Meet Kellye Robertson, our Head Brewer and craft beer enthusiast.
And recently, nominee for the prestigious 2023 Canadian Brewers Choice Awards: Brewer of the Year. The competition this year has been fierce and Kellye’s presence on the shortlist is a testament to the outstanding quality of her work in craft beer.
While she’s too modest to accept the title ‘Brewmaster’, she truly is a master of brews.
Kellye’s no stranger to awards and accolades for her awesomeness. In 2012, only a few months into her first year at Niagara College’s Brewmaster Program, Kellye won the Garrison Brewing Ultimate Brew-Off competition, beating 62 other entries.
Kellye was surprised and delighted. “There were some really avid home brewers, mostly guys, who have been doing this a long time,” she said.
Over the next 10 years, Kellye worked in prominent Nova Scotia craft breweries including Garrison Brewing, Spindrift, and Shipwright before captaining the craft beer ship at Good Robot.
In the spirit of the occasion, we asked Kellye a few questions to find out what makes her tick.
Question: What’s your proudest moment as a leader?
Kellye: Some of my proudest moments might not be the most glamorous but it’s been those production weeks where it’s the dead of summer, its 35 °C+ on the production floor, we had an insane amount of volume to be packaged/brewed, there are hundreds of details to keep straight to keep on track.
The margins for error are extremely high. Yet, Friday at 4pm rolls around and we’ve made it. The T’s have been crossed, the I’s have been dotted and now the team is sitting outside sharing some laughs over a few pints. Those moments are worth everything. They are my benchmark as a teammate and, more importantly, as a leader.
Q: What’s the beer you’ve made that you’re proudest of?
Kellye: As many brewers would say, this question is difficult. How do I narrow it down to just one (hah)? There is one experimental style I did a few years ago on a Schwarzbier that ended up being barrel-aged on cherries that ended up being one of the most complex beers I ever made. It took a lot of time and maintenance making sure the ageing process of this beer did not take a turn I didn’t want (i.e. spoilage). This beer made me the most proud because it put me the most outside my technical comfort zone.
Q: What is your favourite Good Robot beer and why?
Kellye: My favourite beer is Good Robot Lager. Understanding what makes a great lager (this one aiming to be closely representative of a Helles Lager) is something I feel I could spend my entire career continually learning. Recipe development, yeast selection and cellar management are just a few of the key elements… There is limitless research and trialling to constantly make improvements to a style that may seem so simple, yet it requires such detail-oriented observation. It is a style that pushes me to never stop learning and even after all these years still fascinates me, like I’m at my first day of beer school.
Q: On Monday mornings when you wake up, what propels you to stay in this industry?
Kellye: 100%, it is the people. Beer is beer, I enjoy making it, I enjoy drinking it. At the end of the day, it’s what making beer and drinking beer do best, it brings people together. To make great beers is no small feat, it takes a team of passionate individuals that want to make every step of that beer’s journey from grain to glass as detailed and purposeful as possible. That is not an easy thing to ask. Yet over all the years I’ve been in this industry, I have had the privilege to work with so many people that have the perseverance to keep pushing boundaries. The people have always been and will continue to be my motivator to show up on that production floor and do my best.
We are so proud of Kellye’s leadership, tenacity, attention to detail, care for her team, and more. But why gush when we could toast?
Cheers, Kellye. Nova Scotia and craft beer are lucky to have you.