We sat down with Jared Kuenstler, Packaging Operator extraordinaire, to learn a little bit more about what he wakes up for. Jared is an essential part of Team Danger and we are thankful for every single day that he comes to work with us. Here’s a little more about him!
What do you do here?
I work in packaging. My roll, in a nutshell, is to get beer into cans and kegs in a sanitary and cleanly fashion. As the operation has been growing, we’ve been paying more and more attention to the finer details of packaging; speeding things up, slowing things down, using this instead of that, replace this, zip tie that… It’s ever-evolving. It gives the opportunity to brainstorm and problem solve which makes the job feel like more than just catching cans and wrapping pallets. But then some days all you wanna do is catch cans and that’s okay too.
How long have you been working with us?
I think I came around the end of April last year. Pert near a year now.
Why were you interested in working for Castle Danger?
Long before the law said I was able to, I’ve been a beer enthusiast. Used to be more for the effects than for the flavor but I’ve since found a really nice balance between the two. Got into home-brewing in 2013. (I remember the year because it was my best year-to-date.) Never really figured out ‘the thing’ I wanted to do career-wise but since having gotten into brewing, I’d had a tiny little seed of brewing ambition nestled in my brain. I paid little attention to it for the next few years until I moved (from Olney, Illinois) to Duluth. Breweries and beer culture everywhere. That little seed started to sprout some roots. Got a job refinishing wood floors but kept an eye open for a possible foot-in-the-door situation. And then I found one at Castle Danger. And there ya have it!
What is your favorite part about your job?
I’ve worked in a number of, in my opinion, crummy work environments with bad attitudes, low morale and personalities that conflicted with mine. I just simply don’t have that here. Everyone is great. Working with good, decent human beings goes a long way in my book. The challenge is to not get spoiled and start taking it for granted.
What is your favorite Castle Danger beer? What is your favorite beer outside of Castle Danger?
There is the right occasion for everything we offer, but if we’re talking flagships, I always grab an Ode IPA or a 17-7 Pale Ale. Before I worked here I was solely and 17-7’er but since, I’ve found a little nook in my heart for Ode as well. Once this craziness (COVID-19 pandemic) has passed I hope to get into Joel’s Rose Hibiscus Blonde from the taproom. I got to have a pint already but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Outside of Castle Danger….
The beer that overall took me away from light lagers of my youth was Sierra Nevada. It seems so mild now but back then it was a flavor explosion like I’d never had. And it’s simply that I shared that milestone with Sierra Nevada that makes it my go-to comfort beer. Also my ‘can’t make a decision’ beer.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
I play music and write songs. That’s where most of my energy is put towards.
I’ve been doing some woodworking craft stuff, lately.
I read a fair amount. Steinbeck is my favorite.
I like mushroom hunting. Fascinated by them and love eating them but it’s mostly just the walking in the woods that I like. I miss the morels of Southern Illinois.
I have a hard time getting myself to do it but I love the rewards of exercise.
I love sitting in a Sauna and doing the back and forth cold-hot thing.
I like being up early. Steinbeck said “Thoughts are deep and slow and golden in the morning.” And it’s true.
Sitting by fires.
All the North Shore stuff.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten for breakfast that is not a breakfast food?
Did you ever wonder why breakfast has its own food? While I do in fact love the whole gambit of breakfast food, it’s always seemed strange that any food couldn’t just be breakfast food. What I’m saying is that if I had leftovers from last nights dinner, I’m not above calling that this morning’s breakfast.
Lasagna? Ribs? Tuna salad? Quesadilla? Chowder? Bring it on rooster!
What is your favorite TV show?
Oh boy. I don’t know if I can do this. In this golden age of television we’re living in that’s a hard one. I guess a big one for me was Game of Thrones though, I’m a bit of a Game of Thrones nerd and was thoroughly displeased with its conclusion. I can only hope the remaining books will set things right. I’m a frequent re-visitor of things line the Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Arrested Development and things like that. I also frequently get sucked into true crime docs. Currently, as of 3/26, it’s been this ‘Tiger King’ miniseries on Netflix. Might be old news by the time this gets published but it’s been a pretty wild story so far.
If all your clothes had to be one color forever, what color would you pick?
Although I hate the idea of black on black in the summer, gotta go with black. Black has always been a flattering color for me. You could make it look good.
Describe one crazy moment you have had at Castle Danger.
I guess I haven’t been around long enough for anything to stick out. I did have fun closing out this year’s Christmas party singing Tom Waits at karaoke.
Jared is dedicated and a dangerously good, in fact, great employee. He is noticeably enthusiastic about beer and pushes the envelope every single day. Thank you for being you, Jared!