What's your day job?
I have been working in the Information Technology field for the last 14 years and currently work in a Team Lead role for a local Software company.
Being in IT has allowed me to develop my technical skillset further and troubleshoot problems daily with a diagnostic approach. I think in some ways this has helped in homebrewing since you do need to do some troubleshooting every so often.
I have been lucky enough to travel to some pretty cool places such as Sydney, Australia and Berlin, Germany, which has allowed me also to check out their beer scenes.
What or who got you into homebrewing? When was it?
I have always had a passion for craft beer and trying to visit as many breweries as possible in any place I would visit. Back in March 2017, I had bought the Northern Brewer Homebrewing essentials starter kit which included a recipe for a Block Party Amber ale. I brewed my first batch of beer which was very similar to a New Belgium Fat Tire, and I was immediately hooked.
A few months later, I then bought another three extract kits from Northern Brewer and was able to experiment with several other styles.
About a year later, I switched to a Brew in a Bag system which allowed for better control over the ingredients I was using. I do have to thank my wonderful wife, Anna, for putting up with this time consuming and pricey hobby and being my research assistant for coming up with new styles and beer names.
Can you tell us an interesting story about homebrewing?
For anyone who first gets into homebrewing, it is uncharted territory. You can either do a ton of research along the way or just wing it. I chose the route of continuing to research and plan before I attempt a recipe. The scale I brew at is not nearly as expensive as what a microbrewery would brew at, but I still want to avoid having to dump a batch of bad beer if I don’t have to. I remember the first beer I brewed; I was constantly looking at the fermentation and checking gravity which ends up wasting good beer since you have to pull a sample each time to check the gravity.
This is where I believe PLAATO Airlock would come in handy. Now that I am about 30 some recipes in, I feel like I have seen and experienced a lot over the past 3 years of homebrewing. There are still things that can stump you and make you continuously research until you find the answer you are looking for. Recently I had a beer that had a weird thick haze to it while in the fermenter but tasted fine. This was my first Saison so I wasn’t sure if that was normal for the yeast I used. After researching and asking some fellow homebrewers, rest assured the beer was fine and it was well enjoyed while consumed.
How is brewing a social thing for you? Do you like brewing with others?
Over the last year, I got involved in a local homebrew club called the Brewly, which offered the opportunity to gather with several other people that had the same passion for homebrewing as I do. We would meet at either a local brewery or the local homebrew shop “Cleveland Brew shop” once a month, discuss homebrewing techniques, share stories and most importantly share our own created brews. I have been able to do a collab with another club member and then also have taught several friends and relatives about the brewing process. The community around homebrewing is so big, that there are many ways to get feedback and help on learning new techniques. I do a majority of my brewing myself since it allows me to dial in my recipes, but I am always open to collaborating on a brew.
Our homebrew club has done in-club competitions such as Beer Cocktails as well as brewery bar crawls and it’s just nice to meet with a group who also has such a passion around craft beer. We’ve even gotten to brew together at production breweries. A few of us were lucky enough to go to Little Fish Brewing Company in Athens, OH to brew one of our member’s beers that took best of show in a local competition.