Know Your Brewer: Brett Kintzer at Swashbuckler Brewing Company
When an established brewery needs to find a new captain to lead their ship they look for someone with experience in the field. Our area is full of brewers who have been mashing in for years, but few have more experience than Swashbuckler Brewing Company’s new head brewer.
After 20 years of brewing at Stoudts Brewing Company, Brett Kintzer took over the brewing duties as the head of the three breweries – Divine Swine, Swashbuckler and Rumspringa – that make up SBC Brewsmiths.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Kintzer. “It’s a different system, and there are a lot of different facets that go into coming into a new brewery like this.”
One of the first challenges on Kintzer’s list is to revamp and improve existing beer recipes alongside exciting one-offs that keep the product fresh.
“My philosophy is to work with the finest raw ingredients, while also leaving room for creativity,” said Kintzer. “Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and that continues with being creative with even more styles.”
Background in brewing
For 21 years, all Kintzer knew was Stoudts beer. He helped grow the brand from his time on the production line and worked his way to an assistant brewer and then ultimately head brewer, a title he held for more than 10 years.
Kintzer credits being there at the right time along with having a new-found interest in craft beer as the main reason he was picked to start a brewing career with Stoudts.
“I was really excited when I got the opportunity to work with the Stoudt family along with the head brewer and the other assistant brewer at that time,” said Kintzer.
His 20 years at Stoudts shaped him into the brewer that he is today. His brewing method involves brewing what he feels at the time, but with a high focus on quality.
“If you’re going to brew beer, it better be a good quality product that you can be proud of,” said Kintzer. “I always keep that in mind while brewing.”
Along with keeping up with production on all Stoudts beer, Kintzer also ramped up production by implementing an on-premise bottling line. Kintzer said that his education from the Siebel Institue helped the brewery increase its output by 120% in the first year with their own bottling line.
Growing a brewery
Although Swashbuckler has been around for more than a decade now, they have only just recently started bottling their year-round offerings and distributing them throughout the area.
Kintzer’s experience with a large scale operation at Stoudts accompanied by his education should help get Swashbuckler beers into the hands of craft beer lovers.
“While I don’t have a formal brewing education, I did go to the Siebel Institute to learn how to implement a production line, and that is one of the first things I plan for the future here,” said Kintzer.
Kintzer’s debut beer for Swashbuckler is a classic take on Hefeweizen. Atomic Pop Hefeweizen is sweet and refreshing with crisp flavors of clove, banana, and wheat. It’s going to be a go-to brew for a hot day at the Renaissance Faire.
Swashbuckler looks to have more of a presence throughout the Faire this year, and Kintzer is already thinking of ideas of how to achieve this.
“For the summer I want to try to make a tropical IPA that is crisp and refreshing for everyone at the Fair,” said Kintzer. “I had an experimental hop that gives off some notes of tropical fruits, and I want to incorporate that into a new beer.”
SBC Beersmiths’ is open during Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire hours, including special events like Brewfest, Flavorfest, Celtic Fest and more. Once the winery is complete, they plan to expand their hours. In the meantime, if you visit during off-hours, head to the Mount Hope Winery Tasting Room to have an employee help you to the brewery for samples and take-home beer. Beer is available in bombers and growlers as of right now with additional packing in the plans for the future.