Keith has been in and around Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub since he was 12 years old- he even remembers helping remodel the Hale’s kitchen at 14! This is because his dad, Simon Neale, was a producer of the original Moisture Festival troupe, the group of performers that hold an annual show (skits, acrobatics, juggling, comedy, etc) in the Hale’s Palladium, the venue attached to the brewery.
Simon has since stepped away from planning in order to enjoy more of the performance aspects of his job, but he remains active as an MC and as a performer in the occasional burlesque or skit show. Needless to say, Keith eventually followed in his dad’s footsteps by finding work at Hale’s, but rather than work as a performer in the palladium, Keith decided to go down a different avenue by securing a position as a server in the pub. Keith has been employed since December of 2007, working at first as a busser solely on the weekends, but eventually serving and working full-time in June of 2008. Now, Keith sees the Moisture Festival from a different perspective- he says that some of the most fun, rewarding moments working in the pub at Hale’s are during these events. This is because there is a consistently high volume of customers, which tests his limits as an individual and challenges the servers as a team. Working these events helps the servers find out where they are weak so that they can later improve and work together even more strongly.
Keith has had many a nickname by the good graces of the kitchen: ‘Lamb Chop,’ because he used to have chop-like sideburns that came halfway down his cheeks, ‘Baby Face,’ once he shaved,’ and, last but not least, ‘Rocket Man.’
The latter came about once his coworkers learned that Keith went to the University of Washington for aerospace engineering. Keith says that working at Hale’s Ales helped him pay his way through school. Currently, Keith is considering a few options for his future, including becoming commissioned in the Air Force as an officer. He says the Airforce would be an excellent choice since he could then receive training for space systems operations or future technology development as this branch of the military runs and mitigates these operations in space on behalf of the U.S. He likes airplanes, but as his nickname might indicate, he would definitely prefer to work on space shuttles. In fact, one of Keith’s most memorable classes at UW was one in which the students focused on orbital debris elimination. In this class, Keith designed a spacecraft that would be able to locate, secure, and remove orbital debris using structural and budgeting considerations, as well as tangibility and risk assessments.
In his free time, Keith enjoys reading science fiction novels or watching Sci Fi movies or television series. He is a self-described ‘Trekky,’ and remembers watching Next Generation from the time he was 5 years old with his grandfather. Another trait that characterizes Keith is his love for historical fencing, particularly the historical French Foil, which focuses on pre-20th century treatises. Keith says that modern fencing is more of an athletic sport and game, which focuses on the agility and the athleticism of the opponent as opposed to the science and art of the fencing. He was first introduced to fencing in his sophomore year at UW, but found that he really enjoyed it and has thus continued to take lessons. And, of course, Keith is also a fan of craft beer…
Amongst Keith’s favorite beers is the cask-conditioned Hale’s Supergoose IPA because, at its core, Keith finds that he just loves IPAs and finds that cask-conditioning brings out the flavor of an ale while lowering the intensity. This is a love he shares with Mike Hale, who drew inspiration for his brewery from sampling many a delicious, cask-conditioned, English-style ale.