What initially interested you in brewing?
Truthfully, I thought it was a clever loophole initially. At 19, I couldn’t buy beer – but I could buy all of the ingredients to make beer. After my first and truly horrible brew, I realized I loved the process.
At the time, I was a chemistry major. To this day I’m fascinated by chemical and biological processes, and brewing satisfies the same sort of transformational magic that chem and bio labs did. Just like chem and bio, brewing is changing something on a microscopic level, regulating environments, and using interesting, specifically-designed equipment.
Where brewing is even more interesting to me, beyond the chem and bio, is how each beer tells a story. It has a past, a process, a brewer, its surroundings, and its drinker(s). It changes with variables, is copied and retold, and is intoxicating. “Ale as old as time…”
In fact, beer might be one of the purest examples of storytelling I can imagine. As an anthropologist, it’s a terribly consuming hobby.
How would you describe your brewing style?
Much like the co-founder of Wall Brew Co., Nick, says, everyone should brew the kind of beer they want to drink – and that should guide every bit of their brewing style.
With that said, I’m a fan of trying to master known styles, but also venture out into lesser known ones. I love digging into the “why” of the beers, their stories, and how to use them to tell my own. I’ll take risks, but try to make well balanced, interesting beers which don’t just go for a “wow” factor (in the same way I don’t like “gotcha journalism” or self-righteous twists in a story).
What is your favorite style to brew? To drink?
The best beer I brewed was probably a session IPA that I made for my girlfriend’s birthday. This is a style that I’ve gotten right a lot over the years and I continue to practice it pretty regularly.
However, my favorite style to brew is an American Pale Ale. This style isn’t all that forgiving and has subtle flavors that you don’t get from IPAs. Getting one right, while still making it interesting, requires a mastery of brewing skills. I like surprisingly challenging things.
While my tastes for favorite beer change pretty regularly, I’ve never once been disappointed when I’ve had a kölsch in hand.
What advice would you give to a new brewer?
A few things I always tell new brewers are: don’t worry about when you make a bad beer, grow into the hobby (equipment can be expensive), and brew with a friend.
Brewing, at the end of the day, is most fun when you’re drinking with a buddy (sometimes, the beer you’ve made) and making beer.
If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Moor Beer Co’s So’Hop on cask, in successive half pints.
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