Desert Island Beers – Jamie Emmerson, U.S.A.

Meet Jamie Emmerson, Executive Brewmaster at Full Sail Brewing Co. Full Sail  is a craft brewery in Hood River, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1987, Full Sail was the first commercially successful craft brewery to bottle beer in the Pacific Northwest for retail sale, and one of Oregon’s early microbreweries.

Jamie was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he says (is not exactly the center of the brewing world) and growing up had the best German teacher during Middle and High School. This far sighted lady, Frau Griffith encouraged him to study in Germany, so he went as an exchange student at 16 and again at 18, and finally finished his University education in Munich.

Jamie says he tasted his first better beer while in Munich at 16, culminating in a host family visit to “the Holy Mountain” at the Monastery Andechs…..Doppelbock at 16….and his fate was sealed! I’m not sure Frau Griffith had beer in mind when recommending Germany to him!! 

After working summers in the Organic Chemistry Labs at Eli Lilly and Co. and attending brewing school in 1987, as one of only two independent students in April 1988, he was hired as Brewmaster at Full Sail Brewing Co. in the Columbia River Gorge….a massive change of scenery for Jamie from the flat mid-west!

Jamie has since worked in every job in the brewery from grain to glass including, occasionally, minding the brew pub.

In the last 25 years, Full Sail has grown from the 4 original employees to a brewery with 100 employees. It is the only Oregon brewery to be named both “One of the Best Companies to Work for in Oregon” and “One of the Most Sustainable American Breweries”. In 1999, Jamie and his work colleagues succeeded in making Full Sail an employee-owned company saving the brewery from a corporate buy-out. And Jamie says that having everyone intimately involved in the brewing process is a big part of the brewery culture, because it is the attention to detail, all the way through by every employee, which turns a great recipe into their great beers.

Based upon beer sales volume, Full Sail is now the ninth largest craft brewery in the United States.

The Beers

So Jamie which 5 beers would you want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island, and why?

Klosterbrauerei Andechs – Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel (Germany – 7.1%)

” The Monks have a way with Doppelbock…..what can I say? Rich, dark, and delicious, it may be a bit much for a warm desert island, but it surely would help you forget that you’re stranded. When I studied in Munich, I drank at the monastery religiously…”.

Budweiser Budvar Ceske Budejovice – Budweiser Budvar (Czech Republic – 5.0%) 

“A lovely golden strong lager (no confusion with its American (distant) cousin), with crisp hopping, is a perfect summer desert island beer for me. Rich, creamy, with a lovely hop bite….perfection…..”

Wells & Young’s – Young’s Special London Ale (U.K. – 6.4%)

“One of the first ales I ever enjoyed, and I still drink this beer when I can find it. A great balance of malt and hops, refined and elegant.”

Augustiner-Bräu – Augustiner Lagerbier Hell (Germany – 5.2%) 

“I love lagers of all types, and Augustiner is the benchmark for me for a proper Helles. It has to be in my desert island ‘fridge.”

Full Sail Brewing Company- Full Sail Amber Ale (U.S.A. – 5.5%)

“A great NW amber, redolent with Cascade hops balanced with caramel undertones, our brewery was built on this beer. Great with food across a broad spectrum, especially fresh island-caught seafood.”

And which beer (of those selected) do you regard most highly, and why?

“For me, it is Full Sail Amber. It has been at the core of my entire brewing career that now approaches 25 years, and I know how all our employee owners pour their hearts into it every day.”

The Meal

You can also take one meal to go with your beers, what would it be and why? Is it a ‘last supper’ or a perfect pairing for one of the beers?

“For me, Pizza in Teglia like one from the Pizzarium in Rome, paired with an Arugula salad, and Pistachio gelato for desert, finished with a nice single malt and Cuban cigar.”

The Record

You have a CD/MP3/long player but you can only take one album. Choose wisely!

“Just one??!!  How about one in a few genres? Please?”  OK James we will allow it; just for this once!

“Rock: Talking Heads – The Name of This Band is the Talking Heads
Jazz: The Modern Jazz Quartet – Blues at Carnegie Hall
Classical: Andrés Segovia – The Segovia Collection
Reggae: Scientist – King of Dub
Ska: The Beat – Special Beat Service
Electronica: Thievery Corporation – The Richest Man in Babylon”

The Beer Book

You might be waiting a long time on your lonesome on the desert island, so we will automatically allow you a few books to keep your mind busy. You can pick between two beer books and two tomes:

• ‘The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food’ by Garrett Oliver, or;

• Beer by Michael Jackson; plus;

• The Bible, or;

• another appropriate religious or philosophical work

” Can I pick Abriss der Bierbrauerei by Ludwig Narziss? Helps me brush up on my German and my brewing skills and The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin.” (And that’s two).

The non-beery, non-philosophical book.

You can also take a something a little less taxing on the brain, what would that be?

“The Complete Sherlock Holmes.”

The Luxury Item

What luxury item would help make your stay on the island bearable?

“My wife, she’s Cuban and that makes her a luxury item in my book plus she started the brewery so her priorities are definitely in the right place….If not that, how about a bicycle to ride.” Sorry Jamie but the luxury item must be inanimate so you will have to make do with the cycle.

Thanks Jamie! For more information on Jamie and Full Sail Brewing Co.’s beers visit their website .

This article is syndicated with Real Ale Reviews as part of our ‘Desert Island Beers’ collaboration.


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One Response to “Desert Island Beers – Jamie Emmerson, U.S.A.”

  1. Desert Island Beers #33: Jamie Emerson, Full Sail Brewing Co » Beer blog & beer reviews » Real Ale Reviews Says:

    […] article is syndicated with Allgates Brewery as part of our ‘Desert Island Beers’ […]

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