Rogue Brewmaster John Maier has been brewing craft beer for more than 30 years but he's been crafting Rogue Ales & Lagers since May 1, 1989.
"We drove up to Newport and right down on the Bayfront, they had this garage and there was some construction going on and there were people hanging on, you know, working on the new brewery."
On May 1, 1989, John Maier walked into a garage on the Oregon Coast and brewed his first Rogue ale.
Thirty years and 22,562 brews later, John, a working Brewmaster, is still brewing ales and lagers and riding his bike over the Yaquina Bay Bridge each morning to Rogue World Headquarters in Newport, Oregon.
"Hiring John was the best damn decision Jack ever made. Hiring him and just saying, 'Go for it, John. Do whatever you want to,'" says Nate Linquist, Rogue's Head Cooper and the second longest-running employee just behind John.
Prior to Rogue, John graduated from the Siebel Institute of Technology in 1986 where he studied brewing; earned the 1988 Homebrewer of the Year award from the Homebrewers Association for Old Crustacean Barleywine; and brewed at Alaskan Brewing where he designed their Smoked Porter. Then he went Rogue.
The man’s penchant for hops has not only earned him the nickname “More Hops” Maier but it also inspired us to grow our own hops. We planted rhizomes on a few acres in Independence, Oregon in 2007 as we faced a global hops shortage. Today we’ve grown 10 varieties of hops over 52 acres. That’s not to mention the other beer and spirits ingredients we’re cultivating for John’s recipes.
Our Brewmaster has crafted over 200 styles of Rogue beer (along with a few that don’t fit into your typical beer categories), including Dead Guy Ale, Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Chocolate Stout. Thanks to one of John’s more notable brews, his facial hair is world famous. After testing his old-growth beard (he’d been growing it since 1978), we discovered a wild yeast that John used to design a brew we called Beard Beer.
His brews have taken home 2,009 awards over the years, including his most recent Gold from the 2018 Great American Beer Festival for St. Chuck’s Smoke. And we continue to pledge that “John Maier live long and prosper” in our Rogue Nation Roguellegiance.
According to Brett Joyce, Rogue President from 2008 to 2018, "John was the perfect guy at the perfect time for Rogue in the perfect place. I mean John came to Newport in May of 1989 and John still lives in Newport."
Here’s to John Maier and his 30 years a Rogue.
UPDATE: At his 30th Rogue-versary party in Newport, Oregon on May 18, John announced that he would be retiring at the end of July. While we'll miss his ever-present talent, leadership and expertise at the brewery, we know this won't be the last we'll see of him.
John plans to stay in Newport with his family and pups so we're pretty sure we'll still see him biking over the Yaquina Bay Bridge from time to time. And we're also not letting him go without a party. So on Saturday, July 27, we'll be raising a glass to John Maier at Rogue Eastside Pub & Brewery. Join us.