Norm Johnson used to be in the business of kicking field goals. From 1982 to 1999, he was a kicker in the National Football League. During that time, he spent 8 years in Seattle playing for the Seahawks followed by the respective teams of Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. As an NFL kicker, he was a 2-time Pro Bowler and All Pro, and he helped lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to Super Bowl XXX in the 1995-96 season. It’s been 15 years since he has played and he still sits at #10 on the NFL’s list of all team leading scorers.
These days, Norm is in the business of beer. He, along with his business parter Neal Nilsen, have created 12 Man Pale Ale to much success throughout Washington. Like the Seahawks, his beer is popular. Like tickets are for the Seahawks, his beer is similarly hard to find.
With the Seattle Seahawks playing the New Orleans Saints tomorrow in the Divisional Playoffs, we couldn’t think of a better time to get in touch with Norm and learn a little bit more about 12 Man Pale Ale.
While you were in the NFL, did you have any interest in home brewing or did you have an elevated interest in beer?
When I was here with the Seahawks, I got here in ’82. I lived not far from the Redhook Brewery which is one of the earlier craft breweries and really enjoyed craft beer way back then. I really got into beer and got to know some reps and such and it was kind of always around beer. Then I started doing a little bit of experimenting with home brewing near the end of my years here in Seattle and that went with me when I went out to Atlanta. I don’t know if I was ever really any good and I didn’t get into the science of it, but I understood it, made some home brewed beer, and had fun with that. So I’ve been around and interested in beer for a long time.
You lived in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, and Seattle as a member of each city’s respective football team. Did you have a favorite city in terms of the beer they had available to drink?
Funny you asked that. When I left Seattle, I was a craft beer fan. I went to Atlanta and I couldn’t really find any craft beer that I enjoyed. That was frustrating. It was even more frustrating in Pittsburgh. I guess I could call myself a beer snob, which I’ve been since the early ’90s. And in my travels at that time, things have changed in the last 20 years. But in the early ’90s, over on the East Coast where I spent about 9 years, it was a struggle finding good craft beer, and I was very frustrated with that. See the full post »