Chad Henderson told the audience at TEDxCharlotte about his typical work day. He starts at 4 a.m. and by 4:30 a.m. he’s already sweating, running numbers in his head about temperature and ingredients while carrying heavy bags and hops. The man is non-stop, and all before 6 a.m.
But all Henderson can think is, “God, I’m living the dream.”
His passion for craft beer became his career and never feels like a job.
“When you’re a kid, you dream about things that don’t make sense,” said Henderson. “That wonderment comes with a blind hope and faith. You don’t know how you’re going to get there.”
At first, Henderson didn’t know what he wanted to do with his own life. He initially went into the medical industry, but right before graduating, he discovered a community and culture of craft beer. To him, beer had stories, not just the the mass produced appeal of drinking one while watching the Super Bowl.
He then started making his own beer, going to festivals and expanding his network of beer lovers and those within the industry. He hosted tastings, pairings and festivals. Restaurant owners and managers he met helped him learn about the industry even more — including when he met Todd & Suzie Ford at a local watering hole in Charlotte. They kept running into each other in Charlotte and when the Fords were looking for a head brewer for NoDa Brewery, Chad’s name kept coming up. He eventually got his dream job.
He did every dirty job under the sun to help get the brewery off the ground, including fixing pipes from the 1940s. He was willing to work hard.
What makes a true craft beer is not how much you brew but how every sip you have you can taste the full intent of the brewer. You “drink” the brewer, said Henderson.
About Chad Henderson
Chad Henderson is head brewer at NoDa Brewing Company. His adventures in home brewing took him from a hobby to career in beer. Until he was brought on board with NoDa Brewing, his professional career was in the medical industry. He holds degrees in Psychology, Biology and Physiology from Appalachian State. Follow Chad on Twitter to keep up with his brewing adventures and get “NoDafied” each week with the NoDable series videos where he shares with us the limited release brews. Follow NoDa Brewing on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their craft brews.
This post was written by feature writer, Kseniya Martin.