Dieter Foerstner, Hap & Harry’s affable head brewer, is well-seasoned in the art, science and business of brewing. He doesn’t shy away from the less glamorous details of running a brewery, and his laid-back demeanor implies that he’s taken the twists and turns of head brewership in stride.

Walking through the brewery, he effortlessly lists the type and capacity of each part of the brewing and packaging system, as well as Hap & Harry’s vision for the future of the brand. There’s no doubt that Foerstner was added to the team for his knowledge and experience in establishing new breweries and reviving old ones.

Foerstner’s interest in brewing began when he was in college studying international hotel and restaurant management. While visiting a friend’s family, he brewed with his friend’s dad, and asked a lot of questions along the way.

“That’s when the interest was sparked,” he says. “From there, I became a piss-poor homebrewer.”

But that wouldn’t last long. During a semester studying abroad, he visited a brewery in Bavaria, which was housed in an old converted castle. “I was romanced from the start,” he says of the picturesque setting and authentic Bavarian brew. When the brewer asked him whether he’d thought of turning his hobby into a career, he knew he had to pursue it.

Foerstner finished the Master Brewer’s Program at UC Davis in June of 2006 and returned home to Arizona. The craft beer scene there was still emerging, and though he knocked on all the breweries’ doors, he didn’t find anywhere to brew. Finally, after getting his foot in the door as a server at Gordon Biersch, he was offered the assistant brewer job at their Las Vegas location.

As difficult as it was, the single 26-year-old made the great sacrifice and packed his bags for Vegas. There he brewed under the mentor he calls his “brew daddy,” Richard Lovelady. Rightly so, as Foerstner says that Lovelady’s guidance and work ethic taught him the reality of head brewing.

Less than a year later, an opportunity arose in Los Angeles, the town where Foerstner’s own great grandfather had brewed decades before. Foerstner took the job of reopening the downtown location of Angel City Brewery. While there were plenty of challenges, he says that working with a rock star team in a legendary location was rewarding and enlightened him even further about the business of brewing.

Foerstner’s last stop en route to Nashville was in Denver, Colorado. Tivoli Brewing was a historic brand that needed a revival, and he was especially interested in their partnership with a local university’s brewing program. Foerstner’s focus was reviving the brand and establishing the processes and systems that sustain a growing brewery.

Foerstner got the Hap & Harry’s call on the heels of two visits to Nashville — the first during a snowstorm, the second for a Guns ’N Roses concert. Not only was he impressed with our ability to host great concerts and shut the city down for snow, but also with the Lipman team and the brand they wanted him to lead.

He says that many friends ask whether he might get bored brewing just two beer styles after the variety of styles he has worked with in the past. Foerstner laughs, saying “If you do it right, you don’t have a chance to get bored.” Using his experience in establishing standard systems and processes, he hopes to grow Hap & Harry’s beyond its current scope. Then, he says, there’s the new challenge of scaling up. One that many brewers dream of, no doubt.

“It’s really the creativity and innovation that keeps me interested and motivated,” he says. It is obvious that his genuine excitement for brewing and innovation is a great addition to the Tennessee beer scene.