ITK 10.17.19

Joe Utschig is from Wisconsin, Martha Getris-Utschig was raised in Salinas. They met at a dive bar on Cannery Row 26 years ago. After their son gifted them a brew kit four years ago, the couple started a home brewery in their garage. With retirement beckoning – Joe from a graphics firm, Martha from teaching at Salinas High School – they have no intention of slowing down. Instead, they plan to ramp up production and even open a taproom for Martha’s Hopyard beers.

Weekly: Your retirement plan is to start a business, isn’t that a bit strange?

Getris-Utschig: It’s a lot less work than teaching 120 kids a day. One day Joe said he wanted to expand the operation. I looked at him, his ’57 Chevy and the brewing equipment in the garage and I said “You want more beer stuff? Sell the car.” So he did. It’s a completely different adventure.

I see that you don’t make an IPA.

Utschig: Every time we go somewhere, there’s a very loud minority saying, “Oh you don’t have an IPA? Oh thank God!” Young people like high-alcohol beers. I brew some wicked high-alcohol stuff, but I don’t kill everything with hops like an IPA.

Any big accidents?

The Weekly is powered by the generosity of readers like you, who support our mission to produce engaging, independent and in-depth journalism.

Show Your Support
Learn More

Utschig: Our most popular beer right now is a saison that was actually a big screw-up. I put the sugar in the wrong batch. Everybody loves that one.

Do you ever just want a Bud Light?

Utschig: The most popular beer among brewers when nobody’s looking is Coors Light. I’m not ashamed. Light beers are the hardest to make; you can’t hide behind hops or a bad process. Hops is like cooking with bacon: put enough in and anything tastes good.

Become a Weekly Insider.

Join Us
Learn More

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.