Phil first became interested in becoming part of the craft beer world when he was living in San Francisco as a young man. He was introduced to some excellent imported beers, especially ones from Great Britain and Ireland. Later, he discovered that an American brewery, Anchor Steam, was producing beers of equal, if not better, quality. Not long afterwards Phil discovered the fine beers of Sierra Nevada. Finally, lo and behold, Phil’s buddy Tom Sheimo actually got a job at one of these new American start-up breweries! Tom was working at Hale’s Ales in Colville Washington as Mike Hale’s very first hire. Phil wanted to be part of that movement. Phil started working for Hale’s Colville brewery in 1985, two years after the brewery began.
Phil’s main athletic passion is tennis, but he also enjoys rollerblading and biking. He also likes to read, but finds himself enjoying books on tape quite often since he does a lot of driving. Phil also loves movies, live or recorded music, and working with the folks from the Moisture Festival (a live performance group that Hale’s Ales hosts every year in the Palladium- the space adjacent to the brewery).
Everyone at the brewery knows Phil as Phil, but back in the early days at Hale’s, he was known as “Filly Gumbo,” a nickname dubbed by his friend Tom Sheimo.
As someone who has spent a lot of time exploring microbrews prior to, and while working at, Hale’s Ales, Phil has really honed in on his tastes for beer. He enjoys big, complex American-made ESB types (like Hale’s Harvest Ale) because this style has a lot of everything going on- a big, complex malt character, big hops, and strong beer. He also enjoys double IPA’s (a bit more than Imperials) because he loves that hop character. Phil also enjoys the “perfect Pilsner,” which he considers very hard to find. He says that when they are made right though, they go down as “pleasantly as anything in the world.”
One of the funniest moments in Phil’s career happened years ago when he was making his last, weary keg delivery of the day to the Buckaroo Tavern in Fremont. When a man, likely the tenth person to have said this to him that day, said, “hey, you can put that in my car, it’s around back.” Phil replied, “I tell you what…you pick this keg up, put it on your shoulder, carry it out to your car, and you can have it.” Amazingly he proceeded to do just that, hoisting the full keg onto his shoulder and out to his car! Luckily, the gentleman cut Phil a break. They both had a good laugh.
Phil is excited to see the craft beer industry grow in so many healthy, interesting directions: big, small, barrels, cans. He says that it really has taken awhile, but he believes that as an industry, craft brewing has made it over the “hump.” Hale’s is no longer the “boutique” beer or the “micro” beer or the “when’s-this-fad-going-to-end” beer. Flavorful ales are the NORM now for the ever-growing legions of new American beer aficionados. Phil says, “It’s still fun to be a part of that movement, in all its facets.”