In this home brew meeting we compared home brew shop kits, both extract and all grain of each, and compared them to the commercial beers they are supposed to clone.
Age: 31. Which still feels a bit weird to say.
How long have you been a Baron? Just about 7 months. I joined back in July ’13 after relocating to Milwaukee.
How long have you been brewing? 7 years or so.
What style do you most often brew? Overall, it’s a tie between American Pale Ales and Saisons. The APA is my favorite, and the Saison is Colleen’s (my wife). Since moving to Milwaukee I have room in the apartment for a lagering freezer, so I’ve been churning out a lot of lagers recently.
What got you into brewing? My parents got me a Mr. Beer kit for my 24th birthday. I made a (horrible) first batch and, while I knew making beer was just about the coolest hobby to have, my instincts told me to look beyond Mr. Beer. I’ve heard you can make decent beer with it, but I went online and grabbed a basic kit setup and the rest is history.
How often do you brew? I try to brew every 2-3 weeks.
Do you brew solo or with other people? Most often I brew solo. I have a lot of fun brewing with other brewers. It’s a great way to pick up new tips and tricks. My homebrewing-curious friends and neighbors have a standing invitation to come over on brew days. In fact, over Christmas I had my cousin over and we brewed a Belgain Dark Strong. It was his first experience with homeberwing. Maybe he’ll catch the bug now!
What is your favorite style and why? American Pale Ale. I think there is a lot of latitude in the style. I love the firm and floral hop character that isn’t out to punch you in the mouth. My favorites also have a noticeable malt character – bready and/or biscuity.
What is your favorite beer? Pride and Joy by Three Floyds. I know they call it a Mild, but to me that is an APA all the way. It was love at first sip!
What is your favorite brewery and why? You caught me on a Monday, so today it’s Half Acre out of Chicago. I have liked everything I’ve had from them. Also, their involvement with the cycling community, their collaboration beers, and their environmental awareness all strike a chord with me. They have some amazing art for their labels too! Ask me tomorrow and it could be Bell’s or Shorts or Founders or New Glarus. It’s hard to keep a favorite!
What is your commmercial to homebrew consumption ratio? Probably about 50-50. I try to give away as much of my homebrew as possible. After a gallon or two, I know if I made the beer I wanted to, and have some notes on what to change in the next iteration. The rest is up for grabs. I’ve got to keep some kegs open for new brews!
Have you ever entered a competition? Yes, a few. I used to live in Boston (Jamaica Plain, actually) and was walking distance to the Sam Adams brewery. The first competition I entered was their Longshot. Since then, I try to enter a couple each year. I am currently taking the BJCP classes, so competitions are popping up on my radar a bit more these days. I hope enter and steward several this year. Maybe I’ll get to judge one with a little luck (and a passing score on the tasting exam)!
What has been your favorite Baron meeting? Tough question, but I’ll have to go with the Christmas party. The food, the amazing beer selection, the raffle, and of course the elections!
What is your day job? I am a software engineer for Tremor Video, an online video advertisement company. I work out of my apartment and from various Colectivo cafes across the city. You have probably seen some of our ads online, and if so, you have my apologies. I don’t make the ads, but I do make the internal application that our designers use to make them.
Nick joined us to talk about the 8 beers we sampled from their portfolio. St. Feuillien Saison, St. Feuillien Grand Cru, Urthel Hop-It, La Trappe Dubbel, La Trappe Oak Aged Quadrupel (very rare), Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet, Bockor Cuvee de Jacobins Rouge, and Brouwerij Lupus Wolf 7.
Shawn, who is starting Rushmore Meadery, started making mead 20 years ago after joining the Urban Knaves of Grain. He joined us to talk about mead making techniques and tell us a little more about himself and his meadery. We tried several of his meads as well as a few other commercial examples.
How long have you been a Baron? Since 2008
What style do you brew most often? I always have an Amber Ale on tap as friends and neighbors like that one. I also like to have a Pale Ale on tap.
What got you into brewing? I got into brewing because of David Glazewski. We work together and he brought some homebrew to a company picnic and I thought it was awesome.
How often do you brew? I brew when my supply starts to run low, maybe 4 to 5 times a year. I usually do 10 gallon batches. Unless it is a high gravity brew, then only 5 gallons because my mash tun is too small. I don’t brew as often as I would like to, not enough people come over to drink my beers. Especially in the summer. During Packer season a lot more gets consumed at Packer parties than during the rest of the year. I wish I knew people that liked to drink beer. If anyone knows somebody like that I’m willing to share. 😉
Do you brew solo or with other people? I am a solo brewer, sometimes I have somebody to come over to watch and drink beer while I brew.
What is your favorite style and why? I don’t know if I have a favorite style. I do like Belgians, Stouts, Porters, Pale and IPAs. It depends on what I am in the mood for. I enjoy most styles of beer, mead, cider, wine, whiskey, brandy, schnapps, and Aqua Velva anything with alcohol. I am of German and Irish ancestry, enough said.
What is your favorite brewery and why? Omergang, Tyranena, Lakefront, Founders, and New Holland
What is your commmercial to homebrew consumption ratio? 1 to 1 or close to it.
Have you ever entered a competition? The competitions that I have entered were State Fair in 2010, I won 1st place for a Oktoberfest, 1st place for Best of the German beer categories and was runner up for best of show. Even though my beer was an ale not a lager. I won a silver medal in the Midwinter Comp.; I think it was 2011 for a pale ale. And just recently I won 1st place for my Hefeweizen, that beer also took best of show. I was very surprised, that is a beer style that does not seem to win best of show very often.
What has been your favorite Baron meeting? Besides the November Belgian nights, I enjoy when we have knowledgeable speakers, whether they are commercial or a Baron i.e. Dave Campbell’s talk about some of his gadgets.
What is your day job? My vocation is machinist. I have been working as a machinist since I was a sophomore in high school. I currently work for a contract machine shop. We machine a variety of products from aerospace, mining, oil exploration, food production equipment and the rollers that make M&M’s, Skittles and Reese’s Pieces.