HOW DID YOU GET INTO BREWING YOUR OWN BEER, THEN?!
“I got started through my friends. One was taking classes on how to brew close by where I live, and he taught me! We’re just getting started in getting the business all open, but I’ve been a home brewer since 2009. I did a clone of a beer called Mad Elf, which is actually a family brewery from Pennsylvania. I did it with cherries and honey and called it Cherry-Popper, and that was the first beer we did!”
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN SOMETHING LIKE THAT?
“It was exciting to try and make a beer that was different; not just make an IPA or a lager, but one with flowers or cinnamon or something weird in. It’s like music; you’re creating something unique with your own style!”
SO IF WE WANTED TO MAKE OUR OWN BREW, WHAT WOULD WE NEED TO GET STARTED?
“A lot! Most of what you need is equipment. Our brew system is a flat, stainless steel table, with three kettles on top that can do 10 gallons at a time. There are three burners underneath, and I use propane. It’s not automated, but I have a temperature control on it, and spent a lot of money getting that all together. It’s also very time consuming.”
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT FLAVOURS YOU WANNA THROW IN THERE?
“Obviously, you want to pick your style first, whether you’re gonna do a stout, an IPA or ale or whatever. So hops are a big thing – if you’re making an IPA, you might want a citrusy hop, for example, and you have to try and learn what hops taste like when they’re mixed up. You have to experiment a lot; one of the things we’re working on now is a mango beer!”
“I love mangos! I had a bunch of them out on tour recently. We wanted to do a beer style that was gonna be a little bit different for our first release, so we did a mango IPA. We used a lot of citrus hops, but we didn’t make it too bitter so that we could let that mango flavour really come through. We entered it in a competition in Baltimore, and it got third place!”
CONGRATULATIONS! THAT’S PRETTY COOL FOR YOUR FIRST GO, RIGHT?
“Yeah! That was the first time we had brewed it, and it got really good feedback. There were three judges, and they couldn’t decide whether we had too much mango, too little mango or just enough…”
IS BEER-BREWING SOMETHING THAT YOU NEED A LOT OF PATIENCE FOR?
“Some beers take a while. It’s just a big investment. It’s a lot to just start your own brewery from nothing and put something out there and say, ‘Here, try this.’ You’ve got to do something different. After this tour we’re gonna brew 300 gallons of mango IPA and get it out there. We’re gonna use a contract brew, and what that means is that we’re gonna use someone else’s brewery to do it, so we don’t have to go and take out a $200,000 loan.”
ON A SCALE OF 1-10, HOW METAL IS BREWING YOUR OWN BEER?
“I’d say a 9. It’s pretty metal, and it can be really metal. Sometimes it could be a 10, but if you look at this beer, that’s not that metal. Ha ha!”
*FOUND IN FAR AWAY PLACES* IS OUT NOW VIA FEARLESS. AUGUST BURNS RED TOUR THE UK THIS MONTH
Amazon has a ton of bundles available for every budding beer-maker. How about the sensibly named Brew Buddy Home Brew Starter Kit, which will send you on your way to making 40 pints of golden amber for a very reasonable £34.99?
If you want to challenge fellow brewers, the World Beer Cup is about as big as it gets. Pitting beer-making aficionados from around the world, you still have time to enter your brew if you sprint over to www.worldbeercup.org right now! Go on!
CAMRA – that’s the CAMpaign for Real Ale – is a UK-based organisation dedicated to discussing, exploring and protecting beery traditions in Ol Blighty. Pop to www.camra.org.uk to find out how to get involved.