Fast Friends Announces Head Brewer From Modern Times
South Austin is getting a new brewery this year by way of Fast Friends Beer Co. Founder, Dave Childress, announced this week that former Head Brewer at Modern Times Anaheim, Keith Shaw, will be joining the team as Head of Brewing. “Keith checks all the boxes, he is a technically gifted brewer, a creative recipe writer, he leads by example and he is a kind human,” said Childress. “We couldn’t have found a better brewer and or a better person to help us build something special in South Austin.” I caught up with Shaw to find out more about him and what he has in store for the brewery.
Craft Beer Austin: How did you hear about Fast Friends and the Head of Brewing opportunity?
Keith Shaw: We had a mutual friend in Southern California that came across an Instagram post about a brewery in Austin looking for a head brewer. He asked me if I was interested and I originally didn’t think I was, but then I decided why not. My friend made the introduction and I talked to Dave the next day. We are both combat veterans and we hit it off right away. Before I knew it I was in Austin visiting breweries and talking about the project and things just went from there.
CBA: As you mention, you and Dave hit it off initially, but what drew you to the project as a whole?
KS: Reading over the project plans and understanding what Dave was trying to build something different. His vision of breaking down barriers through a space that will bring people together over a beer despite their differences is something that I want to be a part of. Plus the challenges of moving to another city presents something new and exciting. Austin is one of the coolest cities I’ve been to, and it seems like there is a place for everyone here.
CBA: What beer styles are you planning to focus on?
KS: I plan to bring what I’ve learned over the past seven years to the beer program, which will include the standard hazy IPAs. I am personally a fan of Lagers, it’s a style I can drink all the time. With that said, I am planning to make beer for everybody, we’ll explore a variety of styles, although without always precisely following style guidelines specifically.
CBA: What is your go-to style of beer, what do you like to drink?
KS: As I mentioned, I’ll drink Lagers and Pilsners over a hazy any day. Anything in the Lager category is my go-to style. They take more skill to make and time to condition so you can’t cover up flaws with hops or anything like that.
CBA: What else do you want people to know about you?
KS: Aside from being a Star Wars and LoTR nerd? I am actually a heavily tattooed Vegan. I am kind of a walking contradiction, being a former Marine, 2 time Iraq War Veteran, and also Vegan for 10 years. But I don’t force my lifestyle on anyone and am very open-minded. I’m looking forward to being part of Austin’s beer scene!
Keith was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He served in the Marines as a helicopter (UH-1N Huey) crew chief from 2001 – 2007 and graduated from the University of California at Davis Master Brewers Program in 2013. Keith has been an integral part of the Modern Times brewing team since 2014 helping them grow their brand and their annual beer production from 2,000 BBLs per year to over 60,000 BBLs per year. Keith was personally responsible for starting up and leading brewing operations at Modern Times pilot facility in Los Angeles (The Dankness Dojo) and their Anaheim production facility (Leisuretown).