Brewer Spotlight - Jen Currier

Brewer Spotlight - Jen Currier: Meet the head winemaker at Wicked Weed Brewing
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Jen Currier; (inset) Vīdl Cellars wine, a division of Wicked Weed, was first distilled in 2015.

WNC: Please tell us about your career journey.
Jen Currier (JC):
I was born and raised in North Carolina. I spent some time at UGA before moving back to Raleigh. I was aiming for a career in physical therapy, but I started home brewing and fell in love with creating something that has an expiration date. I moved to Asheville in 2013 to pursue a degree in brewing. I finished that in 2015 and began bartending at the Funkatorium, where I fell in love with mixed culture beer. Wicked Weed was hiring a wood cellarman in early 2016, and I weaseled my way into production . . . I really sunk my teeth into fermentation, barrels, and blending, earning the Lead Blender title in 2017 before being promoted to Head of Mixed Culture in 2020.

WNC: When crafting new beverages, where do you find inspiration?
JC:
Wicked Weed has a massive portfolio of mixed culture brands. There are certain staples that we make regularly and my job is to find ways to continuously improve upon what has already been built. When creating new brands, I typically look at our portfolio and try to identify styles that we’re missing . . . and then I look ahead to determine when the brand would potentially release. Will the new beer be seasonally appropriate? Do I think folks will be excited about it? Then I start to look at ingredients; what will be in season near me? This is probably not the sexiest answer, but it’s an honest one! These beers take years to make; you have to go into them with confidence and respect.

WNC: Do you have a favorite wine that you’ve made? And beer?
JC:
My favorite wine is our varietal Blaufränkisch. This variety surprised us most in our first harvest, 2019, and I think everyone fell in love with it. Five harvests later, and this wine is still as exciting to me as it was the first year. The beer I am most proud of is TransAmLam. This is a blend of 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old spontaneously fermented stock that we blend onto a very long, dry-hop. Something magical happens when you combine spontaneous fermentation with fresh hops. We won a medal for it at GABF in 2020. That vintage has amazing passionfruit and grapefruit aromas that I cannot get over.

Wicked Weed
91 Biltmore Ave., Asheville
Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight
(828) 575-9599
wickedweedbrewing.com