Great Lakes Brewing News October/November 2011 : Page 1
O CT /N OV 2011 BEST IF READ BY VOLUME 16 NUMBER 5 ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Jim Herter S ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM Stating that Jimmy Carter was responsible for the success of the craft beer industry is akin to claiming Al Gore invented the internet-but in October of 1979, President Carter did sign HB 1307 that corrected a post-Prohi-bition oversight that only allowed private citizens to ferment wine. That was just the beginning. It took the discontent of a silent group of American beer drinkers, who were tired of the ubiquitous offering of insipid light pilsners, to bring the current success of craft brewing to fruition. Although it is difﬁ cult to See Craft Beer p. 6 DREAMSTIME By Julia Burke “WOW , you should open a brewery!” Many a skilled homebrew-er has heard these words. After all, homebrewers love beer enough to want to make their own, and it’s not long before many realize they love beer enough to invest time, energy, money and hours—with a healthy dose of blood, sweat, and tears—into sharing their beer with the world outside their front porch. A growing number of homebrewers are ﬁ nding that a nanobrew-ery is the best way to turn that dream into a reality. Rather than the multi-million-dollar investment a microbrewery represents, a “nano” (the term has no legal deﬁ nition, but generally implies a 4-bbl system or smaller) affords the chance to brew tiny, unique batches of beer intended to serve the local community. For some homebrew-ers, a nanobrewery is simply a way to sell their beer in the neighborhood; for others, it’s a step toward becoming a larger-scale microbrewery. And for drinkers, nano-breweries—with their miniscule batches of one-off, hard-to-ﬁ nd brews made with wacky ingredients and done in esoteric See Nano p. 3 Events .................................................... 2 Beer Queendom .................................... 8 Homebrewing ...................................... 10 Beer & Health .......................................11 Jolly Giant ........................................... 16 Maps & Directories ........................ 18-23 Cooking with Beer .............................. 24 Great Taste of Midwest ...................... 30 INSIDE State by State News Wisconsin ......... 12 N Wisconsin ..... 13 Michigan ........... 14 SE Michigan ..... 15 SW Michigan .... 16 Indiana .............. 25 I ll inois ............... 26 Chicago ............ 27 Minnesota ......... 28 Ohio .................. 32 New York .......... 33 W New York ...... 35 C New York ....... 37 Pennsylvania .... 36 Ontario .............. 38 Above-Omar Ansari, owner of Surly Brewing Co . and his alter-ego at left. PHOTO BY JIM ELLINGSON
Who Built The Craft Beer Industry?
Stating that Jimmy Carter was responsible for the success of the craft beer industry is akin to claiming Al Gore invented the internet-but in October of 1979, President Carter did sign HB 1307 that corrected a post-Prohibition oversight that only allowed private citizens to ferment wine. That was just the beginning. It took the discontent of a silent group of American beer drinkers, who were tired of the ubiquitous offering of insipid light pilsners, to bring the current success of craft brewing to fruition.
Although it is difficult to quantify, the percentage of professional craft brewers who started as homebrewers has to be north of ninety. Higher learning institutions, such as The Siebel Institute and UCDavis, have offered formal brewing science programs for nearly 150 years. However, it is apparent that the preponderance of modernday American brewers were graduated from the ‘School of Grass Roots Brewing’. Homebrewers’ creativity and sense of adventure can clearly be cited as a major force behind the resurrection of craft brewing in the Americas.
Relax. Don’t Worry…
Chris Johnson, Co-Founder and Brewmaster at People’s Brewing Company in Lafayette, Indiana is an alumnus of the homebrewing movement. In 1999, while attending Purdue University in pursuit of graphic design degree, he was exposed to homebrewing by his college friends and housemates. The reason was as much about pragmatism as it was about ‘age’. “It was simple,” Johnson said. “It was expensive to have a fake ID made. Some of my college friends were already into making their own homebrew and I soon followed with an extract kit for a West Coast Stout. I became so serious about making my own beer that I convinced one roommate to move into another room so we could convert the space into a fermentation and cooler room. We installed a thermostat on a window air conditioner and plugged the room vents. We were able to drop the temperature into the thirties.”
New-found devotees of craft brewed beer, Johnson and his group of friends began frequenting the Lafayette Brewing Company, Indiana’s third brew pub. Although he never joined the local homebrewing club, Johnson admits that his time spent at the pub was the impetus for his professional brewing career. He soon applied for a job with Greg Emig, Lafayette Brewing Company’s owner and a former homebrewer himself, and was on his way to a brewing career.
Johnson began at Lafayette in 2000 by helping then brewer Doug Ellenberger wash kegs and shovel spent mash—the glamorous part of brewing. He moved up to assistant brewer and within a few short months was trusted with brewing alone. In 2001, Ellenberger departed for Full Sail Brewing and Johnson took over as head brewer. After eight years of honing his brewing skills at Lafayette, Johnson and brother in law, Brett vander Plaats, decided to open People’s Brewing Company in the Summer of 2009.
Eureka Beer Moment
Doug Hurst of Metro Brewing in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood began down the path of amateur brewing a decade after it became legal to do so. “I started homebrewing in 1989 as a final project for a Botany 101 class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison,” offered Hurst. “It was taught by Professor Tim Allen who retired last year after 40 years at Madison. Apparently brewing was a popular project because the class became known as the ‘beer class’. This name was no doubt fostered by his assertions that human settlements and civilization originated because of a need to grow and control barley supplies in order to brew beer.”
Like so many homebrewers of the early days, Hurst cut his teeth on the ‘Complete Joy of Homebrewing’ by Charlie Papazian. And like most first generation homebrewers, Hurst favored ‘dark beers’ for their pronounced fl avors. By 2001 Hurst was homebrewing in earnest. “I’d spent the last few years learning as much as I possibly could about brewing,” he refl ected. “During an inspiring weekend with an old home brewing friend at the Real Ale Festival in Chicago, I suddenly blurted out, ‘we should open a brewery!’ I really meant it. This was the beginning of the long road to opening Metropolitan. With a little encouragement from my wife Tracy, I found an internship at a brewpub and enrolled in the diploma program at the Siebel Institute. After graduation Tracy and I began working on a business plan for Metropolitan Brewing.”
Unlike most professional brewers, Hurst favors German lagers and ales. “My ‘eureka’ beer was Franziskaner Hefeweizen,” he says. “I never knew beer could taste like that. Ironically, it was many years later that I tried to brew a wheat beer.” Hurst was infl uenced by the wide variety of lagers while studying for his Diploma in Brewing Technology in Munich. Although lagers take up to twice as long as ales, Hurst appreciated the delicate balance of malt and hops that are accentuated by a drier, crisper beer. Metropolitan’s first beer was brewed in December 2008.
Willingness to Learn
Paul Dickey of Cheshire Valley Brewing in Ontario started homebrewing in 1986. “There was a beer strike in Ontario and my father-in-law and I could not put up with the disruption in supply, so we started homebrewing,” stated Dickey. “[My father in law] went back to buying beer when the strike was over but I carried on.” It didn’t take long for Dickey to turn out drinkable homebrews: “We [made] some reasonable beer early on.
We were fortunate enough to have a couple of very helpful homebrew shops and we got advice on how to improve on kits right from the start. I was making partial grain batched after the first three.”
Dickey also purchased the ‘Complete Joy of Homebrewing’ and joined a local homebrew club. “The Canadian Amateur Brewers Association was run out of a local homebrew shop and the owner, Jake McKay, was particularly helpful,” continue Dickey. “He organized a conference each year and we had excellent speakers. The second year I was brewing. Michael Jackson was the speaker at the conference and judged my beer. It won best of show that year.”
The decision to become a professional brewer came about slowly. “After the annual conference I was sitting at the bar with [Michael Hancock] the brewer of Denison’s, a brew pub in Toronto,” he says. “I expressed an interest in brewing on a larger scale and he explained that he had no backup and had not been able to take a holiday since he had opened. We came to an agreement for an informal apprenticeship. I brewed once a month and within months I was able run the brewery. I would take holidays from my regular job and run the production of the brewpub while Michael took holidays. This went on for a number of years until I took an early retirement. At that time I was offered a position as head brewer at a brew pub in Burlington, a community west of Toronto.”
Dickey moved on to start Cheshire Valley Brewing and produces his beers under contract with Black Oak Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario. But he hasn’t forgotten the early days and their impact on his professional career. Some of the most important attributes of a good brewer he describes are “a willingness to learn, an obsession with cleaning and sanitation and a good palate.”
Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page both took a jazz player’s approach to virtuosity by never playing a song the same way twice, even though both understood the importance of skill and technique. Many professional brewers take the same approach. Although they understand the importance of science and process, they also understand that creativity is what makes the craft brewing industry great. This doublethink of the craft brewing industry seems to be born of early experiences by the Charlie Papazian and Dave Miller disciples. Each of these brewers and writers advocated the importance of art versus science: Papazian was more of a proponent of the whimsical and Miller espoused proper process and techniques.
The American Homebrewers Association estimates that there are roughly 500,000 amateur zymurgists in the United States. That means there are potentially an equal number of future professional craft brewers. No matter the path, whether it’s through the broken hearts of parents whose student dropped out of a promising college career, or a post-retirement tangent by a weekend hobbyist, one thing is for sure: without homebrewers there would clearly be no craft brew industry.
Read the full article at http://archive.brewingnews.com/article/Who+Built+The+Craft+Beer+Industry%3F/862982/83926/article.html.
“WOW, you should open a brewery!”
Many a skilled homebrewer has heard these words. After all, homebrewers love beer enough to want to make their own, and it’s not long before many realize they love beer enough to invest time, energy, money and hours—with a healthy dose of blood, sweat, and tears—into sharing their beer with the world outside their front porch. A growing number of homebrewers are finding that a nanobrewery is the best way to turn that dream into a reality.
Rather than the multi-million-dollar investment a microbrewery represents, a “nano” (the term has no legal definition, but generally implies a 4-bbl system or smaller) affords the chance to brew tiny, unique batches of beer intended to serve the local community. For some homebrewers, a nanobrewery is simply a way to sell their beer in the neighborhood; for others, it’s a step toward becoming a larger-scale microbrewery. And for drinkers, nanobreweries— with their miniscule batches of one-off, hard-to-find brews made with wacky ingredients and done in esoteric styles—are the hottest thing on the craft beer scene today.
Catching The Bug
The stories start in much the same way. An intrepid beer drinker is bored or frustrated with the products available and thinks it might be fun to make his or her own. “In college I started homebrewing, and the only reason was that I wasn’t old enough to go and buy beer,” recalls Darren Conner, brewer at Bier Brewery in Indiana. “I wasn’t willing to pay the money for a fake [ID], so I went and spent that money on a basic homebrewing setup.”
For college buddies Chris Spinelli and Jon Mervine of Rochester’s just-opened Roc Brewing, homebrewing was a way to stay out of trouble. “Jon and I didn’t have anything to do and my mother didn’t like that, so she paid the $100 and bought us our first homebrewing kit,” says Spinelli. “And brewing one weekend turned into three times a week turned into every day and taking over four different rooms in my parents house, they finally kicked us out.” When asked at what point they realized they wanted to start a brewery, Spinelli laughed. “The ridiculous part is, I would have to say that first day. We looked at each other and said, ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ We had pretty good jobs that we enjoyed, but at the end of the day, we thought, who wouldn’t want to do this?”
Once the brewing bug sets in, there are myriad ways of getting from point A to point B. While starting a full-fl edged microbrewery can seem an insurmountable goal, the costs and obstacles to a nanobrewery are more manageable. Rudy Watkins, co-owner and head brewer at soon-to-open Community Beer Works in Buffalo, New York, explains, “We didn’t necessarily want to have a brewery, we wanted to have just a homebrewing co-op. But New York State said no, you can’t do that.” So Watkins and his team, which comprises seven founder/ owners, took the next step and began work on a three-barrel nanobrewery. The size suits them. “It’s still hanging out with friends; it’s not some giant behemoth. We’re very informal people, and this is much less formal than if we had three million dollars invested.” Co-owner Ethan Cox adds, “[Nanobreweries[ each have a slightly different model and I think that’s cool. I think any way you can launch yourself into the business, more power to you.”
Darren Connor’s homebrewing passion led him to a job at Bloomington Brewing Company in Indiana followed by a ten-year stint at Great Fermentations, a homebrew shop. “My employment at Great Fermentations was great because it was ten years helping homebrewers brew beer and figuring out answers to every brewing problem one could ever imagine,” he says. “It was about year seven at Great Fermentations that the idea of opening a brewery was born. So over the next two and a half years, I spent just about all of my free time planning, writing up a business plan, and running numbers forwards and backwards. I had a feeling the brewery scene in Indy was going to explode with new places opening up and I wanted to make sure I was one of the first ones.”
The Creative Advantage
For Tim Eichinger at Black Husky Brewing in Wisconsin, demand for good beer in the area fueled his brewing dreams. “Pembine is in the very farthest corner of northeastern Wisconsin and I guess you could describe it as not having a great population density,” he explains. “When we started brewing and kegging beer we had to do something with it, and when you have free beer word travels pretty quickly.” Before long, Eichinger recalls, “We had six or eight beers on tap all the time, which is more than any bar in the area. I brewed almost sixty times one year!” Their fan base grew, Eichinger’s team decided to take the plunge, and Black Husky was born.
Ralph Morana already owned a respected watering hole in Toronto called barVolo; one day he decided he’d like to brew beer in the kitchen. “BarVolo was already known as a fine beer bar,” he says. “By introducing the pilot system [called House Ales], we felt that it would bring us to the next level as a beer destination.” Morana studied brewing at Brewlab in Sunderland, UK, and took courses at UC Davis and Siebel Institute. He currently brews on a single-barrel system. “Brewing is creating and that alone can give you satisfaction,” he says. “What makes the business exciting and interesting is that it gives me the opportunity to brew many styles of beer without being too concerned if the final product doesn’t turn out how you expect. The volume produced is small.”
That’s one of the biggest advantages of nanobrewing: the small scale offers limitless creative freedom, and with it, the cachet of originality so valued in the beer world. “I chose the smaller size brewing setup for the cost and for the variety I knew I was going to be able to produce,” says Conner, whose facility turns out about 10-12 bbls per week. “Right now we are running ten different yeast strains, so this is an advantage over most larger breweries that usually only run a few. We can make a Kölsch with the Kölsch yeast, or a Hefe with the Hefe yeast.”
Nanobreweries are also a test kitchen for brewers looking to expand to the micro level. Spinelli and Mervine of Roc are bridging this gap by partnering with nearby Rohrbach. “We have a one-barrel system here, and at Rohrbach we do a twenty-barrel production,” says Spinelli. This allows them to produce larger quantities of their crowdpleaser golden pale ale. “We go over there and brew it, our recipe, our ingredients; they’re really helpful, great guys,” Spinelli says. “Ultimately we want to put a sevento ten-barrel system in our Union location and try to get large-scale production, to be a regional brewery.”
Ups and Downs
So what’s the downside? Nanobrewing is grueling work for a small amount of beer. “I put in easily eighty-to-ninety-hour weeks,” says Conner. “The only product that we sell is beer, and if that is sub-par or not up to standards then Bier Brewery will not exist for very long.” Watkins anticipates that once Community Beer Works opens, they’ll be working 18 hour days. “That’s going to be fun for awhile, but eventually we’re going to say, ‘We could make ten times as much beer in a pretty similar amount of time.’” The CBW founders have an idea to maximize economies of scale while staying small. “A lot of people want to start breweries,” Cox points out. “We would like to get people interested in getting a malt collective so that up to a half dozen or more of us small guys can take advantage and stay small if we want.”
So, what does it take to start a nano? Fortunately, just about everyone in the craft beer community is happy to share advice. Some of the top suggestions:
Respect beer-and yourself. “Manage your expectations,” says Eichinger. “Running a brewery is not the same as brewing a handful of times every year and drinking in the back yard with your buddies. The first rule of being a professional brewer is to be professional. If you forget a hop addition because you sampled seven bottles of your friend’s barleywine while you were brewing at home, it’s no big deal. But if you oversparge a batch of beer and you have to dump it, and can’t fulfill deliveries because you were in the glue bucket, that’s bad business.”
Assemble a good team. The founders of Community Beer Works credit their diverse skill set with getting them this far. “There’s a bunch of us who all have different skills,” says Watkins. “None of us could have done this by ourselves. We have an architect that’s a partner, and I can’t imagine how much money he’s saved us.”
Collaborate. The benefits of teamwork can also extend beyond the brewery, says Morana, who has worked with several brewers in Ontario and Quebec since House Ales began last August. “It is also exciting when you are able to collaborate with other talented professional brewers and home brewers. You gain more knowledge and at the same time create a bond with that brewer.”
Consider the brewery experience. “We want this to be a destination,” says Spinelli of Roc’s sleek tasting room. “We have live music, a direct view of the sunset on downtown.” From funky lights and modern décor to tasty snacks and in-house events, Roc is already a cool hangout.
Marry the right person. “I love making beer,” says Conner. “I love the artistic side of it, the mechanical side of it, I love the end result. I love coming up with new recipes and learning something new every time we brew, and I love that our customers love our beer. Most of all though, I love my very, very understanding wife because if it wasn’t for her being there through the planning, opening and running of the business, I probably wouldn’t be able to do what I do best.”
Read the full article at http://archive.brewingnews.com/article/Nano+Brewing/862991/83926/article.html.