Monday, March 10, 2008

The Brew Crew - Bearded Brewer

What is the Brew Crew?
The Brew Crew is a celebration of the 1st and 21st Amendment of the United States. The right to "Free Speech" and to "Homebrew". The Brew Crew is a legion of extract, partial mash and all grain brewers who blog funny, witty and serious posts on a daily and not so daily basis. I will be asking these brewers a series of questions and posting their answers on a weekly basis.

Let's begin by passing the mash paddle to the Bearded Brewer in Minnesota. His website is a great read, entertaining and has a creative line of brews and logos. Visit him at and I recommend you link his blog to yours!Cheers to the Bearded Brewer and welcome to the Brew Crew!

1) Why did you start brewing?
I started brewing after buying my dad a kit for Christmas about 6 years ago. I watched him make a lot of good beers, and once I moved into a space that I could do it in, I started brewing.

2) When did you start blogging?
Last year after my first Bearded Brewfest, my friends were interested in buying my beer and knowing what I had coming up. So with a lot of help from my friend Jeff, a computer guy, we started a website. I bought the domain and that worked for awhile. This past summer there was a software problem and we couldn't update the site. So I played around with to see how it worked and decided to just make the switch. I could do everything I wanted as the website and then I found this world of other people doing the same thing as me, and it kind of took off from there. Its been so cool to find other people who are just as big of dorks as me about beer! My friends didn't really get into it the way that people in the beer "blogosphere" do.

3) What is your favorite recipe/style to brew?
I really like brewing a lot of styles of beer, but I'd have to say white beers. I think they are really accessible to alot of people, yet you can really play around with the flavors. My two most popular beers amongst my friends are the Bangy Tangy and my Inky's White Ale. Both are white ales, but very different from one another. I brewed a porter this year that I thought was really good and a lot of people that don't like dark beers liked it. I'm excited to brew more porters, because I think its another style you can play with a lot.

4) What is your favorite technique to use?
Right now, I'm doing a partial mashing. I really like what I can do (or not need to do) with that technique. I've never tried all-grain.

5) What technique do you want to learn next?
Probably all-grain. Also, I'm interested in learning more about decoction mashes.

6) Do you brew self-sustainable?
I try to. I currently am collecting the water from my wort chiller during cool down and reusing it for cleaning and other things. I collect it in 2 7-gallon picnic water jugs. I'm also going to continue to attempt to grow hops. Last summer didn't turn out the I expected, but I'm hoping they come back. I'm really good about reusing my bottles and have trained my friends well to keep the empties. I'm slowly moving into kegging. I also use tap-a-drafts, which limits the amount of bottles.

7) What is your favorite blog to read?
There's a lot of great ones out there. I like reading Monday Night Brewery, Ted's Homebrew Blog, Bob Woodshed aka BW Beer Blog, Final Gravity. I'm always finding new ones.

8) Are you a member of a brewing club?
I'm not. No reason really, I'd like to start a sort of cyber-homebrew club where a bunch of us send each other beers when we can, and supporting each other's efforts. Especially, if some choose to go pro (like Monday Night Brewery), then there's a built in consumer base to support each other.

9) What is your favorite brewery?
There's so many I like, mostly mid western since they're the one I have the easiest access to. I'd say, New Glarus, Rogue, Summit, Bells, New Belgium. There's so much good craft beer out there. The couple of beers I've had from Stone Brewing Company have been excellent.

10) Do you want to turn pro?
I think every home brewer thinks about it at some point. Of'course there are times that I think it would be really awesome, but the truth is that I'm not really at the point that I would want to make that leap. Nor do I think I am anywhere near capable of making that leap.

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