Vino’s Brewpub has hired Brandon Mize to replace Josiah Moody as its head brewer. Moody left Vino’s to accept the same position at Bike Rack Brewing Company in Bentonville. For Mize, it’s a sort of homecoming, as he started his brewing career at Vino’s several years ago.
“I’m ready as I’ll ever be,” says Mize. “I’m excited to continue the tradition of great, creative beers in addition to the four house beers as best as I can make them. It’s really a wonderful opportunity.”
Mize has spent the last two years at Lost Forty Brewing working and developing his craft under Omar Castrellon. Mize says his time at Lost Forty taught him about the fundamentals of running a production brewery, and he plans on building on those lessons now that he is running his own operation.
“[Castrellon’s] biggest influence on me has been cleanliness and consistency, almost a military precision with his brewing,” says Mize. “He’s taught me so much, and that’s now a main focus of mine, you know, making the house beers exactly the same every time. But there’s a lot of room for creativity here, too, so I plan on taking the house beers every month or so and cask conditioning them to see how we can change the flavors of them while keeping their character.”
Mize says he wants to focus on making sure Vino’s flagship beers are as good as he can make them, while adding a few new brews in the future. Mize describes his technique as classic German style, with a firm focus on getting traditional recipes just right. Mize has already gotten to work on a Belgian brown ale, which may or may not make it on tap soon, and plans on tapping a cherry brandy stout later this week.
Vino’s hired Mize at the urging of Moody, who wanted to make sure the brewpub was well taken care of in his absence. Moody says Mize was the natural choice to replace him.
“Brandon was absolutely the first choice,” says Moody. “There’s a tradition here. I worked my way into being the head brewer at Vino’s a long time ago, I took a former manager here who brewed under me, and I trained him. He’s now at Apple Blossom. Brandon was the same way, I brought him in from Vino’s kitchen and took him through the steps. So when it came time to think of my replacement, it was Brandon. There really wasn’t a second candidate.”
Moody has left Little Rock for Bentonville, leaving Mize to craft his vision for the future of beer at Vino’s.
“I’m very interested in the Vino’s history of making classic, English-style beers, and making truly great, classic styles,”Mize says. “I also love the barrel-aging program, I plan on continuing Josiah’s barrel-aging work here, and I plan on adding a few classic, German-style lagers. It’s going to be fun.”