Rob Neal is not only a beer enthusiast, he's an avid home brewer.

Rob Neal is not only a beer enthusiast, he's an avid home brewer.

His specialty: imperial-style beers, such as India pale ales, or IPAs, and imperial stouts.

"My motto is go bold or go sober," he said.

A home-brew consultant at Gentile's, the Wine Sellers, near Grandview Heights, Neal has some influence as to what others drink.

"I know what I like and I want people to like better stuff," he said. And he'll give advice on how to make it, because Gentile's sells equipment to people who want to make beer, wine and pop at home.

"Home brewing is just exploding," he said. "You can barely keep up with demand."

Neal, 33, is the latest First Draft columnist for Food & Wine. His boss, Roger Gentile, is the author of Wine Wisdom, which regularly appears on Food & Wine.

While Neal was in college, the craft-beer scene was gaining traction. It was the late 1990s, and he was exploring his options beyond American macro-brews.

"It was cool being able to travel somewhere and try different beers you couldn't get anywhere else," he said.

He graduated from Valparaiso University in 2000 with a degree in communications, which spurred a love of writing. His musings can be found at brewski-bros@blog

A native of Upper Arlington, Neal spent some time in video production but the economy took its toll on the business, so his job at Gentile's went from part-time to full-time.

"I definitely like interacting with people," said Neal, who still does freelance video production.

Check out what Neal has to say about the Stone Brewing Co.'s 15th anniversary black IPA at

Rob Neal is a home-brewing consultant at Gentile's, the Wine Sellers. Check out his blog at