Matt Lally, a graduate of LaSalle University. A man who didn’t like beer until he was 22, he was not your typical college kid that got drunk on the weekend to have fun with his friends. “It wasn’t until I’d had craft beer that I realized that beer could be a delicious, delicious thing,” said Lally.
It really all started after college when Lally would frequent liquor stores that would allow him to create his own 6 packs. Lally then decided to start home brewing in his kitchen. That then led him to look into the history of brewing, styles, and chemistry. This then led Lally to think about taking it on as a career.
Lally now works at Triumph Brewery in Philadelphia. He currently holds the position of Assistant Brewer. Lally got to this position with a lot of hard work and dedication to beer.
At first he chose Triumph because “well they where the only ones that would give me an apprenticeship. It took a lot of time for someone to take me on, it’s a lot of work for brewery to take on an apprentice” said Lally. When Lally first started he kept his normal 9-5 job at Adventure Aquarium, in Camden, New Jersey. He worked at the aquarium five days a week then those other two days he drove to New Hope, to work for free in the brewery. Jokingly Lally said my actual payment was free lunch.
His first days on the job “I shadowed the brewer, watching everything he did until he felt I was ready to do tasks myself. And I made a lot of mistakes and felt super clumsy for a while, but eventually, I was able to do pretty much all the tasks involved with the job without supervision from brewing to cleaning the taps.” said Lally After a year of being an apprentice Lally was offered the full-time position to become the Assistant Brewer.
Lally can’t name a favorite beer of his when at the bar he tries to get something he’s never had before. But his favorite at Triumph is “probably our Jewish Rye, because it’s so unique. It takes exactly like a slice of rye bread. But I can only drink that once in a while. One of ours that I could drink all the time would be our Dortmunder Export or our Irish Red.”
Fun fact about Lally is he is SCUBA certified and a brown belt in Aikido.
The Blue Monkey Tavern located in Merchantville, New Jersey is a small town restaurant that serves great food and offers 40 beers on tap at any given time. The beers on tap change every once in a while. Haliel Gongur is a small restaurant owner that not only owns the Blue Monkey Tavern but the Collins House attached to it where they offer hall rentals for various events. He also began to offer in 2009 a Oktoberfest and then decided to add one in the spring as well based on the success of the first Oktoberfest. Visit them daily at 11 a.m. for lunch, dinner or late night at 2 South Centre St. Merchantville, NJ.
How do you choose what beer to bring?
We look to see what the various companies offer. See if they will fit with the event. For the Fall Fest we go with the more seasonal availability like your ciders and pumpkin ales. We like to make sure we have a variety for the people.
What’s the average amount of beer you bring to the event?
We usually try to get a range between 50-70 beers. One year we had 80 beers and that was just to many beers. We don’t want to overwhelm are guests but make sure they have a vast variety of beers.
How do you choose what companies to bring?
We look to see what types of beers they brew. They also have one qualification of brewing just craft beers only.
Do you always try to get the same companies to attend?
No not all the same companies attend. We do have some returning companies each year though. We want to provide variety for the guest.
When was your first fall event?
We first started them in 2009 had such a successful year. I then decided to continue it next year as well add a second one in the spring. Which is called the spring fest.