Know Your Brewer: Theo Armstrong of ZerØday Brewing Company

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Ever since ZerØday Brewing Company opened their doors more than a year ago, they’ve made a point to go beyond simply brewing exciting, quality brews.

ZerØday has a focused sense of community surrounding their beer and brewery. Whether it’s running a fundraiser for a local cause or setting up shop on the riverfront during Kipona, they have become more than just a brewery to the city.

“We always wanted to work with our community,” Theo Armstrong said. “We wanted to give back and to be a part of people lives and become Midtown’s living room.”

They have achieved that goal. In recent months they have brewed beer for Prostate Cancer Awareness, made the official Harrisburg Marathon beer and started an initiative to foster local creativity with their Cherishburg Initiative.

“It’s not just about one thing,” Armstrong said. “It’s all so unique and from different directions as well.”

Zeroday Theo Fermenter

The initiatives or the community outreach wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the stubbornness of Zeroday’s brewmaster, who didn’t have the best initial brewing experience but thankfully stuck with his passion.

“My first brewing experience was with a homebrew kit I bought off of Groupon,” Armstrong said. “It was an amber ale made with all malt extract, and it was horrible.”

After that first batch, he spent seven years tweaking his recipes and making friends within the brewing industry to keep improving his beer. During his time as a homebrewer and even into his professional brewing, Armstrong held a variety of jobs including a job at the Department of Defense. 

“My last job had me in a windowless office,” Armstrong said. “I knew then that I wanted to do something else and brewing was the only thing I did well.”

“I never wanted to go pro when I started out,” Armstrong said. “But I was young and dumb enough and life is too short to short not to take that risk.”

That risk came to fruition when ZerØday opened their doors last April to a welcoming beer community. Since then, they have put passion and dedication into all of their beers and the city.

Whether you’re into sours, saisons or hops on hops on hops, they will have a beer for you. If you’re looking for something out of the box, you’re in luck as well.

“My brewing philosophy has been, ‘Here’s the standard, now fuck the standard.'”

Zeroday Theo Taps

Douglas The Fir (DTF) Saison is a perfect example of this philosophy. The Saison, which makes its seasonal debut on Christmas Eve, is brewed with an entire Christmas tree in the mash tun to give it a crisp pine flavor along with all the funkiness you expect with a ZerØday saison.

Brews like Large Ass IPA, a 12.4% triple IPA; Pizza Cutter, an experimental ale; and their Daily Infusion series that combines any one of their current beers with extras like Sour Patch Kids or local fruit and vegetables.

They are known for making some high alcohol IPAs, like their current Double Finger IPA (10.5%). Theo said that these types of beers are a passion project for him.

While ZerØday has become famous for those certain beers, it’s not always all off the wall flavors.

“I brewed Critical Condition to be my perfect beer,” Armstrong said. “It’s got a great malt flavor with a little hoppiness.”

Armstrong said that going forward his focus is on keeping up with production and keeping the mainstays of MangoHab, Cheap Date, Dolce Vita and others on tap regularly.

“We need to focus on cranking out our year-rounds, but I look forward to creating the next exciting beers like sours, kettle sours and expanding our barrel aging program,” Armstrong said.

The next time you’re around Midtown, be sure to stop by the tasting room on Reily Street and see what’s on tap.

DTF Saison hits taps on Christmas Eve just in time for you to grab a crowler for Christmas Day while doing your last minute shopping. 

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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