Allison Lange has joined the Old Ox Brewery production team as head brewer.
Before joining Old Ox, Allson was director of brewery production and lead brewer for 3 Stars Brewing Company in Washington, D.C. and brewer and beer scientist for Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, VA. In her previous positions, she has been responsible for brewing, cellaring and packaging operations; managed production schedules; established a brewery lab; designed and implemented comprehensive quality control and assurance programs; and conducted educational programs.
Allison earned her BA in genetics, cell and developmental biology at Dartmouth College and her PhD in biochemistry at Emory University.
“We are pleased to welcome Allison to the Old Ox team. Her experience at two outstanding breweries and her background in biochemistry are a great fit for our approach to brewing,” said Old Ox President Chris Burns.
How does a biochemist end up in a brewery? For our new head brewer, the story begins with yeast. As she explains it, yeast is the “model organism” that she spent a lot of time with in grad school. While they joked about making beer with their lab strains, they never tried it. It was her experience planning grad school happy hours that introduced her to craft beer. When she volunteered to get the beer, she was determined to find “the good stuff.” For the first event she organized, Allison says she picked Sweetwater 420, Bass and Corona—okay it was 2001—her selection was limited.
Allison arrived in the DC area when her husband, Pete, was offered a job. She experimented with photography but says she missed the logic of science. About that yeast connection …
Allison cold-called breweries pushing her skills as a microbiologist, but the breweries weren’t hiring for that position. Instead, she landed a part-time job at Port City working on the bottling line. It didn’t take very long for her responsibilities to expand and the part-time position grew into a full-time job. She was able to put her microbiology skills to work helping Port City set up a lab. In the process, she learned how to brew and became a member of the brewing team. The rest is brewing history.
Allison says her approach to brewing is analytical as opposed to shooting from the hip with a particular focus on the process. “A faulty process can ruin a great recipe and a well thought-out process can improve any beer,” she says.
As she settles in at Old Ox, she looks forward to meeting our customers. So stop by and introduce yourself!