Humble and genuine, yet accomplished in his craft, Brandon Sieminski of Iron Fist Brewing is the model for young home brewer turned successful brewmaster in San Diego.
From the tender age of 18, Sieminski has been making beer, and his passion at Iron Fist in Vista is one that stems from generations of home brewing.
As he describes it: "Home brewing was a family hobby. We even built our own mash tun out of a picnic cooler." (Awesome.)
Sieminski and his brother came up with the idea of opening a brewery, and with full family involvement in October 2010, the familial passion spawned a full-time commercial brewery. From the classical music reverberating during closed hours to the ceiling constructed by his grandfather, "Grandpa Fist," the brewery is imbued with family spirit. The name Iron Fist is a tongue-in-cheek nod to Brandon's Polish father growing up "on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain."
Exciting things to come for the brewery include a new tasting room opening July 24 in Barrio Logan, just four blocks from the ballpark, giving south San Diego County fans of Iron Fist their own stomping grounds. All of the core beers will be offered, as well as a number of one-off variations and plenty of growlers, bottles and merchandise.
Go by and support this family and their beautifully crafted beers in Vista and don't miss the opening this month! If Vista is your port of call, ask for Grandpa Fist, one of the most engaging and entertaining souls you'll meet in this life. Cheers!
Q: How old were you when you took your first drink?
Brandon Sieminski: Eleven or 12. We were very much a wine family until Iron Fist. Now, I like it all. The more you can cross-apply knowledge, the better.
Q: When did you brew your first beer?
Sieminski: Age 18. My first brew was an amber from a kit that I picked up at Hydrobrew home brew shop in Oceanside.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?
Sieminski: I'd be a chef. It was what I was doing before this.
Q: Who is your hero?
Sieminski: My folks. I wouldn't be here without them. They were self-made.
Q: If you could have one superpower?
Sieminski: Reading people's minds. It's hard to completely understand someone's perspective. And not just for personally, but for the greater good.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
Sieminski: Being able to get up in the morning and be excited and optimistic about the future. Comfort is not happiness. That's sitting down in an armchair.
Q: What makes you laugh?
Sieminski: A lot of things. Just about everything is amusing. I like to laugh with other people.
Q: Greatest honor?
Sieminski: The crazy ass idea to open a brewery and for people think it's a good idea.
Q: If it's not a beer, what are you reaching for?
Sieminski: Brown liquor. I love, love bourbon. Good whiskey.
Q: One wish?
Sieminski: People would be more understanding with each other.
Q: Favorite vacation spot?
Sieminski: A staycation in San Diego. There's nothing like the approach at Lindbergh Field.
Q: Desert island music?
Sieminski: Classical. Beethoven and Chopin.
Q: What is your personal mantra?
Sieminski: Be passionate and don't be a dick.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
Sieminski: As somebody who followed their passions, not just for myself, but for my family and left the world a better place.
Q: If you could invite three people living or dead to dinner, who would they be?
Sieminski: Ernest Hemingway, Michael Jackson (the beer writer), and Sun-Tzu
Q: Your last meal on earth?
Sieminski: My Grandma's zalewajka soup, rouladen, potato dumplings, and red cabbage with a good Polish lager, either Zywiec or Tyskie.
With 15 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 700 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org