"Two thirsty science nerds and a curious connoisseur walk in to a brew pub… Okay, so it wasn’t quite like that, but it might as well have been."
Stoup Brewing is a long held dream of Brad Benson and Lara Zahaba – two hopeless drink and chow hounds. That the two found each other twenty years ago seems fated – Brad, a scientist to the very last DNA strand, would proffer a hypothesis based on proximity and human nature, we’re sure (ahem). Whatever your take, the takeaway is this: Brad loves beer and has been a loyal student, courter, and crafter for years that number beyond his fingers and toes. Lara loves all things gastro – from a savory plate to a smart pour. The pair, professionally and recreationally, have spent the better part of their hours improving their palate’s quality of life. It was only a matter of time before they ponied up and joined the community of talented purveyors.
Enter, Robyn Schumacher – friend, teacher and self-professed beer geek graduated Cicerone. She had the same dream. Fitting that Robyn’s infatuation with beer bloomed under the tutelage of a Biology degree. Robyn’s regard for all things hop and malt only deepened while her teaching career flourished. Brewing in her spare time was the final hook. Call it what you will – the stars aligning, simultaneous fermentation – Stoup Brewing was born. We’re thrilled to be a part of Seattle’s burgeoning craft beer community in Ballard’s Brewing District.
Head Brewer and Director of Brewing Operations
Brad graduated from Gonzaga University with a B.S. in Chemistry and has been crafting beer for more than 20 years. Professionally, he has brewed for both established breweries and start-up operations.
His background includes brewing at a high volume brewpub. Following that experience, he was appointed Head Brewer at a packaging brewery that specialized in decoction brewing of German style wheat beers.
He then went on to become a brewing consultant and Head Brewer of a start-up. In this position he was responsible for recipe formulation, production and packaging. He also initiated and structured the brewery’s laboratory and sensory panel.
He is a member of: The Master Brewers Association of the Americas, Brewers Association and the American Society of Brewing Chemists. He has been recognized byThe Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) as a beer judge.
Communications (married to Brad Benson)
Lara’s love of beer flows directly from her love of all things gastronomic. An 18-year veteran of the wine industry, she has been at the Marketing, PR and Education helm of both Italian and Australian wine import companies. For Lara, it’s not about apples and oranges where grapes and hops are concerned.
In the years that she and Brad have been together, it seems that every vacation has turned into a beer vacation and she’s indulged in Germany, Austria, England, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, Australia …. cities like Prague and Budapest and of course, throughout the U.S.
Lara’s formal education includes a B.A. in English and she has garnered, “The Higher Certificate” from the Master of Wine Program.
Brewer / Cicerone
Robyn’s beer journey started with her first, glorious sip of craft brewed Hefeweizen while studying biology in Helena, Montana. (Truthfully, it started earlier than that, but the thin, yellow stuff pumped from warm kegs at parties in the woods can hardly be called beer.) She’s not sure if the clean, crisp Montana air had anything to do with the near religious experience she had with that first pint of Hefeweizen, but she is sure that the beer seed was planted right then and there and would follow her for the rest of her life.
Stoup Brewing melds Robyn’s two great loves; beer and science. After 13 years of teaching, she decided that the beer industry was just too alluring to ignore. In a reversal of roles, Robyn hit the books and immersed herself in the brewing community. She attended the Master Brewers Association conference, interned at a local brewery, managed the beer program at a Seattle eatery, and prepped for the Cicerone Certification Exam. In 2012, Robyn passed the exam and became Washington State’s first female Cicerone.
Opening her own brewery has been Robyn’s dream for many years. Coincidentally it was also Brad & Lara’s dream. Now she gets to brew great beer in a community that loves their brewers.
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