Brewer’s Choice: Macho Man Razzy Savage

Barrel Master Travis Camacho is a man of superior palate. Standing at the head of our OAK Project, Travis is the gatekeeper to all things sour. We love experimenting with anything we can get our hands on, especially barrels and bugs, and Travis is at the helm of creating the most eclectic and extreme beers we produce. His most recent creation, Macho Man Razzy Savage, is this month’s installment of our Brewer’s Choice Series. What led us to name a barrel aged sour brown after a deceased pro-wrestler? Our story starts down south…

Hailing from San Diego, Travis’ love of sour began after graduating from SDSU with a degree in Graphic Design. “I had friends that worked at a brewery who also homebrewed. Me and my buddy, we were always into making weird and interesting kettle sours,” Travis remarks. What started as a hobby turned into something so many greater when a move to the Bay Area gave Travis the inspiration he needed. “My wife’s job relocated up here. We thought it’d be fun and we wanted to give living in the Bay Area a try. I figured it was the right place to get into brewing.”

Turns out talent doesn’t always require experience. “Drake’s was my first brewery job,” Travis confesses. “I started working on the bottling line but I was always interested in the barrels. If they were doing barrel stuff, I’d get off work and go volunteer to help them move barrels with the forklift or take samples. I started kegging beer after that, even though I wasn’t even brewing at the time.” Just goes to show that hard work pays off; Travis has worked at Drake’s for five years, occupying three of those as our Barrel Master.

As with many other craft breweries, our OAK Project is somewhat removed from our regular brewhouse, allowing great creative freedom for our barrel program gents. “The barrel department is pretty autonomous. We have enough work that Zack [Bassett] and I get to do more of what we want with the beer,” Travis explains. “I’ve been really happy with how our kettle sours have been moving forward. That’s always been my thing. We just started doing them about a year and a half ago and Oaklander Weisse is already quite successful.”

Which brings us to Macho Man Razzy Savage, a kettle sour brewed with raspberries. “It has dark flanders qualities and caramel malty sweetness. It’s kinda like an English brown, we used English yeast, but with a fruity, nutty and tart flavor profile,” Travis describes. “It’s a home-brew recipe that I used to make all the time.” As for the name? We turn to Travis’ right-hand man for the answer. “I get most of my ideas when I’ve been drinking,” Zack laughs. “[Beer Educator] Eric Ortega calls Travis ‘Macho Man’ and the next linear thought was Randy Savage. Eric didn’t grow up on wrestling, he grew up on Golden Girls.”
What does Travis do when he’s not barreling, brewing and bottling? “I don’t really have any hobbies right now,” he jokes, with a note of sincerity. “I like to cook and make a lot of Asian food. I make Ethiopian sometimes. Real crazy flavors. The creative process of cooking goes hand-in-hand with making beer. In our industry, there are a lot of foodies. It just makes sense.”

Join us at the brewery in San Leandro on April 7th, starting at 4pm, for our First Friday block party, benefiting Roosevelt Elementary and Bancroft Middle Schools. Travis will be on hand until 6pm to chat bugs, barrels and pro-wrestling trivia. To top it off, we’ll have live music and not-so-traditional waffle sandwiches from Stuff My Waffle. See you there!