A lot brewing for Chris Ray in retirement

A lot brewing for Chris Ray in retirement
June 9, 2013, 12:30 pm
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In case you have lost track of former Orioles closer Chris Ray, these days he’s a brewer. That’s lower-case “b,” as in a guy who’s no longer concerned about the hop on his fastball, but rather the hops in his beer.

Bouncing around baseball after the Orioles traded him to the Rangers after the 2009 season, Ray wasn’t the same pitcher who racked up 33 saves in Baltimore in 2006, especially after he underwent Tommy John surgery. So he retired last year, and now he and his brother Phil operate a craft brewery near Richmond, Va.

Which is fitting, former teammate Jim Johnson said.

“You know there’s wine snobs? Well, he’s a beer snob,” Johnson told The Sun in a piece by Childs Walker.

Ray had developed an interest in craft beers after he started using a home-brewing kit in 2008.

“There are just so many ingredients, so many styles,” he said. “It’s basically limtless what you can do with beer. It tapped into a creative side of me.”

His first bigger-scale effort was Homefront IPA, produced by Fremont Brewing of Seattle as part of a charity effort for military families. Now, the Ray brothers’ Center of the Universe brewery is making three beers — Ray Ray’s Pale Ale, Main St. Virginia Ale and Pocahoptas IPA. For the moment, the brews are available only in Virginia, but the Rays have plans to distribute regionally, including Maryland.

Though Ray is retired from baseball at an age (31) when many pitchers are in their prime, he expressed no regrets.

“I can’t be upset about anything,” he said. “I got to play professional baseball for six years. … And now, I feel like I’m doing my hobby for a living.”