Did you hear? We promoted a team member to Head Brewer here at Coney! Though we’ve worked with him for a little while, we took a sit-down with Jim Betz so our community could get to know him a bit better. Read on to find out whether hot dogs are a sandwich or not.
Where are you from?
I grew up on Long Island and moved to NYC to study Studio Art and Art History at Hunter College. After graduating, I stayed in NYC for about 13 years working in restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park and Fedora. Currently I live in Rahway, NJ, with my wife Christen, and two dogs Tillie (yep, that Tillie) and Bruce (after the Boss, of course).
What led you to brewing?
Working in restaurants led me to brewing. I worked at Eleven Madison Park, where I was Head Bartender, gaining extensive knowledge of the food, beer, spirits and wine world. It was there I found myself more and more interested in making a jump into the production side of the beverage industry. Shortly after I moved to New Jersey, my wife and I started bartending at a new brewery in town. When their brewer went out on vacation, my wife volunteered my name to help out. So I started going in before my bartending shifts as much as I could, until I bothered them enough to offer me a job. When the chance to be part of the brew team at Coney came up, I went for it!
What’s your favorite beer pairing?
Hefeweizen with weisswurst, Oktoberfest and Bratwurst. Pick a German beer and add in a sausage and I’m a happy person!
What will be your debut style?
The first beer I will be brewing here is an ESB using all NY ingredients for the NYC beer week SMaSH beer. I’m super excited about it, because while I greatly enjoy experimentation, I am a classics guy at heart.
Favorite thing about Coney Island?
As far as the area itself, I love the destination history, I find it fascinating. As an artist, I love that the Coney Island Yard had a lot to do with graffiti culture. As many of my friends growing up were very good at graffiti-style art, I was always very envious of their ability, my drawings were always more from life. Style Wars was one of the most amazing documentaries I’ve ever watched and a lot of the artwork in that documentary was done in this trainyard. I’ve always really enjoyed the culture surrounding hip-hop, I believe it’s hugely influential on modern culture and it is uniquely American. I love the dedication this brewery has to trying new things, and sideshow inspiration that comes from the area. Also the team here is great – very passionate.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
You can ask my parents, I always wanted to be Spider-Man. I love NYC, and he gets around quick pseudo-flying around, swinging on webs!
Desert island beer?
Schwarzbier, hands-down my favorite beer.
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Yes it’s meat and bread, however, sorry to say, I’m more of a pizza guy.
Guilty pleasure on Spotify?
I listen to everything – guilt-free! My most recent plays include: Allan Toussaint, Taj Mahal, Four Tet, Aesop Rock, GZA, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga, Operation Ivy, Talking Heads, Minnie Riperton, Vetiver, Cymande.
Favorite is no doubt the hang-loose emoji! 🤙 🤙 🤙