JOSH SMITH: the not-so-new guy at EEB

JOSH SMITH: TRAVELER, TROUBLE SHOOTER, YEAST MASTER

by Eric Martinson

joshbeard

A proper brewer needs to be part MacGyver, part Julia Child, and a whole lotta Mr. Clean.”

A Maine native, Josh spent his formative years in York before developing itchy feet and heading west at nineteen. He landed in San Francisco where he took an unlikely job as an au pair. Around this same time, he began teaching himself to homebrew. Everything was going swimmingly for young Josh when a friend called him to present the opportunity of a lifetime:

“How would you like to move to Hawaii and live in a bamboo hut in the middle of the jungle with a topless woman who also happens to be a damn fine cook?”

As most guys in their early twenties would, Josh to left his nanny gig and homebrewing explorations for the mysteries of the Hawaiian jungle. He spent the next few years hiking, swimming, adventuring, and dining on the delicious culinary creations of a certain semi-clad gourmand.

Josh eventually moved back to the contiguous United States in his late twenties. His next stop was Fort Collins, Colorado where the vibrant beer culture re-inspired him to take up brewing again. After a short stint in Tahoe, Josh once again found himself on the East Coast. He interned at Throwback Brewery and then moved on to Do Can Brewing in Massachusetts and gained valuable experience getting a new brewery off the ground, all the while doing trade work on the side.

At Dover’s hallowed Barley Pub, Josh and his homebrew partner, Sean Conlon made the acquaintance of another homebrew team, Alex McDonald and Butch Heilshorn. The four continued to bump into each other at the various beer-centric establishments, always comparing notes on beer both brewed and consumed. Fast forward a few years, EEB opened and Josh became it’s first paying customer. (The dollar bill he spent on that first sample pour still adorns a rafter in the bar.) He and Sean became regulars and when a complicated construction project loomed on the Bunker’s horizon, Josh was happy to help. He heavily discounted his services in exchange for Alex’s knowledge of ales. Last fall he began brewing with Alex occasionally and also helped expand the taproom. This led to Josh’s full time employment as “brewer extraordinaire” and resident tradesman.

Josh’s primary focus in his first year has been to learn and master the brewing of EEB’s rotating hopped beers. He’s grateful for the opportunity to brew his own recipes regularly, recipes that he develops from equal parts experience and research. A sensory guy, Josh prefers brewing bigger beers, stuff with a high ABV or stouts and porters with a big malt bill, because of the deep, dark color and rich smells that accompany their creation. As for consuming, Josh prefers anything with brettanomyces or lactobacillus. His work with Butch and Alex has given him a healthy respect for a brewer’s partnership with yeast. A few of Josh’s contributions to the EEB lineup include Pincho, a porter with ancho chiles and chipotle peppers and Hystrix, a Belgian witbier with kaffir lime and ginger. He also has several other brews on the horizon including a Belgian stout currently aging in a bourbon barrel.

Josh now resides in Eliot, Maine where he brews cider in his spare time because of the relative foolproof simplicity. To him, brewing is all about troubleshooting, and Josh’s colorful background certainly qualifies him as an ace troubleshooter. That being said, after a full day of fixing, tasting, tweaking, and tidying up, he says“it’s nice to go home, dump cider into a carboy, and let the yeast do the work.”