Brad Benson, 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 with an annual production of over 3500 bbl utilizing a 15 bbl brew-house. Following that experience, he was appointed Head Brewer at a 2000 bbl/year craft brewery that specialized in decoction brewing of German style wheat beers.
His most recent stint in professional brewing was as a 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 quality control tasting panel.
He is a member of: The Master Brewers Association of the Americas, Brewers Association and the American Society of Brewing Chemists. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has recognized him as a beer judge.
Lara Zahaba, Communications (married to Bradley T. 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. She continues to promote wine as head of Marketing and Communications for Epicurean Wines, an Australian wine importer.
Robyn Schumacher, 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’s dream. Now she gets to brew great beer in a community that loves their brewers.