led to my first job at Free State Brewing Co. I spent an amazing 3yrs there and was able to gain experience brewing, filtering, running the QA/QC program/lab and almost everything else associated with brewing. I then spent the next 6yrs helping open and run Modern Brewery, here in St. Louis. Now I’m ready to put my experience to work here at Six Mile Bridge!
Q: How would you describe your “style” as a brewer?
A: Meet a hundred brewers and you’ll experience a hundred different brewing styles! I like to consider myself something of a “jack of all trades.” I approach it very scientifically, very professionally, and very organized. I’m always trying to make everything run more efficiently. That may sound boring to some people because brewers are often seen as “artistic” types. However, I do consider myself to be creative too, I just focus that part on the recipe design, the research, and the overall beer idea. Once I step on the brewhouse floor, I shift into scientific/efficiency mode while still having fun. At the end of the day, I try to remind myself how lucky I am to be in an extremely fun industry, and that I love what I do. I remind myself that I don’t always have to take myself and my job too seriously. There’s definitely a balance between technical proficiency and joy.
Q: What are some of your plans for the beer portfolio at SMB?
A: I’m so excited about the potential for growth. We have a solid core offering right now, which means anyone who comes in to the Taproom can certainly find something they like. What I’m looking forward to is expanding our portfolio to include even more styles that excite beer enthusiasts. That’s why the first beer I decided to make was a New England Style IPA, because it’s a style with a lot of momentum right now. I also think just having more hands in the brewery is going to be great for doing more barrel aged and one-off beers, so overall I’m just really happy to be part of this growth.
Q: Can you tell our followers more about your personal background and interests?
A: I’m a born and raised in St. Louisan and a huge sports guy, so I obviously love the Blues and Cardinals. In my spare time I play hockey, and I try to golf as much as humanly possible! I’ve been married for 7 years and have a red heeler named Citra. I love comic book movies, and going to the movies in general. My favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard. I listen to a lot of classic rock, 80s, and country but like all music. My favorite concert I’ve been to was Bruce Springsteen. TV wise I’m a big fan of “Game of Thrones,” but not much else currently.
Please come to the Taproom this Saturday, June 1st to taste Ronnie’s first brew for Six Mile Bridge! He put a lot of thought and energy into this powerful Double Dry Hopped New England Style IPA which will showcase his passion for unique, hoppy beers. Help us welcome him to our family and cheer on his brewing endeavors!