A while back, Ancient City Brewing down in St. Augustine got a new head brewer, so we decided to ask him a few questions to see what he has in store for the brewery’s future ahead. Get to know Tate Warren a little bit more in this Q&A and then stop by the brewhouse to try some of his beer!
Tell us a little bit about how you got into brewing initially. Were you a homebrewer? Did someone inspire you to pick up the craft?
My name is Tate Warren, I’m from Erie, Pennsylvania. I used to be a Health and PE teacher as well as coaching football at high school level. I was also a professor at a Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina before moving back home to Pennsylvania.
I got into brewing during my years as a teacher. It was a fun hobby to be a homebrewer, and I was pretty good at it. The science of the whole process is the most enticing part, along with enjoying the finished product. I homebrewed for about 5 years. It all started with a Mr. Beer kit, unfortunately it turned out terribly, but the process was hours of fun. When I moved home from North Carolina, I decided to try working at a local brewery in Erie. Thankfully, Jason Lavery of Lavery Brewing Company needed a grunt, so I started working cleaning kegs. Eventually, I hung around long enough and earned an apprenticeship, which is what got me on this path full-time.
How’d you end up in the 904 and eventually begin working for ACB?
My wife lived in the area for a few years before we met in Erie, where she is originally from. We were both looking for new and exciting challenges. The ad popped up on a brewer website, and I texted it to her. She always talked about moving back. I received a text in 30 minutes saying she had a job down here if I wanted to move, and here we are.
What breweries or brewers do you find inspiration from for your own creations?
I’ve always looked up to Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head as an inspiration of doing really good, crazy, out-of-the-box beers. Also Bill Covaleski of Victory Brewing Co., because they produce old school, true-to-style beers and venture into the bolder styles of today. I had the pleasure of working with Bill as he was our Pennsylvania Brewers Guild president.
What would you say your “style” is when it comes to brewing?
My styles as a brewer is traditional but putting a new school flare on styles. I really enjoy making crisp clean lagers.
What do you want to accomplish while manning the helm at ACB?
My goal at ACB is to make it a household name in the Southeast. The new cans coming out should put us on the map. I’d also like to make a bigger, badder portfolio of one-off beers and get into barrel aging.
Any big plans or changeups with yourself being in charge of brewing now?
You won’t see a huge change in the beers besides trying to make them cleaner and crisper. Along with some new additions to a seasonal lineup and putting a bunch of our main brands in cans.
What’s the worst part about working with Greg Tuttle (we promise not to tell him … unless he reads this article)?
Haha Greg is an awesome guy, super energetic and determined to grow this business. I love working here, and it’s nice we are in a growing phase, which makes it even more fun.
This is a tough call, but give me a few of your fav. local brews outside ACB.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get out much yet. I really like what Bog and Old Coast are doing. I had some Coppertail at a few places along with some JDubs that were really good. Also Aardwolf has some really good beers. My go-to from Pennsylvania will always be Prima Pils from Victory, and Troegenator from Troegs Brewing Co.