Sometimes a side hobby has a way of turning itself into a full-fledged career.
If you’re the Answer Brewpub’s Brandon Tolbert, you’re marveling that a beer-making hobby led to a career: “I had no idea it would turn into this.”
After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in painting and printmaking, Tolbert took a job as a technician with a printing company, brewing beer and comparing notes with fellow home brewers during off hours. In 2013, after a friend in the James River Homebrewers Association suggested Tolbert for consideration, Extra Billy’s BBQ in Midlothian offered him a job as head brewer.
“I don’t know why anyone would do that,” Tolbert says, looking back. “It’s a risk. There are a lot of differences between home brewing and commercial brewing. When you do it at home, it’s for yourself. I’m now in the position of making beer people want to buy.”
Photo: Scott Elmquist/Style Weekly