Meet Your Maker
Old Saint Francis School
Michael "Curly" White runs the show at the brewery in the Old St. Francis School in Bend, Oregon. He has been part of the production staff since April 2004. Before making the move to the brewing department, Curly served as a pubster, bartender, and manger at many different properties. It was Oregon's amazing beer scene in the 90's that cultivated a growing interest in this industry. He moved to Salem from Southern California to attend Willamette University. With a friend conveniently living behind the Thompson Brewery, Curly went about educating and refining his palate one mason jar full of beer at a time. Falling hard for the craft beer movement, he eventually joined the McMenamins workforce. He remembers the shocking revelation in his transition from home brewing 5 gallon batches to the demands placed when producing the larger commercial batches. Be ready to sweat; Curly lost 20 lbs. the first few months because of the physicality of the job.
The best advice Curly received was that mistakes will happen during a brew. Finding the solution in a timely manner is what makes a good brewer. Learning from that mistake and incorporating the solution is what makes a great brewer. This philosophy has led to much personal success in the field. In 2010, OSF had some visitors from Ireland; Curly created Immigrant Irish Red especially for them and it generated rave reviews. He ended up entering it into Thompson's Annual Barley Cup competition and walked away with 1st place. The creative aspects of brewing drive him, and with every brew, he feels as if he offers a part of himself to the beer. This personal investment in each batch, hopefully, makes that beer more enjoyable to the customer. Knowing that the possibilities in brewing are endless, Curly is inspired to look at the process with an open eye towards new ingredients, techniques and styles. When the beer is not enough motivation, he looks to his daughter Ava Jean. Wanting to show that life is for fun and enjoyment first and foremost, she always reminds him to put his best foot forward in everything. At the end of a long brew, it's AJ's inspiration that reminds Curly that, simply, brewing is meant to be fun.