In the nearly two years that have passed since launching this site, I’ve talked about a lot of things.

I’ve talked about the technical stuff that makes our beer become beer.

I’ve talked about the hopes and dreams that fuel us and drive us to brew our own beer for a living.

I’ve talked about all manner of silliness including (but by no means limited to) dinosaurs wearing t-shirts…the Office…pink striped chairs…growing hops…grilling steaks…curling…and urinals made out of old kegs.

Today though, I want to talk about something a bit different. Today, I dedicate this blog to something very near and dear to me. My good friend…and fellow Regular Guy…Brian Koontz.

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Why am I doing this? Because Brian is a frickin’ awesome dude, and because I know he would never do it himself. Partly because he is modest…but mostly because he is a self-confessed technophobe and seems to be generally allergic to blogging.

Let me tell you a little bit about the B-Dawg…

  • He grew up in a military family and has lived all around the world. When he describes his childhood I feel like I need a globe to process it all.
  • He served as a bat-boy for the Cardinals, and got to personally know some of the biggest names in St. Louis baseball history.
  • He is a former Air Force pilot and used to fly fighter jets patrolling the no-fly zone over Iraq.
  • Following his time in the Air Force he enjoyed a cup of coffee in the Cardinal’s minor league system.
  • He has multiple degrees, and is probably one of the smartest guys I know.
  • His career calling up to this point has been to take care of people who can no longer take care of themselves.
  • He has an awesome family, and he is one hell of a good dad.

Beyond that, he is the glue that holds Regular Guy Brewing together.

Let me be perfectly blunt. I am a self-confessed control freak. While I am generally a fairly laid back individual, it doesn’t always come naturally to me. Under the surface, particularly when dealing with things that I am passionate about, I have a very ugly passive-aggressive alpha-type personality that verges on totalitarianism. I know it’s there. It’s nothing I am proud of, and I do my best to hide it from the world and keep it in check. When I have a course of action in my mind, it’s very hard for me to release control and fully embrace the suggestions of others. Other times, I get an idea in my head…and without consulting anyone else…I just run with it. Most of the time, the other guys don’t care. Such is not always the case.

You see, Justin and I are very much alike. We are both creatively driven people, and sometimes tiny things cause us to butt heads. Sometimes my overly-ambitious (and probably boundary crossing) nature pisses him off. Sometimes his concerns (no matter how rational they might be) irk me.

In the grand scheme of things, we probably spend about 99% of the time operating on the same page in relative synchronicity…but watch out for that 1%. We’ve never come to actual physical blows…but I know there have been a couple moments where I was thinking about it. I have no doubt that he has had the same thoughts.

But the gloves have never dropped. We might go our separate ways for a while, but something always brings us back. Brian is that something.

wpid-Brian-Beer.jpg Brian is the ultimate voice of reason. He takes in both sides of the quarrel, and in his “Father Knows Best” kind of way, is able to make sense of it all. He has his heart to hearts with us in our opposing corners, and when he’s through…we hug it out…stronger and more connected than ever before.

That man has the patience of a saint, and for that I thank him. Other than the occasional rolled eyes…which speak volumes…the guy has never once lost his nerve with either Justin or I. He just takes it in, then waits for the right moment to extinguish the flames and restore calm with a poignant observation followed by a well-timed insertion of bodily function related humor.

But he’s not just a referee. No, no, no…he’s much more than that.

Brian is a true Regular Guy. Scratch that. He is the quintessential Regular Guy. The kind of guy that all other guys should strive to be more like.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that his life thus far has rivaled Forest Gump’s in terms of twists, turns and experiences. He is as down to earth as any man can be. You would never know the kinds of things he has done and the places he has been from looking at him. He is totally grounded. In fact, if he were any more grounded, he’d be subterranean.

Put another way, Brian is a man who loves life, who…despite his diverse exploits…is more than capable of taking amazing pleasure in life’s simplest things.

23The tone of excitement and enthusiasm that comes across when he tells a story from his past adventures is the exact same tone of excitement and enthusiasm that comes across when he talks about spending the day with his kids. The layers of his past experiences are just part of him, they don’t define him. He defines him.

I simply cannot express the depths of my own happiness when I hear him express his thoughts and feelings about our beer with that same spirit. He has accepted this project as part of his life and has embraced it wholeheartedly.

And that is going to be our ace in the hole.

12533_1186887279403_2393340_nBrian will be able to create opportunities for us that few other people can. He will be able to get our foot in the door with just his personality and that will be a huge asset to us. I know you haven’t  had much of a chance to get to know him yet, but once you do…you will love him. He’s one of those personalities that people are drawn to. He makes you like and respect him without even trying.

Bar and restaurant owners be warned. You are about to make a new best friend.

In my heart of hearts I know that he is the ultimate linchpin upon which the potential success of Regular Guy Brewing hinges upon. When the time comes for us to get our beer into bars, I have no doubt that he will be sealing those deals with a confident smile and a firm handshake…and probably a mildly dirty joke or two.

That all said, thanks Brian for all you have done and will do to make Regular Guy Brewing a success.

You rock.

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