Meet The Brewer: Mark Thomas of Stable 12 Brewing Company

Welcome to our “Meet The Brewer” series! Where we interview brewers in Pennsylvania, from breweries small to large. Let us know if you know anyone who should be featured, email us at info@breweriesinpa.com.

Stable 12 Brewing Company, out of Phoenixville, PA, recently celebrated their fourth anniversary in May. The brewery started when owner Ricky Wolf began homebrewing out of a barn on his family property. Stable 12 is known for their great variety of tasty beers, and great food menu. Since opening, they have added a large outdoor beer garden that is always busy with events and live music.

Mark Thomas is the head brewer of Stable 12 Brewing Company. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the brewery and the various different beer programs. Learn more about Mark below, including how he got his start in craft beer, where he sees the industry heading, and more!

What was your introduction to craft beer?

Back in the late nineties, it had to be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  I can’t discount Samuel Smith, Newcastle Brown, and Guinness for expanding my beer palette as well.

How did you get started as a brewer?

My first experience had to be my Dad home-brewing when I was a kid.  I’ve always had a DIY spirit, and when I graduated college in 2001, there just wasn’t a ton of great beer around locally.  It was cheaper and fresher if I made it myself.

marktank

What style allows you to be the most creative, and why?

I’ve always gravitated towards darker beers, as it allows you to work with a plethora of different malts to build flavor.  Malt has fallen out of favor/flavor for the beer consumer over the last few years, but it is the backbone of beer.

What was the first beer you ever brewed, and what did you learn from it?

The first beer I ever attempted to brew was a English Brown Ale, and I learned about the limits of Thermal Expansion in glass carboys during rapid temperature change. (Translation, the carboy shattered and the beer went down the drain)

Where do you see the craft beer industry heading in the next few years?

I hope and believe the craft beer industry will become much more diverse over the next few years, both in it’s industry members and product offerings.  With steep growth seemingly leveling out, we need new voices and points of view to carry on the craft beer ethos to other beverage products and evolve from the monoculture that has currently coalesced around craft beer.

Describe what it’s like to be a brewer in Pennsylvania.

Being a brewer in PA is exciting because we have breweries making bleeding edge beer, as well as breweries focusing on classic styles including the oldest brewery in the US.  Consumers in PA have access to the best beer in the world via their local brewery down the street, bottle shop, or pioneering craft beer bar.  They are looking for the most decadent desert in a glass to something light that pairs with food, and everything in-between.  With so much great beer around, you really have to know your craft, and where you want to fit in the greater beer tapestry.

Cleaning barrels for Rodeo clown

What is the inspiration behind your beer names?

Beer names are sometimes the most difficult part of beer creation. With so many breweries, and so many beers, if you can think of a great name, chances are it has been used.  The best ones seem to burst forth right away during the design phase which makes tying everything else together that much easier.

What is your favorite beer to drink right now?

My favorite beer to drink right now is the Cerveza (Horse of a Different Color #4) we are working on at Stable 12.  I’m trying to get the lime flavor just right, which fortuitously requires much Trial and Error. 

What is the most important lesson you learned in the beer industry so far?

The most important lesson I have learned in beer is that the small details matter.  If you are making decisions without the best beer in mind, you are not making the best beer you can. 

Thank you to Mark Thomas for talking with us! Make sure you visit Stable 12 Brewing Company for all the latest beers, news, information and special events. And also follow Stable 12 on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!

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