The Man, The Myth, the Beer Sherpa

As gallons of hoppy, wheaty, and malty goodness swash back and forth in barrels slung over his shoulder, the aroma of handcrafted alchemy drifts through the air. Although the term “sherpa” may make you think of climbing the Himalayas, the man carrying this batch of handcrafted beer down the halls is lovingly referred to as “The Beer Sherpa”.


Here Comes The Man

Enter Manuel Mussen, the head brewmaster of Old Redwood Brewing Company. According to Manuel, “I shlep a lot of beer around and part of my job consists of delivering beer to our accounts. Sherpa is a great way of conveying that.” As he tells this story, you can see a warm smile start to appear on his face. This man loves his job and loves his nickname.

Old Redwood Brewery, based out of Windsor, California is lucky to call the highly experienced Mussen their head brewer. Growing up in a small town in Southern California, with a German background, (and stating that Germany is where he first fell in love with beer), Manuel knew from a young age that he wanted a career that involved him working with his hands. He also admits he was a self proclaimed “science geek” who wanted to keep a strong alignment to science in whatever he did. The beer industry ended up being a perfect marriage for both.

You Have to Earn a Title

Like many others, Manuel started out as a homebrewer. In 2005 he went on to help at a friends business; Rock Bottom Brewery, and later graduated from Davis in 2010 with a Brewing Chemistry degree. St Austell brewery, in England, offered Manuel an internship where he spent his time producing cask ales. After that, he became head brewer at Nexus Brewery in Albuquerque New Mexico, which gave Manuel the experience he needed in dealing with the setup and startup of a brewery along with giving him the freedom to design and brew all kinds of tasty beers. When he moved back to California in 2014, his journey took him full circle as he became head brewer at Old Redwood. So yeah, this Sherpa knows his stuff!


All About Creation

So what’s so cool about being a head brewer? The creation! The Beer Sherpa says, “There’s a wonderful aspect of going from an idea in my head of what I’d like a beer to be like, and then getting to create that beer, realize those flavors and let others try it. When the beer turns out like I envisioned it’s a magical experience.” It tastes magical too Manuel, very magical.

Although Manuel finds himself sipping on lighter, more balanced brews like Czech Pilsners, he still loves a great IPA, and will travel far and wide to get ahold of some good beer. Having traveled to Europe a fair bit has allowed him to visit places like the Czech Republic, Bavaria, and Belgium specifically to try some suds. And as you can imagine even he says those spots “need another visit, (or 5).”

You’re In Good Hands

Old Redwood Brewing Company is in good hands when it comes to the legendary Beer Sherpa, Manuel Mussen. This hidden gem in Windsor takes its brewing seriously, and retains its enticing magic inside the beautifully crafted lagers and ales. What makes this place so special to someone like Manuel? “Being able to always create something new for our customers and being able to play around with new ingredients and ideas that make people say WOW!”

In fact, I bet the Beer Sherpa is conjuring up something new for us right now. So why are you still reading this? Get over to Old Redwood Brewing Company to grab yourself a cold one, and don’t forget to ask for The Beer Sherpa.

Don’t Miss The 12 Beers Of Christmas At Old Redwood Brewing Company!

Meet the Beer Sherpa, taste current beers on tap, and library beers only available to beer club members.

Get Your Tickets Here!

Nick Billings