Harpoon Brewer Feature: Ethan Elston

Meet Ethan

Posted in Love Beer

Brewing has often been described as a science and an art. At Harpoon, we work very hard to combine both to create unique and flavorful beers for you to enjoy. So, it’s no surprise that we have some of the best of the best on our brewing staff. This series will focus on the Harpoon Employee Owners behind the beer – where they are from, their brewing suppositions, most proud (and embarrassing!) brewing moments, and more! That way, the next time you see them out and about, you can high-five (they like hugs too) the craftsman behind your favorite Harpoon beers.

Meet one of our favorite brewers: Ethan "THE Bear" Elston!

How long have you been at Harpoon?

7 Years and counting!

Where are you from?

Boston Kid!

What’s your brewing history? 

My interest in brewing started mostly with a healthy interest in drinking beer (like most college students).  Where I went to school in Upstate NY there were 2 breweries within 20 miles of the college so I started going to them a lot (maybe before I was 21) and even more once my buddy became a tour guide at one of them.  After going on a bazillion brewery tours and my desire to never have an office job I became very interested in the beer making process as opposed to just the drinking of it.  I worked for 2 years at Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, NY where they taught me the brew process and then when I moved home to Massachusetts I wanted to work for the best brewery around which happened to be Harpoon.

Got a Harpoon nickname?

My Harpoon nickname is The Bear.  Not to be confused with “A” bear, I am “THE” bear.

What’s your all-time favorite beer?

I drink seasonally so my winter pick would be Baltic Porter and my summer pick would be Bohemian Pilsner.

Have any Brewing/beer Pet-Peeves

Yes, when people don’t coil up hoses correctly or close the proper valves on said hose.

What’s been your proudest brewing moment?

My proudest brewing moment has to be a toss-up between being sent to Oregon/Colorado to brew the EHOP collaboration beer with Deschutes and my Vanilla Porter getting completely sold out faster than even I could get any.

What’s the most embarrassing brew moment?

My most embarrassing moment would have to be accidentally having a huge plug of yeast shoot all into my face and clothes in front of a tour when I was still training.  They thought it was hilarious though.  Luckily I was wearing my safety goggles.

Who would you bring back from the dead to have a beer with?

Jim Morrison, the Lizard King himself.

What’s your favorite place to have a beer?

Anywhere high up on a nice sunny day.  Examples: Cliffside, on top of a 500 barrel fermenter, a balcony, etc.

Got any brewing superstitions?

I found a button that had a skull with wings and roses on the side on it sometime in 2011.  It’s still in my pocket and I freak out a little if I think I’ve lost it.

What’s your favorite ingredient (i.e. favorite hop variety, malt, or yeast strain and why)

I love brewing with roasted malts.  The aroma they give off during the hot side is intoxicating.

Who’s your brewing icon/role model?

My friend Mike McManus.  He trained me when I was 22 years old and knew nothing about brewing.  I had never even homebrewed.  He made sure that I had sufficient brewing knowledge but also a positive outlook.  He went on to become the recipe generator for Ommegang and has now started his own brewery and the beers are killer.  He’s doing his own thing and having an awesome time doing it.

Have any favorite jams to rock out to while you're brewing?

Led Zeppelin baby!  If you come into the brewery late at night or on some Saturdays there is a decent chance you will hear me belting out Immigrant Song or Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid.  Sometimes I get applause from tours passing by.

Open ended – Anything else you want to add about how awesome you are?

I think my actions speak for themselves haha! 

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