Our Brewers

DanDan Hamilton – Founding Brewer

While attending college, Dan preferred enjoying red wine over beer, until tasting Anchor Steam Beer in 1969. His first taste of what American beer could be, started a life of inquiry into the many styles and brewing traditions. After beginning home brewing in 1972, and getting to taste New Albion beer in 1977, this interest became a full-blown hobby. Together with two members of his caving team, he established an extensive “hobby” operation in a separate building at his home. Helping found the “San Joaquin WORThogs” homebrew club, organizing the first Fresno County Fair beer competition, and participation in numerous other beer competitions, seemed to lead Dan and his buddies to actively consider a brewpub in the late 1980s. This interest resulted in taking an enjoyable “beginning a brewery” course from Professor Michael Lewis at UC Davis.

After Dan’s partners moved on to other interests, he focused on brewing lager beers in the styles of German and Czech brewers. When Dan and his wife moved to Seaside, Oregon, a home brewery was designed into the original build out and Dan continued his active interest in brewing Helles, Pils, Fest, Dunkel and Czech-Style beers. A fortuitous meeting with fellow Buoy founder Luke Colvin in that garage, started the idea to head down the path of a brewery that featured the smooth tastes of properly lagered beers, similar to what Dan had been perfecting for many years.

Dan’s interest now is in working with Buoy’s production brewers in lager production and recipe formulation (who needs retirement anyway?!), and working hard to find himself back on the golf course as much as possible!


Kevin Shaw – Head Brewer

Growing up, road trips for Kevin’s family often included his dad K.C. searching out a local brewpub for a place to grab a beer.  Still not being of legal drinking age, this often meant Kevin had to wait in the car while his dad went inside to enjoy a beer.  Once 21, Kevin was able to join his dad for that pint and it was those times with his dad that helped to form his appreciation and love for craft beer.

While teaching 3rd grade in Seattle, Kevin began home brewing with his good friend and housemate Jeff. Kevin was instantly bitten by the brewing bug and felt a career change was in order.  After the school year ended, Kevin moved back to Portland where he had attended college and began hounding local breweries for any available job.  After much searching, he found employment at Star Brewing in NE Portland and although the work was not very glamorous, he loved it.  Kevin worked there for about a year doing every imaginable job until the brewery was forced to close due to insufficient funding.

Once again unemployed and looking for brewery work, Kevin decided to attend the Seibel Institute of Brewing Technology in Chicago for some formal brewing education.  Upon completion of his coursework, Kevin landed a job in Yakima, WA working for the micro brewing pioneer Bert Grant at Yakima Brewing and Malting.

He spent three years in Yakima, but wanted to get back to Portland, and made the move when he found a position at BridgePort Brewing.  Kevin started as a shift brewer, eventually working his way up to Lead Brewer and finally Head Brewer.  After a great run of 14 years at BridgePort, he decided it was time to mix things up and headed northwest to Buoy Beer Company to run the Brewing Operations.  Although it was tough to say goodbye to Portland, Kevin and his wife Katie (our Restaurant Manager) made the move to Astoria and are happy to call their new city home.

Austen Conn – Lead Brewer

Austen’s brewing odyssey began as just an inkling of an idea. Little did his Father know that the seemingly innocent gift of a beginner’s homebrewing kit would turn into a full-fledged career path, proceeding to spend the entirety of a year experimenting, learning, and honing in the foundation of his craft. Before the year was over the decision was made… to become a professional brewer and enroll into the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. A part time job at Midwest Homebrewing Supplies helped provide yet another glimpse into the world of brewing.

Fast forward to February in Chicago at Siebel followed by a rainy spring spent internationally at the Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany. Austen graduated with the International Diploma in Brewing Technology along with the Advanced Applied Techniques diploma in brewing science. Austen journeyed to Cantillion in Brussels and the small city of Leipzig, Germany and his fascination with sour, wild and “old-world” beer production was beginning to take hold. The utilization of Brettanomyces, wild yeast & bacteria, along with oak still remain the driving force and inspiration behind Austen’s approach to brewing.

An Internship at the Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley, California eventually evolved into a full-time Production Brewer role. This position helped provide an excellent foundation in larger scale production brewing, lager techniques, and brewery process. At the same time, Austen maintained a weekend job at MoreBeer! homebrewing supplies in Concord, California where he taught new homebrewers how to progress from extract brewing into the world of “all-grain”. This experience allowed him to develop a passion for teaching and sharing the knowledge that he had gained through brewing school.

Missing the Northwest, and craving to further participate in the beer culture of Portland, Austen found his way back North and worked for Everybody’s Brewing Company in White Salmon, WA for a brief stint, and eventually secured a Lead Cellarman position at the Laurelwood Brewing Company in Portland. This tenure proved invaluable not just in the exposure to busy pub brewing but also in developing friendships and colleagues that continue to influence him to this day.

Buoy was in need of another production brewer when Austen answered the call. Moving out to Astoria in late spring of 2015 with the hope of contributing to a rapidly growing brewery and company. Austen was promoted to Buoy’s Lead Brewer in August of 2016.

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