After Hours with Emilie Yguado of Gemüt Biergarten
The assistant brewer talks about charting a new career path at the Olde Towne East brewery.
While sipping a Golem Czech Pils on the Gemüt Biergarten patio—a beer that took home bronze at last year’s Great American Beer Festival—Emilie Yguado tells me about her winding path to becoming assistant brewer at the Olde Towne East brewery.
A native of Mesa, Arizona, Yguado has always worked in the restaurant industry, starting with her high school cafeteria. “I’ve never really done anything else. This has just been it. I enjoy it. I love the people aspect of it,” she says. She moved to Columbus about 13 years ago for a guy. Although that relationship didn’t last, she fell in love with Ohio and the tightknit service industry here.
Before Gemüt, Yguado was working as a manager at Pins Mechanical Co. in Dublin and was burnt out by the high-volume grind. Some co-workers joked that a work-life balance doesn’t exist in their industry, but Yguado went looking for one anyway. One of her former managers was working at Gemüt—a smaller, more laid-back bar without table service—and needed people to cover a couple bar shifts. She took him up on the offer. She was working a few days a week when Gemüt brewers Rob Camstra and Nick Guyton asked for her help labeling beer cans.
Next, the brewers asked if Yguado would like to shadow them. “So, I’d come in on my days off at like 7 a.m. and watch them build the wort way, which is like the plumbing path that [goes] from the kettle to the fermenter tanks,” she says. Before long, Yguado was learning all about safety and helping to “grain out” (remove spent grains from the mash tun). With enough work to go around, Camstra and Guyton asked her to go full-time in the brewery.
“I had no background in brewing, and it’s like a whole new world. ... It’s intimidating,” Yguado says. “The brewers that I work with, Rob and Nick, are insanely knowledgeable about everything. There’s no stupid question I can ask them. And that’s great. It’s kind of like an apprenticeship, but I’m getting paid for it, and I’ve got benefits.”
Yguado is also becoming more discerning about her brews and laughs about all the beer trends—from milkshake IPAs to fruited beers—that she saw come and go behind the bar. “Now I work here, where we don’t make any IPAs, and we don’t put any fruit in any beer,” she says. “I’m here for it. Like, who doesn’t want a clean lager, right?”
Below, I asked Yguado to share some of her other likes (and dislikes) about the local food and drink scene.
Favorite breakfast spot: “Dough Mama. Hands down my fave place to get breakfast and brunch. The avocado biscuit is delicious, and don’t sleep on that salad—the dressing is so good!”
Favorite hidden-gem restaurant: “Tensuke Express”
Favorite beer not brewed by Gemüt: “This one’s so hard to answer. Yellow Springs Boat Show IPA is so good.”
Best spot for tacos: “Los Agavez food truck”
Go-to bar when not at work: “I do very much enjoy a fancy cocktail, and Understory sure delivers. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable about their liquor.”
Thing Columbus needs: “Thai restaurants that can make actual sticky rice and a flavorful nam tok [beef salad].”
Tired food trend: “Can we stop battering and deep-frying mushrooms and pickles?”
This story is from the July 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.