Know the Homebrewer: Ale Mercado - PLAATO

Know the Homebrewer: Ale Mercado


Get to know Alexandra Mercado Correa, Ale for short, aka The Growler Lady on IG.


Ale is a creative freelance graphic designer and a bartender in the Caribeean island of Puerto Rico.


She also combines those two passions by providing awesome merchandising beer related designs for lover brewer like us!




What's your day job?

I am a freelance graphic designer and bartender at an amazing bar called La Esquinita Beer Garden in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.


What or who got you into homebrewing? When was it?

I had been thinking about homebrewing for many years, but I thought it was really hard and expensive. When I started visiting La Esquinita (the bar I'm currently working at), there were days they had seminars about beer and homebrewing and even some homebrew days. I always enjoyed going to them and the bottle shares and tastings they had. It wasn't until I started dating my boyfriend about a year and a half ago, who had been homebrewing for years, that I got the opportunity to try it out for myself.


Can you tell us an interesting story about homebrewing?

During one of our IPA batches, we decided we would try to do a hop trub 'dump' since we use a conical fermenter. Well, let's say we managed to 'dump' hops all over the garage and ourselves. It ended up being hilarious and served as a lesson to work out some kinks in the process.


How is brewing a social thing for you? Do you like brewing with others?

Most of my homebrewing "career" has been during the pandemic, so I haven't had the opportunity to brew with others. I look forward to it!


- Ale, her boyfriend and dog. - Dog's treats made out grain!


What advice would you like to give to other homebrewers?

Don't give up if your first couple of batches turn out with some off flavours or not 100% exactly how you expect them to.

Homebrewing is super fun, and you will get the hang of it fairly quickly if you enjoy and appreciate every moment.
Plus, don't throw out the spent grains; you can make a lot of cool stuff. I made some dog treats with a batch, and my dog LOVED THEM.


What is the best beer you ever made? And the worst?

IPA!.....and IPA.


Tell us about your favorite styles to brew.

I enjoy drinking IPAs the most so I'm naturally attracted to brewing them. It's a delicious style and has a lot of details you need to nail to make a great one.


Tell us about your brewing plans for the future.

I currently have a Gose recipe that I'm working on. It will be my first sour beer, and I'm planning on adding ginger and hibiscus after I keg it.

- Ale's equipment and brewing's process.


What is your experience with Kveik?

I haven't tried it yet, but there's a pack in the fridge!


What equipment do you use and why? 

I currently use a Grainfather and an Ss Brewtech conical fermenter. Pretty high-tech for a beginner but these are the perks of having an experienced homebrewer as my boyfriend ;)


- Ale's beer inspiring designs.


Are you satisfied with that or are you thinking about upgrading?

The equipment I've used has been awesome so far. There's always something on the wish list, but we are pleased with the current setup.


How are your experiences with PLAATO Airlock and PLAATO Keg?
What do you think of being able to share the hobby with wifi-connected devices?

We've had our Plaato Keg for about five months now, and it has been very helpful to keep track of our beer consumption. We don't own a Plaato Airlock but it seems it would be super convenient to have an idea of where the gravity on a beer is without having to risk O2 exposure. I'm lucky to have so many cool brewing gadgets nowadays!



" Homebrewing is super fun, and you will get the hang of it fairly quickly if you enjoy and appreciate every moment. "


Do you have an unpopular opinion about homebrewing?

I love the hobby. I think the only downside is the amount of cleaning involved. I think any homebrewer would agree!


Any closing thoughts?

Like the great Charlie Papazian says - "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew!"

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