Welcome to my home brew blog where I post about my test batches and experiments for my future brewery back home in Vermont. I’ve been home brewing for five years now. Growing up in Vermont I was surrounded with craft beer. Drinking Long Trail, Switchback, Otter Creek, Rock Art, Vermont pub and brewery, and Magic Hat since I turned twenty one. Late Gen X’ers and early Gen Y’ers are the first generation to grow up in an America with beer choices. I developed an early appreciation for local products made by people in the community. Beer being one of them. Timing and location of where I grew up has inspired me to start brewing.
On September 8th, 2006 I brewed my first batch of home brew. It was a brown ale. By the end of September I had brewed three batches and was hooked. I had found my calling. Brewing is a beautiful blend of art and science and at the end of the day you have something tangible to share with friends and family. I began to make plans to become a professional brewer. I was 24 years old and living in upstate New York, at the time, and went up and down the Hudson River valley looking for a job while also looking into the different brewing schools across the country. Lots of doors closed, but I got a job on the packaging line at a contract brewery, Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. (125bbl brew house) in Saratoga Springs, NY. My first job was opening empty cases and six packs by hand then stuffing the six packs in the cases. I expressed interest in brewing from the beginning, sharing home brew and talking to the brewers about what the heck they were doing. After months on packaging I moved into cellaring, learning how to CIP (clean in place) and sanitize tanks first. Wait, I think they taught me how to scrub floors and parts first (lots of floor scrubbing). Then I learned how to harvest and pitch yeast, dry hop, filter and force carbonate. During my time at Olde Saratoga Brewing I attended the American Brewers Guild, completing the five week residential Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering course. After returning from brewing school I was trained in the brew house at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., brewing brands such as; Schmaltz Brewing Co. (He'brew beers), Blue Point Brewing Co., Southampton Brewing, Thomas Hooker , Sackets Harbor, Mendocino, and Opa Opa Brewing to name a few. The experiece of brewing many different styles with different takes on recipe formulation from so many different brewmasters/breweries in the Northeast was an amazing insight into developing my own beer recipes. While at brewing school I found out about the job board on Probrewer.com and saw a job for a brewing position at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (100bbl brew house). I applied, interviewed and a couple of months later I was hired and moved down there. Just like that, I was brewing at Dogfish Head. After brewing at Dogfish Head for two years I was ready to move on to a smaller brewery that had a more hands on brewing process and NO computer interface to brew with. I became a brewer so I wouldn't have to look at a computer screen all day. An oppurtunity came up at a start up brewery in Delaware called Evolution Craft Brewing (10bbl brew house), who is making some excellent ales. I was hired as an Assistant Brewer, brewing 2nd shift since EVO was just starting to double brew nearly every day. It’s a 10 bbl brewhouse where I stir the mash with a canoe paddle and I love it!
When I brew at home, I like to mix it up. Many times I’m inspired by flavors from around the world and thinking about a beer style that would complement this new (to me) flavor. Using different grains, spices, and herbs is both challenging and rewarding. I enjoy discovering what unusual fermentables taste like and how to use them. Part farmers market chef, part willy wonka what I brew depends on what inspires me, more than anything. Every day the world challenges brewers to brew and use the cornucopia of ingredients available the world over. I started my blog in January of 2009 to chronicle my brewing adventures. An online journal of sorts to share, inspire, and hopefully give people the confidence to throw something weird in the kettle, carboy, or keg.