Ken Grossman has a knack for flavor and aroma, but before he put that gift toward beer, he built stink bombs that drove his entire junior high school outside gasping for air.
His creativity was misguided at times, sure, but Ken simply has an engineering mind that’s been on overdrive since childhood. (Scratch that—since infancy; he was unfortunately enamored with electrical outlets while still in diapers.) Beyond the occasional prank, Ken stripped a lawnmower to modify a go-kart and even spearheaded the creation of an outbuilding in his mother’s backyard—footings, framing, wiring and all. Yeah, it’s wild to imagine, but his appetite to learn and tinker made Sierra Nevada possible. After all, Ken hand-built his first brewhouse with scrap stainless steel and dairy tanks he scored during road trips along the western coast. Here he is, three decades later, building the brewery’s fifth brewhouse in North Carolina.
Ken’s new book “Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.” tells vivid stories of an ambitious—at times unbelievable—entrepreneur possessed by the mystique of fermentation. It’s a rich timeline of one pioneer, peppered with broader insight into the evolution of an industry that is rightly celebrated.
Still unsure if you’ll crack the cover? Maybe Ken can sway you: