Meet the man behind the magic, Paul Rutherford
Meet Paul Rutherford, a seasoned craft brewer who's putting his spin on the beer scene in Ybor. A long list of classic German-style lagers, West Coast IPA’s, and collabs with Coppertail and Tampa Bay Brewing Company were first on the list.
We sat down with Paul prior to opening to learn more about his vision for Zydeco Brew Werks and get his thoughts on Tampa’s developing craft beer scene.
Originally from Philadelphia, Paul’s passion for beer started out as a hobby that spiraled into a career. He started out making beer at home the early 2000’s, experimenting with Imperial Stouts, double IPA’s, and other brews.
“The beers were nothing too nuanced. I made huge, 10 percent beers because I was 20 years old. Even if they were terrible, I always had a friend who drank free beer,” said Paul.
Paul Rutherford (photo credit-Steve Legato)
His knowledge and affinity for combining different ingredients to develop rich, intriguing flavor profiles was a skill and intuition he honed over the years. Paul formerly worked as the senior brewer at Iron Hill for more than a decade and picked up a gold medal at the World Beer Cub for Golden Child, a bright golden ale fermented with a single strain of Brettanomyces. He also is a grad from Chicago’s Siebel Institute, American’s oldest brewing school, and studied overseas at the Doemens Academy in Munich.
Paul’s first encounter with Tampa happened when he came to visit an old friend – Casey Hughes – head brewer at Coppertail.
“My first trip was to see Casey and be at the opening of the tasting room at Coppertail. That was my first time here in Tampa.”
Aside from the beautiful weather, Paul’s excited about the future of Tampa and its fast rate of development. “I grew up in LA and always thought Philly was small, manageable, then realized when I moved here, that’s a small city,” he said.
“But it’s fun, and it's exciting to see where it’ll be at in the next three to five years.”
Now with Zydeco Brew Werks, Paul’s brewing a serious repertoire of beers, including the Whybor IPA, a collaborative endeavor featuring two other Ybor breweries, Tampa Bay Brewing Co. and Coppertail. German lagers, classic styles, and west coast IPA’s will be sure to be on rotation in the tasting rooms, as well as other special bottle releases and a barrel aging program in the works.
" The craft beer scene here in Tampa is exploding and is made of lots of great people and breweries".