The Aeronaut Team: Matt

This is the third post in a five-part series on the people who make up Aeronaut Brewing Company. Here, we introduce the quirky characters who envisioned this brewery and urban farmhouse, and are now making it a reality.

Meet Matt Paonessa, one of our talented brewers here at Aeronaut. We asked Matt to share the experience of his beer journey with us. So read on fellow beer lovers to meet one of the makers of your favorite beers!

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When you’re in college and you tell someone that you’re any sort of humanities major, the expected response is “Oh! How are you enjoying working at Starbucks?” That’s exactly what I was doing when I brewed my first homebrew.

I had first learned how to taste when I worked in coffee. I also discovered that I loved learning how things work and how to do things. This fortuitously corresponded with a time where my taste in beer began to very rapidly expand beyond Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada flagship beers. Entrenched in the DIY ethos and beginning to fall in love with craft beer, I bought every single homebrewing publication I could get my hands on. I read for hours every day and researched how to build my own makeshift homebrewing equipment. It wouldn’t be long before I was brewing beer every weekend on my stove top, and shortly thereafter on a turkey fryer in the driveway.

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The marriage of barley and hops quickly overtook me. This was my calling. I emailed every brewery in Connecticut (which wasn’t many, at the time) asking to volunteer to do grunt work, if just to get my foot in the door. And after doing just that, I was offered a part-time job not six months later. Then shortly after, as fortune often favors the resolute, I was offered an assistant brewer position where I began to sponge up every bit of knowledge I possibly could. It wouldn’t be long before I could drop the “assistant” from my title.

In this time I discovered that the two most interesting things to me about brewing are the microbiology and history. The rich and vibrant history of brewing has always and continues to inspire me. The domestication of brewers yeast and it’s applications astonishes me and the domestication of newly discovered and wild yeast drives me. It is by no coincidence that I found myself being the liason between Aeronaut Labs and the production staff in matters of quality assurance and control, and as brewery-wide yeast manager and barrel-aged beer program leader.

As I continue to adapt to the ever-shifting niches of the modern brewer, so too do I wish to help lead Aeronaut along the path of discovery, innovation, and quality. With a passion for classic styles and an excitement for those new do I continue to look back to the past for a taste of the future.

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– Matt Paonessa

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