Modern Times Adds Three Experienced Brewers

It’s been more than a year since Jacob McKean, the former Stone Brewing Co. communications specialist, quit his job at the country’s 11th largest craft brewery to launch his own craft beer company — Modern Times Beer.

In that time, McKean has raised more than $1 million in investment money, signed the lease on a 12,000 square foot facility and unveiled a sleek-looking set of can designs. Now he’s assembled a team of three brewery operators that will help get the first Modern Times beers to market.

McKean plucked Matt Walsh, the former head brewer at Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, Calif., to head up the brewing operation for Modern Times. McKean also hired Derek Freese, who was recently the head brewer at Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery in San Diego. Freese will manage Modern Times’ tasting room and also make various sales contributions. Alex Tweet, a former brewer at San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing will also join the Modern Times brewing staff.

More information is included in the Modern Times blog post, which has been reprinted below.

SAN DIEGO — I’m so excited I might pee a little. Why? Because I still can’t quite believe I managed to land these three guys.

Were you a journalist for a major publication wanting to write about us, you might say Modern Times is “positively stocked with an almost unbelievable combination of creativity & experience.” But, ya know, go with whatever works.

Matt Walsh has been Head Brewer at Lost Coast for the past 2 years, having been responsible for a combined ~130,000 bbls of production. He established the brewery’s quality control program, leading to a remarkably low .3% rate of returned product (including defective cooperage) during his time there. He’s also planned & procured equipment for a massive 600,000 bbl brewery expansion. Prior to Lost Coast, he served as Head Brewer at both Speakeasy Ales & Lagers and Karl Strauss Brewing. At Modern Times, Matt will be charged with ensuring that we kick out immaculate, perfectly consistent batches, along with managing the brewery’s growth & generally making sure everything hums along smoothly.

Derek Freese, Head Brewer at the beloved Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery and longtime local homebrewer, will serve as Brewer & Party Ambassador (read: he’ll manage the tasting room & do some sales stuff). Derek’s intense passion for brewing & perpetually ebullient personality will help bring sparkling sunshine & a vast array of beer styles to Modern Times. He’s a graduate of the Siebel Institute’s Concise Course in Brewing Technology, is a certified BJCP judge & Cicerone, and most impressively, has brewed 30 different recipes in the last 18 months. Additionally, Derek’s experience as Bar Manager at Monkey Paw will come in handy at Modern Times’ notably handsome & incredibly convenient tasting room.

Alex Tweet is currently a Brewer & Cask Czar at Ballast Point, and he wants everyone to know that there’s more to him than just putting weird shit in beer…that’s just surface level. Once you get to know him, he’s really all about saisons & lambics & he’s a super deep guy, so don’t be so shallow, ok? Shallow people will focus on the fact that his inventive mind is responsible for “Indra Kunindra”, a fantastic curry stout, and a self-explanatory cask called “Victory at Cereal”–utilizing Cap’n Crunch–which he created while developing Ballast Point’s specialty cask program. Aside from brewing, Alex will assist with the barrel program and a bunch of boring office crap, since he used to do corporate stuff.

What does it all mean? It means Modern Times will have the staff of my dreams: a combination of tremendous creativity & Terminator-like consistency.

Cheers & thanks for reading,
Jacob McKean

  • April Day

    We wish Matt the best of luck!!