Hello. I’m Jonathan…
My name is Jonathan Newman, and I am the brewmaster for The Virginia Beer Company. I’ll be honest I’ve been meaning to write my introduction for a while now, but frankly, I’ve been busy brewing pilot batches. More on that to come… First a little on my background in brewing.
I got my start in brewing, like most brewers, as a homebrewer. I was living and working at a boarding school where I taught American and British literature to 11th graders. Homebrewing offered a most welcome escape and I quickly became quite obsessed. The students didn’t drive me to drink, but they most certainly drove me to brewing. Thanks, kids!
After a few years of serious homebrewing, I started working part time as a brewer for Jackalope Brewing Company in Nashville, TN. If you’re ever in Nashville, definitely check them out. They make some great beers. After about a year with Jackalope working part time while still teaching full-time, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. I packed up my life and moved to Atlanta in September of 2011 to take a full time brewing job at SweetWater Brewing Company. It was a life changing decision, and one of the best I’ve ever made.
I spent just under three years at SweetWater and saw that brewery transform. When I first started there I was brewing on a 50 bbl brewhouse that we were running 24/7 churning out 45-50 batches per week. It was a breakneck pace, but a great learning experience. About a year and a half ago, SweetWater completed its big expansion and moved onto a 330 bbl brewhouse (one of the largest craft brewhouses in the country). I have to say, brewing 10,000+ gallon batches was pretty great fun (most of the time). While at SweetWater I completed the American Brewers Guild’s “Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering” diploma program studying everything from yeast metabolic pathways to the physics of heat exchangers and everything else in between that goes into the brewing process. This coursework has already proved quite valuable as we start building The Virginia Beer Company, and I’d recommend the American Brewers Guild to anybody looking to make a career in brewing.
All this has led me to Williamsburg, Virginia and The Virginia Beer Company. I’m greatly looking forward to sharing my beers with the local market and beyond. It’s going to be a wild ride building this brewery, and I am beyond excited for the challenges.