As the late great Bob Marley sang, “My cup is running over,” such is the case with the Burning Beard Beard talent pool. Taking to the stand is a team of beer aficionados whose combined commercial and boutique experience designing, brewing, serving, and sharing great beer is matched only by their collective spirit to kick ass in all they do.
Meet the Burning Beard Creative Team.
A California native, Beard Co-Founder Jeff Wiederkehr is a stalwart of the San Diego craft beer and local music scenes. His passion for beer turned hands-on in 2012, when the prospect of transforming a home brewing hobby into a business became an everyman’s dream come true. He hasn’t put down the refractometer since. Jeff earned the Homebrewer of the Year Award in 2015 as a member of QUAFF, San Diego’s famed homebrewer’s club, and he has an expanding portfolio of locally recognized brews under his belt. Jeff’s commitment to quality is unabating, and he’s often found perfecting a grain bill or designing the next hop schedule. Though he’d never admit it, Jeff’s a modern day Renaissance man. With more than a few college degrees in his quiver—AA in Science, BA in Social Science, BCLAD teaching credential, MA in Literature—he’s equal parts brewer, teacher, heat treater & brazer, musician, and businessman. What he will admit, though, is he’s a rocker at heart, has played in too many bands to name, and has a near encyclopedic knowledge of all things rock, metal, punk, and otherwise. Look for Jeff in the brew house, the back office, behind the bar, or at your local watering hole pitching product.
Born in Ft. Collins, and then relocated to San Diego at the tender age of 3, Mike’s roots proudly bear the stamp of craft beer country. A great appreciator of the craft, Mike’s first glimpse of beer making came in 1996 at Jack White’s Home Brew Mart, the same year Jack founded Ballast Point. After brewing a handful of homebrews, Mike chose a different path, despite his love of beer. Leaving brewing behind, Mike packed his bags and hit the road. An initial road trip up the coasts of California and Oregon inspired a summer-long Southeast Asian journey just a year later. Travel-bug infected, Mike would return stateside for a while to lead US-based backcountry adventure tours before dusting off his passport again in 2000. Departing on Leap Day Y2K, Mike set out for a 9-month traverse of the coastal, Andean, and Amazonian regions of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador—chicha, shamans, jungle, and all. Wanderlust addressed, Mike settled into a career in publishing and software design (15 years and counting…) built upon the BA and MA in English he earned along the way. Today, Mike finds himself at the start of his most exciting adventure yet as Co-Founder of the Beard. If he’s not surfing or hiking a mountain somewhere, you’ll find Mike at the brewery slinging beers, strategizing the next marketing blast, or polishing a bright tank.
Proudly hailing from the arid and sage-laden desert of New Mexico, Shannon first discovered craft beer through usual teenage delinquency. Pilfering bottles from her dad’s beer fridge, then convincing servers to tip her out in growlers at her first job, it wasn’t until she attended school at Northern Arizona University that she had her first sip of the fizzy yellow macro stuff. In 2013, Shannon’s Viking spirit heard the bellows of barley and hops while wandering the mountains of Northern Arizona and Colorado; manifest destiny had called. She answered the call at AleSmith Brewing Company in sunny San Diego, where she developed a fierce passion for all things beer. Before long, she was diving head first into every opportunity she could to learn about beer styles, beer education, and the brewing process. Driven by a pulsing desire to forge deeper into the evolving world of San Diego craft, Shannon left AleSmith in search of a new adventure. She soon found herself in El Cajon, on the edge of San Diego’s east county brewing frontier. Lured by the sound of punk rock and the promise of a pint, Shannon boarded her longship with a one-way ticket to the drinking halls of Odin: She had found the Beard. When she’s not at the Beard, this bombastic creature is often found with a book in her purse, a beer in her hand, and a mischievous glint in her eye. Find her in a dimly lit beer bar with knotholes and questionable company, and she’ll give you a proper auditory hernia about anything to do with beer, rugby, or Daisy the wolfhound.
A San Diego local with deep roots in Tijuana, it’ no surprise Brian has a fervent passion for skateboarding, music, and craft beer culture. Brewing his first batch of homebrew with his twin brother in 2009, Brian spent years perfecting homegrown recipes with family and friends before jumping into professional beer-making in 2013. That’s when he joined Coronado Brewing Company, armed with a personal brewing philosophy to brew every style, brew them well, and always respect tradition while pushing the envelope. Absorbing as much as possible from the talent-rich beer scenes of TJ and San Diego, Brian steadily refined his brewing acumen, gaining many like-minded friends and influences along the way. Incorporating the best of classic and new world styles with a variety of techniques, Brian built a portfolio of local favorites at the Coronado Brew Pub. Instilled with a relentless spirit to create, learn, and live, Brian eventually decided to move on from Coronado in pursuit of new challenges. Like a moth to a flame, Brian was quickly drawn to the Beard. Look for Brian blasting his favorite tunes while brewing, filling barrels, or scrubbing down the floors. If he’s not at the Beard, you might find him at the skate park, dog park, in the pit of a local hardcore punk show, or having a pint at a local pub cheering on a soccer match.
The only people for me are the mad ones…the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.