Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Brew Crew - CNYBrew

What is the Brew Crew?
The Brew Crew is a celebration of 1st and 21st Amendments 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.Next, we will pass the mash paddle to the east coast in New York and visit Travis's an innovative brewer and blogger at And, funny man!

1) When/Why did you start brewing?
About 4 years ago is the when, the why is a pretty funny story-I was in college visiting alumni from my fraternity in Rochester. One of the guys was named Spike. While I was over at Spikes place enjoying life after 10 Ugly Men (a local festival of good beer) and he took us into the basement where he had a poll table and a keg fridge with two taps. I was totally impressed. But then when he told me it was his beer on both taps, I realized this man had the world by the balls. From that point on I not only wanted to homebrew, but have my beer on tap.

2) When/Why did you start blogging?
I am in software and was doing a lot of reading about this new "blogging" phenomenon. Since I was pretty bad about keeping my beer log, I decided this might be a good medium to utilize for logging my beers and stats. So I started Beer Logging. The idea is that people can observe and comment on your brewing. I think it's working out pretty well. It's about the same 8-10 people that make comments, but it's developed into a community.

3) What is your favorite recipe/style to brew?
Doppelbock, I love to decoct. It's work but its so much fun and it's really rewarding when you get that roasty malt flavor out. I have also begun to love lagers a lot more. It requires patients and space in your fridge, but the results are well worth it.

4) What is your favorite brewing technique to use?
Whatever works, I guess single infusion because it's what we do most of the time, but like I said, I like recipes with decocts.

5) What is your favorite piece of brewing equipment to use?
Usually whatever is the newest in my arsenal. For example, I was in Home Depot yesterday and I saw this thing that's like an auger that you use like a long drill bit. It's meant for stirring and mixing paint, but it's going to be used for properly stirring mash. I have not been able to stop thinking about how damn cool it's going to be if it works like I want it to (even though it won't and it'll quickly lose favor with me, alas, the law of diminishing returns works its magic).

6) What brewing technique do you want to learn next?
Not sure, I usually get inspired every time BYO comes and there is something in there I have not tried. I guess doughing in has been on mind as of late. I have never done a 3 or 4 step mash with a long dough in. It we do a big beer, I might employ something like that.

7) Do you brew self-sustainable and/or organically?
Self-sustainable is a really cool idea and I am all about it where ever possible. I liken myself a bit of an enviro-geek so I like the idea. With that said, I haven't had luck so far with growing my own hops and roasting my own malt is a little over the top for me. Plus, I like to support Ed and EJ Wren, my LHBS. I want to give organic malt a try, but because I am not going to build new equipment for the sake of being truly organic, I will likely just mix it with some non-organic ingredients.

8) What is your favorite blog to read?
I have to five credit where credit is due, Ted writes a heck of a blog. He is a lot more thorough than I am and I like that. My least favorite to read is Monday Night Brewery, it angers the blood. That Bryan Adams, I just hate him so much.

9) Are you a member of a brewing club or American Homebrew Association?
I am a member of the Salt City Brew Club here in Syracuse. It's a great club with a really strong and knowledgeable membership. Any given meeting you'll have two or three master brewers and high ranking judges. I am not a member of the AHA, but I should join.

10) What is your favorite brewery(s)?
Locally it's Saranac. They don't get enough respect for what they do. Great beer at a great price. Also, Landmark brewing company is an up and coming local brewery with some good beers. Nationally, it's New Belgium. I was SO impressed with their brewery and their company vibe, it's really a thing to behold.

11) Do you want to turn pro or have you worked in a brewery? If so, which one(s).
No and no. This is a hobby and that's how I want it to stay. When I was young I was a really good snowboarder and started to pursue sponsorship. It sucked. I couldn't do what I wanted anymore, because I had to get footage and spend all day trying to make a video. I think the same thing with brewing. I brew what I want, how I want and that's the way I like it.

12) In a perfect world which brewery would you like to be the brewmaster?
It is a perfect world. I am the co-brewmaster at Look Kinney Cir Brewing. Honestly, I couldn't ask for more.

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