“I’ve always had a passion and a love for hops and better beermaking, so this has been an amazing adventure that never felt like work.” – Matt Brynildson, Firestone Walker
After a 30-year romance with hops, Brewmaster Matt Brynildson has achieved a distinction like no other… think knighthood but with hops.
The Order Of The Hop, is an international award reserved for the most accomplished leaders in the world of hops and Matt was at the International Hop Congress in Prague last week to accept the award.
Hops have been grown and bred in the Czech region for centuries. And The Order Of The Hop is awarded by the Hop Growers Union of the Czech Republic “as a decoration for hop growers, merchants, breeders and other personalities who grow, breed, process or promote hops in the world, or have otherwise contributed to the reputation and growth of the quality of this cultural crop.”
“The awarding of the Order is a symbolic prestigious expression of respect for high-quality, long-term work in favor of hops, for a significant discovery related to its cultivation, or for significant promotion and spreading of the good name of Czech hops.”
“I’ve been fascinated with hops and hop growing since the very start of my career, first as a hop chemist and later a practicing brewer,” Matt said…
“I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be standing in front of a group of international hop growers and professionals in Prague–the motherland of pilsner beer and Saaz hops–receiving an award like this.”
Matt’s journey to hop knighthood began decades ago when started homebrewing during college. He became a hop chemist after graduation and soon started brewing at Goose Island in Chicago. He joined Firestone Walker in 2000, and has fast became one of the highest profile head brewers in the country.
His nickname in the industry is ‘Merlin’ and over the years his hop journeys have taken him all over the world.
“I have traveled to South America, Russia, Australia, China, and across Central Europe, Matt added. “I’ve met so many amazing people along the way whom I now consider to be good friends.”
I’ve always had a passion and a love for hops and better beermaking, so this has been an amazing adventure that never felt like work.”
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(All image credits: Firestone Walker Brewing)