Sasquatch Brewing has hired a new head brewer to take over the reins at its breweries here in Portland. Karina Mohan has joined the team at Sasquatch Brewing and New West Cider. She replaces the recently departed Ryan Nicholai who is going into a new sales career.
Karina began her adventure in brewing while in college as she and her roommate dabbled in homebrewing. She changed her course of study from economics to attend Central Washington University where she enrolled in a one-year certification program covering the science and business of brewing.
While at Central Washington University she began working at Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg, Washington and eventually made her way into the brewhouse. From there she spent time at Fifty Fifty Brewing in Truckee, California. Now she has made her way to the Rose City to begin a new endeavor at Sasquatch Brewing.
Here’s the Q&A with Karina that was provided to us by Sasquatch Brewing…
Q: Tell me about your career up to this point and what made you want to get into brewing.
A: I first began homebrewing with a roommate back in college and that’s what got me into it. To a young college student, legal drinking age of course, there’s a certain allure to making your own alcohol. When I was graduating, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but brewing always put me at ease. For a few hours, I wasn’t concerned with figuring out what I was going to do with my life. I could spend the day listening to albums, totally immersed in brewing. No brew ever felt like a waste of time as long as I was learning something new.
So instead of going into economics, I went to Central Washington University and did a one year certification program covering the science and business of brewing. What I liked most was how two people can approach brewing the same beer in two very different ways. During that program I started working at a brewery and have been doing it professionally ever since. I’ve worked at breweries specializing in barrel aging, mixed culture sours and IPAs. I feel quite privileged to have learned from a lot of talented individuals.
Q: What are your passions outside of brewing?
A: Anything related to fermentation – especially hot sauce! Kayaking. Tie dying. Music. I play the flute – I got into that in fourth grade and never stopped. My roommate and I set up a little recording studio in our place and started sampling different instruments and making some music.
We’re very excited to welcome Karina to the Sasquatch & New West crew and stoked to see what innovations she brings to our drink rotation. If you happen to visit our taproom in Northwest Portland during regular working hours, you may catch her brewing your next favorite beer or cider – give her a wave and a thank you! – Sasquatch Brewing & New West Cider
Q: What are your favorite styles to create new recipes for?
A: Malty German Lagers and West Coast IPAs are always fun to create. Also designing beers for barrels is interesting, especially when you aren’t exactly sure which elements of the wood are going to come through in the final blend. Right now I’m really fascinated by Nordic farmhouse ales. I love brewing historical styles because I enjoy reading about their origin and learning the brewing techniques employed at the time.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration for new recipes?
A: A big part of it is respecting the classics. So going to the classic or renowned styles of beer, trying them, drawing the elements I like off of those, but trying to incorporate something new and original into it. Sometimes listening to a good Phish album will give me some ideas. I also like reading about new brewing technology and science, like research articles and podcasts. Hop research will sometimes inspire me to try something different.
Q: If you could drink one style of beer for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
A: Pilsners never get old. Have you ever had Bavik Super Pils? It’s a Belgian pils. I seek it out anytime I go to a bar or bottle shop. If I see it on tap I get excited because it’s kind of elusive, you know? It’s just a crisp Belgian pils. I don’t think I could get sick of it.
Q: Can you give us a sneak peak of what’s coming from Sasquatch and New West in the near future?
A: We’ve got some classic styles, some experimental IPA’s, maybe some collaborations and of course fresh hops…
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.