Rocket Man

Phil Csik, the Rocket Man

Tell us who you are.

I was born in Garden Grove and my Dad was in the military – my childhood was basically an adventure across the US.  I’ve worked on energetic & propulsion systems since 1979.  I’ve been married for 33 years and my wife & I have 2 now-adult children.  We moved up to Sacramento 20 years ago and enjoy living out in the country with our animals.

What got you into craft beer?

About 8 years ago my wife gave me a home-brew kit and some brewing equipment for Christmas… that’s all it took! I became fascinated with the science behind the art of making beer; along the way I branched out into Cider and Mead making.  Later experience as a nationally-ranked BJCP Beer & Mead judge honed my sensory perceptiveness, and several trips throughout Europe visiting historic breweries have contributed exposure to appellation and regionally specific styles - all of which increased an appreciation for outstanding Craft Beer.

How do you perceive the Sacramento beer scene?

It’s experienced enormous growth over the last 5-years alone, I think due to quality, style diversity, affordability and locale convenience.  It reminds me of the small villages of Germany and Belgium dotted with cozy neighborhood micro-breweries where friends & family gather, and the Brewers are open and accessible.

How long have you been coming to Device?

My first experience at Device was a tap-takeover with Greenbelt Brewers Association in early 2014. Ken Anthony – the Brewer/Owner was on-hand to describe his fledgling operation, and each of the beers revealed exceptional quality and style accuracy.  I stop by Device several times a month to see what’s on the board and sample the variety of beer on tap, and talk rocket science with co-workers.

Why Device?

Every beer at Device reflects attention to ingredients and process execution, plus there’s a large variety of rotating styles – hallmarks of a successful brewery.  The Staff is great and the atmosphere is warm.  There’s an underlying consistency-of-purpose which I’m drawn to.

What's your favorite beer at Device?

The Pincushion Pilsner is an epitome.  It’s a real challenge to make an exceptional light lager because the longer fermentation ties up equipment and there’s no place for a fault to hide.  Device consistently pulls off their Pilsner with beautiful clarity and it showcases the German barley and Noble hop characteristics just like the heritage Bavarians.  It’s also modest in alcohol content - an “easy drinker”.  I also enjoy the Marzen and the Belgians (when they’re available!)

What is your most memorable experience at Device?

I won a homebrew competition sponsored by Device soon after they opened, which afforded a rare opportunity to assist in brewing my entry, a Belgian Strong Ale called “Blonde Ambition”.  This was a real honor, even as it meant arriving at 5am to start the mash.  During another competition, my Belgian Dubbel won best-in-Style and was also selected as a Device recipe - now called “Double You”, so I had another fun brewday at Device.

Any last thoughts or stories you'd like to share?

Device has never lost its focus on making finely crafted beer, and the brewing passion is contagious – Ken Anthony makes himself available to all his customers and shares willingly.  I believe this kind of personality is important in a craft brewery because it maintains an essential human contact.  I think this will continue to propel Device along their growth trajectory!