What initially interested you in brewing?
I’ve always been a fan of customization. Every video game with a character creator was an immediate hit for me, and I’m pretty sure it’s why I’ve always prefered cooking to baking. So, naturally, I’ve always wanted that same ability with the things I drink. Since cocktails have never really been my thing, that left one option left: brewing. Thankfully, Dariusz was curious enough and at the same time, so we made a few very janky ciders before upgrading to beer.
How would you describe your brewing style?
I think about brewing the same way I think about software: I’d much rather be adaptable and flexible than focused on the perfect thing. Great beer is still the goal, but I don’t my day to end up ruined because my homebrew shop has something out of stock. I tend to be a bit more avant garde with flavor, but that’s because I’m ultimately brewing for an audience of one. I’d much rather have a goal in mind and then find the best way of getting there.
What is your favorite style to brew? To drink?
I tend to brew for myself, so most of the time, the answer is the same. I really like things that pair well together, so I tend to drink and brew for the season or the occasion. In my opinion, spring is the best beer season around. It’s a great time to enjoy a little sunshine and a little fresh produce. I think the style that best embodies that are Belgian style IPAs. There’s a great balance between sweetness, bitterness, and fruity flavors that’s hard to replicate anywhere else.
What advice would you give to a new brewer?
The same advice I give new programmers or new hobbyists all together: be okay with making things poorly, and then learn why they went poorly. Every new brewer will have an off-flavor or a bottle grenade at some point, and that’s totally normal. The important thing is to understand why it happened and how to prevent it. It’s knowledge best learned in practice. There is no better time to learn about esters than while drinking a few really gnarly beers.
If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I want something that’s sold everywhere, appropriate for every occasion, and never overbearing. While I usually drink IPAs, they can very easily override the flavor of food. Stouts and brown ales are also fantastic, until you have to have a few outside in the summer. Ultimately, my all-purpose beer needs to be flexible, and that’s why I have to pick a cerveza. In particular, Tecate.
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Fermentation is one of the oldest methods of cooking in human civilization, and examples can be found in each and every bed of civilization across the world. Even when narrowed to the scope of fermented, grain-based beverages, the process is nigh-universal. Ignoring the centuries upon centuries of brewing innovations and traditions from Asia and the Early Americas is to ignore the history of beer itself.
Many people interested in the hobby of homebrewing are often dismayed by the upfront cost. Getting a large enough kettle, fermentation buckets, airlocks, and the bare essentials, on top of ingredients, is a large, upfront investment for a curiosity; however, it doesn’t have to be that way. Home fermentation can be easy and cheap, and it’ll give you some room to grow into the hobby with small, incremental investments.