Greg Engert | Vermilion

Greg Engert

Beer Director


AS THE BEER DIRECTOR FOR NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT GROUP, GREG ENGERT DRAWS ON HIS EXTENSIVE BEER KNOWLEDGE TO SOURCE BEERS FOR THE COMPANY’S 19 CONCEPTS INCLUDING BIRCH
& BARLEY, CHURCHKEY, RED APRON & THE PARTISAN, IRON GATE, COLUMBIA FIREHOUSE, EVENING STAR, AND RUSTICO AS WELL AS PLANET WINE AND MORE. TO CREATE UNPARALLELED SELECTIONS, ENGERT SOURCES FROM BOTH WIDELY AND LITTLE KNOWN BREWERIES AROUND THE GLOBE TO FIND THE BEST BEERS AVAILABLE. HE ALSO DRAWS ON HIS OWN FORMULA OF BEER “FLAVOR PROFILES” – CRISP, HOP, MALT, ROAST, SMOKE, AND FRUIT & SPICE – TO INFLUENCE ALL ASPECTS OF HIS WORK FROM MENUS AND FOOD PAIRINGS TO BEER CLASSES AND BREWERY DINNERS.

RECOGNIZED FOR HIS WORK, ENGERT WAS A SEMI-FINALIST IN FEBRUARY 2012 FOR THE JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION FOR “OUTSTANDING WINE & SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL.” IN APRIL 2010, FOOD & WINE NAMED ENGERT ONE OF ITS “SOMMELIERS OF THE YEAR,” THE FIRST TIME THE PUBLICATION RECOGNIZED A BEER PROFESSIONAL FOR THIS HONOR. HE WAS ALSO SELECTED TO RECEIVE A STARCHEFS RISING STAR AWARD IN 2010, MAKING HIM THE FIRST BEER PROFESSIONAL TO RECEIVE THEIR SOMMELIER HONOR. IN 2014, GREG ENGERT WAS NAMED “BEER PERSON OF THE YEAR” IN THE ANNUAL IMBIBE 75 ISSUE.

ENGERT HAS ALSO BEEN FEATURED IN SOME OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS MEDIA OUTLETS IN THE COUNTRY INCLUDING THE NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, FOOD & WINE, FOOD ARTS, THE WASHINGTON POST, WASHINGTONIAN, MEN’S HEALTH, SLATE, BEER ADVOCATE, IMBIBE, DRAFT AND MID-ATLANTIC BREWING NEWS AND APPEARED ON NATIONAL TELEVISION AND RADIO PROGRAMS SUCH AS COOKING CHANNEL’S FOODOGRAPHY AND SPLENDID TABLE.

ENGERT’S APPRECIATION FOR CRAFT BEER BEGAN AT A YOUNG AGE. THE EARLIEST INFLUENCE WAS HIS FATHER WHO SUPPORTED THEN LITTLE-KNOWN MICROBREWERIES, SUCH AS SAMUEL ADAMS AND SARANAC, AND MADE A LASTING IMPRESSION ON HIS SON. WHILE IN COLLEGE AT MIDDLEBURY IN VERMONT, ENGERT GREW INTERESTED IN LOCAL NEW ENGLAND CRAFT BEERS FROM OTTER CREEK AND LONG TRAIL, AND FREQUENTED VERMONT PUB AND BREWERY, WHICH IS TODAY, ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNIZED BREWPUBS IN THE COUNTRY. WHILE STUDYING ABROAD IN MUNICH AND DUBLIN, HE CEMENTED HIS PASSION FOR INTERNATIONAL BEER STYLES, THE BREWING PROCESS, AND THE HISTORY OF CRAFT BEER. SOON AFTER ENGERT ENROLLED IN GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY TO PURSUE A GRADUATE DEGREE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE, HE OFCIALLY ENTERED THE BEER INDUSTRY AT THE VENERABLE BRICKSKELLER IN WASHINGTON DC, WHERE ENGERT QUICKLY ROSE TO MANAGER, AND FOCUSED ON DEVELOPING BOTH HIS BEER KNOWLEDGE AND PALATE.
IN 2006, ENGERT SIGNED ON AS THE BEER DIRECTOR AT BEER-CENTRIC RESTAURANT RUSTICO IN ALEXANDRIA, AND WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE TEAM BUILD A STRONG SELECTION OF CRAFT BEERS THAT WOULD BOTH EDUCATE AND APPEASE EVERY TYPE OF BEER DRINKER. IT WAS AT RUSTICO, HE ALSO BEGAN TO EXAMINE HOW FOOD AND BEER FLAVORS FIT TOGETHER.

THREE YEARS LATER, ENGERT EXPANDED HIS POSITION TO BEER DIRECTOR FOR ALL OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT GROUP AND PLAYED AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN THE OPENING OF BIRCH & BARLEY AND CHURCHKEY. THIS RESTAURANT AND BEER CONCEPT INCLUDES A GROUND-BREAKING LIST OF 555 BEERS, AND HAS ELEVATED THE NOTION OF PAIRING REFINED COOKING WITH EXCELLENT BEER. AT BIRCH & BARLEY AND CHURCHKEY, ENGERT MANAGES A RANGE OF BEER-FOCUSED EVENTS, AS WELL AS THE ROTATING SELECTION OF 500 BOTTLES, 50 DRAFTS AND FIVE CASK-CONDITIONED ALES. ENGERT ALSO HELPED BUILD THE PROGRAM’S UNWAVERING ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND SERVICE, WHICH INCLUDES PRECISE TEMPERATURE CONTROL AND PROPER GLASSWARE FOR EVERY BEER. HIS WORK HAS HELPED EARN CHURCHKEY NOTORIETY AS A TOP BEER DESTINATION IN WASHINGTON, DC, AND NUMEROUS RECOGNITIONS FROM INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS. IN 2010, THE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION OF METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON AWARDED CHURCHKEY THE RAMMY AWARD FOR “HOTTEST BAR SCENE OF THE YEAR.” IN 2014, CHURCHKEY WAS NAMED ONE OF THE TOP BEER BARS IN AMERICAN BY DRAFT MAGAZINE.

IN OCTOBER OF 2013, ENGERT ALONG WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT GROUP, OPENED THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED BOUTIQUE BREWERY BLUEJACKET IN A HISTORIC BOILERMAKER FACTORY IN WASHINGTON, D.C’S NAVY YARD. ENGERT ALONG WITH THE BREWING TEAM AT BLUEJACKET CREATES BEERS ACROSS THE BROADEST RANGE OF STYLES AND FLAVORS POSSIBLE. AT BLUEJACKET UNDERSTANDING OF AND RESPECT FOR THE TRADITIONS AND TECHNIQUES OF CLASSIC BREWING COEXIST WITH A SPIRIT OF CONSTANT EXPERIMENTATION, INNOVATION, AND COLLABORATION, LEADING TO DELICIOUS BEERS THAT SHOWCASE SEASONALITY, CULINARY INSPIRATION AND HISTORIC INTERPRETATION. ENGERT DRAWS ON HIS DECADE OF EXPERIENE IN THE CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY TO DREAM UP NEW AND INNOVATIVE BEERS AVAILABLE NOW ON THEIR 20 DRAFT LINES AND 5 CASK LINES AT THE ARSENAL BAR AND RESTAURANT AT BLUEJACKET. HAND BOTTLING AND DISTRIBUTION OF THESE FINE ALES WILL BE COMING LATER IN 2014.

ENGERT HAS ALSO APPEARED AND DELIVERED PRESENTATIONS AT NOTABLE TRADE GATHERINGS SUCH AS THE STAR CHEFS INTERNATIONAL CHEFS CONGRESS IN NEW YORK CITY, THE GREAT AMERICAN BEER FEST, THE NATIONAL BEER WHOLESALERS ASSOCIATION’S NATIONAL CONFERENCE, ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL, TERRAVITA AND AT THE POPULAR SAVOR: AN AMERICAN CRAFT BEER & FOOD EXPERIENCE. HE HAS DELIVERED SERIES OF BEER AND FOOD PAIRING LECTURES FOR SARATOGA BEER WEEK AND ASHEVILLE BEER WEEK, AS WELL AS AT SEVERAL CENTRAL MARKET LOCATIONS IN TEXAS. ENGERT SERVES ON THE BEER COMMITTEE FOR THE GOOD FOOD AWARDS, WHICH RECOGNIZES ARTISANAL PRODUCERS WHO DEMONSTRATE DEDICATION TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND THEIR COMMUNITIES. HE ALSO CONTRIBUTES REGULARLY TO PUBLICATIONS SUCH AS FIRST WE FEAST AND LOCALE PALATE.

“MY INITIAL AND STILL ABIDING LOVE FOR BEER WAS USING IT AS A JUMPING OFF POINT FOR EVERYTHING ELSE THAT'S GOING ON. FOR ME, THE NIGHTS I FELL IN LOVE WITH BEER INVOLVED DRINKING BOTTLES OF BEER WITH FRIENDS AND TALKING ABOUT THEM.”