Speaker Bios

  • April 2017 – Merlin Ward of Wartega comes from entrepreneurship and marketing backgrounds. He has a creative passion for brewing, cooking and baking, so it was inevitable that those passions and expertise would eventually become his next venture together with his partner Mimi Ortega.  After only two years brewing, Merlin knew he wanted to start a brewery. It took three more years of planning, testing, saving, and drinking before it came to fruition. Along the way Merlin became a Certified Cicerone® and Recognized BJCP Judge to build a deeper understanding of classic styles and food pairings.  Being a radical German, Merlin had trouble sticking to the Reinheitsgebot in his brewing.  While he loved and appreciated traditional styles, he constantly explored unique adjuncts, pulling from ancient beer recipes and different cultures from around the world. Combining the culinary, historical and cultural ingredients became the basis for Wartega beers.
  • January 2017 – Dan Jansen traveled from Missouri to Long Island to take his dream job as Brewmaster of Blue Point Brewing Company.  In this role, Jansen marries his 11 years of large-scale brewing industry experience with the creativity from his home-brewing roots.  After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University and an MBA from St. Louis University, he continues to learn each day through experimentation at Blue Point.  Jansen believes that some of the best beers have the best stories and plans on expanding Blue Point’s lineup with beers that tell its story.