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March 5, 2018 Newsmakers

Q&A with City Steam Brewery head brewmaster Jeff Pasquale

Photo | Contributed City Steam Brewery head brewmaster Jeff Pasquale.

Jeff Pasquale hopped at the opportunity to be head brewmaster at City Steam Brewery in downtown Hartford.

The former head of beer development at Bloomfield's Thomas Hooker Brewing Co. said it was mainly the creative freedom that enticed him to switch labels.

“I'm fully trusted and encouraged to go in any direction I want with the beer here, which is pretty much the most any brewer could ask for,” Pasquale said.

He replaced Sam Pagano, who left after about two years to return home to Albany, N.Y., as head brewmaster at C.H. Evans Brewing Co.

Pasquale has been making beer about 10 years, first at home. He completed the World Brewing Academy's Master Brewing program, joined Thomas Hooker in 2013, then City Steam Jan. 22.

His beer-making style?

“Execute on the technical, fundamental aspects of brewing and make every beer have a sense of balance,” he said. “I also want my beers to express a mix of my own passions and curiosities with the influences I've picked up through traveling and learning from other brewers.”

Pasquale hopes to create City Steam beers that become classics, like some brewed there 20 years ago. Its flagship is Naughty Nurse.

What's the biggest challenge you face in your new job? What's the biggest opportunity?

Some responsibilities are new to me, including ordering, pricing and tracking every ingredient, and filling out tax forms. The biggest opportunity is to introduce people to beer styles they aren't super familiar with and create a menu of beers that is always well rounded in variety.

Is Hartford a craft-beer city, or becoming one?

It's not nationally known as a beer-centric city, but there's a great foundation for it to get there. It's my favorite area for beer in Connecticut.

How would you describe the competitive climate in the Hartford region's craft beer industry?

We're all friendly and supportive of each other. If the quality and support for Hartford craft beer is there as a whole, then we all have the best chance at succeeding individually.

What might not people know about you?

I was voted “Most Unique” by my high school class at Lewis S. Mills in Burlington.

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