The folks who bring Free State beers to your neighborhood.
Back row, left to right: Rick Berger-Munson, Luke Otter, Lucas Hachmeister, Patrick Raasch, Dave Leff, TJ Campsey, Steve Bradt
Front row: Matt Luna, Seth Sanchez, Maisie French, Brad Scott, Chuck Magerl, Ronnie Fink
When it comes to his love for beer, Chuck Magerl comes by it honestly. You see, many years before Chuck founded Free State Brewing Company, his grandfather was getting into the business himself – an act that was highly illegal during the height of Prohibition, and leading to a stint in Leavenworth.
And while you may think that breaking even the stupidest, most controversial laws may be wrong, you can’t help but admire the passion. And that same passion, passed down two generations, is what drove Chuck to change the laws in Topeka, and open the first brewery in Kansas in over a century.
But don’t worry – Free State wasn’t founded on passion alone. Chuck's background in biology, engineering and history is the foundation of the brewery, and he remains an avid student of all things beer.
Today, Chuck can be found roaming the halls of the brewpub or the bottling facility, making sure his passion and knowledge come through in every pint served at the bar and bottle shipped to your local liquor store. If you see him, say hi. Because after all, good beer and good conversation are what Free State is all about.
Let's Talk Episodes:
Head of Brewing and Bottling
Meet Steve. He’s our Brewmaster, and he’s been hangin’ around since 1989, when he took the role as our first full-time Assistant Brewer.
If you talk to Steve for even a few minutes, it becomes obvious how he’s managed to thrive. He’s clearly one sharp guy, especially when it comes to life science, history and all things mechanical. This, combined with his tireless study and refinement of the brewing process, makes him quite useful to have in your corner.
Steve has been a judge at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup, and he holds the rank of National Judge with the Beer Judge Certification Program. He’s also on the Board of Directors of the Brewers Association and serves on their Events Committee, which plans the Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup and the Craft Brewer’s Conference. Steve is also the President of the Kansas Craft Brewers Guild.
There’s a rumor going around that he also sleeps from time to time, but we’re not sure we believe it.
Let's Talk Episodes:
Head of Downtown Brewing
Geoff may have been born in Iola, KS, but he was raised right here in Lawrence, graduating from Lawrence High in ’90 (while holding down a summer job busing tables at the brewery) and the University of Kansas in ’95. After getting his degree in Art History (a lot of good that did him) Geoff took off for Seattle to pursue a career in brewing.
After stints at Maritime Pacific Brewing Co., Liberty Malt Supply, Pyramid Breweries and Pike Brewing Co., Geoff was experienced in Seattle beer circles. But after seven years out west, he knew it was time to come back to the Free State – and that’s just what he did.
Since signing on as a Brewer in 2002, Geoff has continued to master his craft under the direction of our Head Brewer, Steve Bradt. He’s won some awards,* been invited to judge some pretty prestigious events** and even took over as the Big Kahuna at our downtown brewery in 2009. Geoff was also a contributing writer to The Oxford Companion to Beer.
Yep – he’s come a pretty long way since that summer busing tables back in the day, and we’re proud as can be to call him a Free Stater.
The 2006 William A. Hipp Scholarship recipient at the Master Brewers Association of America’s (MBAA) Concise Course in Brewing and Malting Science.
Passed the Institute for Brewing and Distilling’s General Certification in Brewing with distinction in 2008.
Geoff has thrice been invited to judge at the Great American Beer Festival, the nation’s largest and most prestigious beer festival and competion, and also at the World Beer Cup.