Zach Rosen is a beer writer, educator, and event designer based out of Santa Barbara. He grew up living and working in the Antelope Valley in his family’s art studio that included a silk-screen shop, paper mill, and mixed-media cold casting operations where he helped produce and sell greeting cards and paper-plaster mild relief sculptures for most of his childhood. UCSB brought him out to Santa Barbara in 2005. He worked at the historic Dutch Garden Restaurant for over ten years where he received first hand experience tasting and serving the classical beers and styles of Europe (he also learned how to sling some mean schnitzel). On the day of his 22nd birthday he passed the rigorous Cert. Cicerone exam, the equivalent of a wine Sommelier, becoming the youngest in the world at the time to have passed the exam. Since then he has become a specialist in abstract beer pairing, using beer flavor to express and enhance music, cinema, and art. This work has ranged in size from small bar events to full beer festivals (to Zach just randomly pulling out beer and calling it an impromptu pairing).
For these brewtique festivals and events, Zach will work one-on-one with nonprofits and brewers to design events that are self-definitive and seek to enhance the culture of Santa Barbara. These experiences entertain guests with a multi-sensory program that explores cross-modal perception (with a pedagogical undertone) served alongside unique beers that have incorporated such experimental ingredients as seaweed, dragon fruit, and crickets (and some of them have even tasted okay). A few of these projects include the Santa Barbara Beer Garden, which pairs unique beers with different sections of the garden, live music, and food. Now in its fifth year this festival has become the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s signature fundraising event. ShakeSBeer brought a twenty person cast, four ballerinas, and a live band playing Elizabethan fusion into the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. The range of performances, from full scenes to monologues, were paired with fifteen beers crafted to reflect different Shakespearean characters and themes. Anchor & Ales was a pop-up exhibit held at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Temporary exhibit displays were designed and integrated into the existing museum exhibits to tell a story about beer and water, detailing everything from beer’s maritime history to water chemistry in brewing, and of course, the displays were paired with unique beers. Over the years these different festivals and projects have sought to explore how we experience beer while telling a story about beer’s place in our civilization.
As “The Beer Guy” in the Santa Barbara Sentinel, Zach has followed and detailed the Santa Barbara beer scene for years. Zach also writes the “Creative Characters” column that profiles different artists and has contributed to other local and national publications including Beer Advocate, All About Beer Magazine, EdibleSB, and the Montecito Journal. Zach remains an avid beer educator and speaker. He has taught classes and courses that have ranged from speaking at bars, breweries, and supermarkets to full scale lectures at conferences, museums, and colleges (to just talking too much to people at parties about beer). He has also consulted with startups, restaurants, and breweries, assisting with beer programs, menu design, and branding. Zach is a Board Member of the local nonprofit art collaborative, Fishbon, and on paper holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of North Dakota, is a Micromatic Dispense Specialist’s Program graduate, and has AHLA certificates in hospitality management, marketing, and food operations.
As an SBCAST resident, Zach is currently launching a new company, Beeroretical Technologies, that is focused on advancing the beer drinking experience. This includes developing a series of Interactive Beer Objects that fuse technology with the environment around beer to form new expressions of the drinking experience. By integrating electronics into objects like coasters, glassware, and chairs, Zach is crafting objets d’art that will facilitate multi-sensory pairings and allow him to achieve new forms of expression. It is also just a way for him to play with robotics, origami, and fun stuff. After all it is just beer.