Who is Mike Karnowski? (Homebrewing Biography, Pro Resume, Influence)

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to try a beer from the 1700s or earlier? You might be able to, courtesy of the history beer buff that is Mike Karnowski.

Mike Karnowski brews historical farmhouse ales. He, alongside his wife, Gabe Pickard, opened Zebulon Artisinal Ales in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2015. Karnowski started homebrewing while he was in the army shortly after graduating high school. He is a published author, writes for his brewery’s blog, and runs the taproom with his wife two days a week.

Continue reading to learn more about Mike Karnowski and his contributions to beer and brewing.

Who is Mike Karnowski?

Mike Karnowski is a beer history buff. His father was a home winemaker, so his artisanal roots run deep. Karnowski is a homebrewer turned pro with an affinity for historical beer styles.

Mike Karnowski is the cofounder of Zebulon Artisinal Ales with his wife, Gabe Pickard. The two founded the brewery in late 2015 after Karnowski moved on from Green Man Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. Karnowski’s brewing background officially started shortly after high school.

Each beer brewed at Zebulon, aside from Karnowski’s disfavored and occasional IPA, is dedicated to a specific person. Because the brewery does not have any flagships, this tells customers what’s moving the cogs in the machine at any given time.

Karnowski and Pickard brew mostly historical beer styles like wild ales and saisons

What is he up to now?

Nowadays, Karnowski runs a professional, small-production brewery alongside his wife, Gabe Pickard.

Mike Karnowski co-owns Zebulon Artisan Ales, a brewery outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Zebulon specializes in Belgian and French Farmhouse styles. All of Zebulon’s beers are unfiltered and bottle conditioned. Some beers are aged for several years before they’re sold. 

Zebulon Artisan Ales does not have any flagship beers, and the couple produces around 30 different beers every year. Karnowski often consults beer historian Ron Pattinson to create historical beers as accurately as possible.

Homebrewing Background

Karnowski had a unique start to homebrewing – he picked it up while in the military.

Mike Karnowski started homebrewing after high school when he joined the army. He owned a homebrew supply shop after the military and then moved to Asheville with his wife where he started brewing beer for Green Man Brewery.

His homebrew background and his family’s artisanal roots in wine-making are what inspired him and his wife to stick to historical and unique beer styles.

Professional Brewing Experience

Before Zebulon Artisan Ales, Karnowski brewed beer at a different North Carolina location.

Karnowski brewed beer at Green Man Brewery from 2008 to 2015. Eventually, he sought to create beers with his wife, Gabe. Zebulon Artisan Ales, founded in 2015, is open twice a week for in-house sampling.

The brewery is a result of Karnowski’s passion for historical beer styles, which have been somewhat forgotten over time.

Published Works and Media

Mike Karnowski is a published author of a homebrewing book and a blogger for Zebulon Artisan Ales. He also appears as a guest on multiple beer-related podcasts and contributes to beer and brewing websites. Karnowski’s depth of knowledge and appreciation for classic styles earns him outright respect in the brewing industry.


Karnowski contributed to the beer industry and its integrity by authoring the book “Homebrew Beyond the Basics: All-Grain Brewing and Other Next Steps.” Karnowski brews traditional beer styles, so it’s fitting that his book establishes the basics of homebrewing and dives deeper into where to take it from there.


Karnowski keeps the Zebulon Artisan Ales blog up-to-date with quick informational pieces on the brewery’s current beer selection. He provides a short description of each beer, who it’s dedicated to and some recipe ingredients.