Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster
Like most college students, Matt Brynildson’s initial exposure to beer was, as he puts it, “limited to American industrial lagers.” But a fortuitous foreign exchange tour in Europe—during which he sampled some of the world’s finest brews—inspired a passion for fine beer that ultimately put him on the fast track to brewing success.
After graduating from Kalamazoo College with a degree in chemistry in 1993, Matt—by then a dedicated home brewer—joined Michigan’s KALSEC Inc. as a hop chemist, performing research and development on hops for the brewing industry. There, he worked under the tutelage of Rudy Held, former head brewmaster at Stroh’s, and refined his brewing education in the company’s vast brewing library.
In 1995, Matt continued to advance his brewing skills by attending a course at the famed Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, he was tapped by Chicago’s new Goose Island Brewing Company, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become head brewer. Under Matt’s guidance, Goose Island’s brews enjoyed phenomenal success, ultimately serving eight Mideastern states with an output of 50,000 barrels.
Matt joined the SLO Brewing Company on California’s Central Coast in January, 2000, revitalizing company’s brewing program while earning broad industry acclaim along the way. When Adam Firestone and David Walker purchased the former SLO Brewing facility in Paso Robles in 2001, they tapped Matt to head their brewing operations.
As Firestone Walker launches a new era at its brewery in Paso Robles while expanding distribution in the Central Valley and Southern California markets, Matt is excited about advancing the company’s celebrated commitment to quality and innovation. “Our brewery is a cutting-edge facility, right down to the bottling line,” he says. “This is enabling me to take Firestone Walker beers to the next level.”