From buying the right equipment, to developing recipes to actually brewing the beer, our team takes you though the entire process of homebrewing
The adventurous spirit of the brewer gives life to the craft beer industry. From humble beginnings creating experimental homebrews to large scale operations, the way styles and ingredients revolutionize our palates is nothing short of incredible. That’s what gave me a real appreciation for Scratch Brewing Company whose philosophy of forage-to-keg brewing really tests what beer is capable of. I had to own their book “The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer From Scratch” after our fellow PorchDrinking writer David Nilsen covered it in loving detail.
Homebrewers are driven by the desire to make new recipes. Usually when we recreate an old recipe, we try to improve on past mistakes or change ingredients to make a better product. This is the one beer recipe I’ve made more than once thanks to it’s quality. I present to you my award-winning Top of the Morning Cream Ale!
The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer from Scratch (Countryman Press, 2016) by Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon and Ryan Tockstein
The folks at Scratch Brewing Co. are connected to the land around their brewery in ways few other brewers can boast. Secluded in the woods near Ava in southern Illinois, the Scratch gang doesn’t just use local malt and hops, they pull the ingredients that make their beers so unique from the terrain of the surrounding forest. Tree bark, leaves, mushrooms, berries, nuts, flowers, even plants many of us have been trained to think of as weeds—it’s all fair game for brewers Aaron Kleidon and Marika Josephson. Consequently, their beers have a quality of place—terroir, to use the fancy parlance—few other brews have.
ABV: 6.1 | IBU: 40
For any serious homebrewer, the ultimate dream is for one of their recipes to ultimately reach out to audiences beyond their immediate reach. Starr Hill Brewing, located in Crozet, Virginia, has made that dream a reality when recreating the Vernal Equinox English IPA.
ABV: 6.1 | IBU: 28 | OG: 1.057
When I was a greenhorn to the craft beer scene; I became the guy at beer shares who would bring accouterments in the form of fancy cheeses and cucumber/lime water. The flavored water ultimately served as the ultimate palate cleanser for event guests seeking to brush their weary tongues after too many barleywines and imperial stouts. Some people would even tell me they would come to a beer share or my homebrew club hearing cucumber/lime water would be there. Emerald Splash Cucumber Lime Saison is the result of people asking me to elevate that beverage to the next level.
Everybody needs a smooth, quenchable beer for any occasion no matter what time of year. Winter is a time for heavy, sweet bombs but not everyone can sit down next to the fireplace with a chalice every day of the week. Yet the temperature outside never slows down the innovation of the homebrewer. So as we trade in our lawnmower beers for snow-shoveling stouts, here’s drinkable porter that will warm you up in no time.
I know right now you’ve read the title and instantly assumed I am counter to everything that is right in the world. You are all chanting your fall mantras, “the spice expands consciousness, the spice is life and who controls the spice controls fall.” But I for one cannot take any more overly sweet, acrid, or overly spiced pumpkin beers. I think the problem is the gourd itself. Pumpkin, at least to the brewing process, primarily bring nothing but starches and very minor sweetness to the party. This inherently pushes the spices to the front and leaves nothing but the harsh wash of cinnamon on the palette. Enter the contender! Apple brings much more than pumpkin in the way of sweetness aroma, fall character, and a lasting drinkability that fits not just for early fall but all the way through Thanksgiving and into early December. A balanced apple pie presence to amplify an amber caramel and malt forward beer style is a match made in heaven.
Every year, more and more sinners are born.
They are conceived in the darkest part of hell, raised by the devil himself, and born into our world loving that which is most foul: Pumpkin Beer.
Picture this, fellow beer lovers: you are at a brewery and one of the beers is touted as a medal winner from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) or World Beer Cup (WBC). You order the beer; anticipated to fill it up in a growler to share with your buddies. After a lengthy sniff and thorough gulp, you realize that it’s good, maybe great, but not something you’d quite define as “award-winner.” Then you pull out your phone to cross-reference ratings and opinions through RateBeer, Beer Advocate, Untappd, etc…
It’s that time of year again, when brewers start brewing harvest beers. No, it’s not pumpkin season. It’s hop season!
While pumpkin beers are brewed earlier and earlier every year… and I have already seen a few Oktoberfest beers, I refuse to buy either until I brew a wet hop beer. It has become a tradition for me since I was first introduced to the idea of wet hopping a beer at Voss Farms in 2013.
Homebrewing isn’t just a hobby; it’s an art form defined by our country’s do-it-yourself spirit through combining dedicated scientific research and passionate culinary engineering. According to the American Homebrewers Association, there are approximately 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States after every state had legalized the act in 2013. Just as craft beer opens you up to whole new world of flavors, there’s infinite number of possibilities when you realize what you can make with your first homebrewing kit. And as you ignite this new exciting hobby, you really start to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into the industry as a whole.
Image from Eckraus.com.
She looks at him and raises the bottle to her lips. After taking a sip, she slowly lowers the beer in disbelief.
“You brewed this?” she asks.
“I did.” he replies with a grin. She sets the beer down and moves closer to him. He grabs her by the waist and they embrace in a passionate kiss.
“Shit!” I exclaim as the water overflows and my daydreaming fades away.
I sanitize the last bottle and place it on my bottling tree to dry. I’m almost ready to bottle two cases. I have already spent an hour preparing everything. My back hurts, my fingers are pruned, and I smell. Cleaning sucks. It’s not sexy, or romantic, or even mildly entertaining. It’s work.
I’m hesitant to write this, but in order to accurately tell his story, I have to tell mine.
I grew up in Aurora, Colorado, I was born and raised here, and I graduated with the same kids I met on the first day of school. Our city is a large-small town, meaning that everyone knows everyone. Even when I moved to college eight hours away in Durango; Aurora came with me.
On July 20th 2012 at 7:00 am I woke up and checked my phone to a report that a gunman had killed 12 people the night before. My heart sank. The shooting happened at Century 16, a theater I had gone to since the day it was built. I knew exactly where theater nine was. I could see it in my head. I immediately responded like most would, by scanning the internet for details about what had happened. The media was reporting that someone had opened fire, people were dead, and there weren’t a lot of details as to why. Soon more information came out and it all clicked. This was an attack on Aurora. This was an attack on my neighborhood, my high school, and my friends.
Welcome back to the delicious world of beer and food. It’s been a nice day outdoors, we started the day with fresh fruit and sweet cream followed by Lobster salad to keep the food light while the workload is heavy. Now that the sun has gone down and we have finished dinner, the air is feeling crisp and it’s time for dessert.
After a few beers I gained the cojones to start an email string suggesting the PorchDrinking team start homebrewing together. I’m humble about a lot of things I do, but dammit, I make damn good beer. All of my best friends can attest to that… or maybe I just have really nice friends. Either way, I decided to invite the team to my house to brew on my MacGyver’d homebrew setup and this is how we got started Homebrewing Gingerbread Stout.