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  • A Visit To Bhramari Brewing Company

    Bhramari Beer Board

    I recently had the opportunity to stop in at Bhramari Brewing Company during a recent visit to Asheville, North Carolina while my daughter worked at a wedding in town. 

    I would have to say that I quite enjoyed myself. Saturday afternoon, taproom not too busy (but I could see it becoming very busy later in the day). The building itself it quite large and broken into different seating sections. Plenty of seating is available around the taps as well as there being a quite large patio and another section the encompasses another corner of the bulding.

    The brewery's beer selection was quite extensive and there were also other alcoholic options (mixed drinks) available. There were two things that caught my eye about the Bhramari taproom though. The first thing that I noticed was that the brewery not only had the standard 5+% beers, but a beer that you don't see very often. Chair, a 3% Belgian Table beer. Table beers have all but vanished and it was nice to see a try at what was made for centuries for common folk. The other thing I found interesting was the ability to order a 'half'. Instead of having to order a full pint of a particular beer, you could order just a half pint (this was not available for all beers). I have been in myriad taprooms in the US in the last 20 years, but could count on two hands how many offered this size choice.

    There is a menu available for food choices (I won't recite the whole thing). I'll just say that the Spent Grain Pretzel that I had (with mustard, honey and jalapeno cheese) was very good and I think would go right with a majority of the beers on offer.  Service was friendly and quick. 

    Beers had: Astro Kitty, Blackberry Fluff and a half of Bumblestick

  • Brouwerij Kees

    All our beers are crafted with a passion for brewing and to delight our discerning beer-loving customers.

  • Interview with a Brewmaster - Maryland Malt Master

    A part of the "Featured Brewery" activities this month on CellarMonk, we are lucky enough to interview the head brewer for the DuClaw Brewing Company.  Since we are covering almost every aspect of DuClaw, it was time for their head brewer, Jim Wagner, to sit down in the comfy computer chair of fame and answer some of the most important questions ever asked of a brewer.  Not really, but they are good questions.  So sit back, grab a HellRazer IPA (available locally in Maryland, sorry) and read on.

    Name(s): Jim Wagner

    jimheadshot357Brewery Name: DuClaw Brewing Company

    When did the brewery start? 

    How long have you been brewmaster there? 

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art?  If not, how did you learn the craft? 
    No…home brewing since 1991

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
    Started pro with DuClaw in 1998

    How large is the brewery you currently brew for (# of barrels)?
    It is a 40bbl brewhouse with 5-40bbl and 5-80 bbl fermenters

    Is it automated or is there a lot of exercise involved in your brewery’s operation?
    Very little automation….other than the mash rakes; everything is handled by the brewer

  • Interview with a Head Brewer - Gimme Celt'er

    We've done quite a few interviews with head brewers in the past here, but none quite measure up to our latest. They were all good, but for sheer quirkyness our latest is a cut above. The Comfy Computer Chair of Fame had a hard time holding this brewer down. Fantastic interview nonetheless. Hold onto your hats and get to know our latest interviewee, The Celt Experience head brewer, Mr. Tom Newman. Remind us never to ask any more about "dogwhelks" (you'll understand).

    Tom, Thomas, Thomas G, George @CeltBrewershot

    Brewery Name:The Celt Experience ('Celt')

    How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
    Since 2003 officially

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft?
    No brewing masters, but I've trained in Belgium on Belgian brewing techniques at VLB Berlin in brewing microbiology, and studied microbiology in my science and engineering degrees. I have also been through a Brewlab programme and a Beer Academy 'sommelier' programme. I studied Environmental Pollution Science as my first degree, which included a study on 'the impact of marine pollution on dog whelks', which does not sound that interesting, but actually it is...There is a disorder called 'imposex' which actually causes female dogwhelks to grow a penis through an inducer called TBT. My colleague and close friend Steffane had the painful task of measuring female penis sizes for 6 months...

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)? When did you move to this location, or have you always been there?
    I started home brewing beer and wine in 1989 (at 14 years old) but worked first in the brew industry way back in 1991 at Butcombe brewery in Somerset. At the time they were seen as pioneers as they split from the norm. I had time for that. My job was cleaning out vessels, racking Butcome bitter and cask cleaning. I even cut the late Simon Whitmore's lawn on a few occasions! I became chartered in Water engineering in the mid nineties and worked on process at various cider factories and breweries including bulmers and Guinness in Park Royal. In 2003 I opened my own brewery in Banwell, Somerset with the help of George Thompson (former Mansfield head brewer). This was under the name of Newmans brewery (intentionally) and is where I learnt how to bugger things up, fix things, learn about how bad cheap hops are and generally spend life stressed. The brew plant was 4.5 BBLS. I lost most of my hair during this period... I moved to Yatton in 2005/6 converting an old railway building and designed a 20 BBL brewery. We only stayed there for a few years, but I really started getting to grasp off late hopping and US hops at this stage. In 2007 I move back to my fathers homeland of Caerphilly and decided I was at a level ready to release a cool brand stepping out of 'the old scene', which was when 'The Celt Experience' was launched. I designed and installed a 40 bbl plant with an automated bottling line. Initially we found some organic cascade, first gold and Nz hops which made me believe aromas suited using organic... But we took a U-turn on this in 2009 as it was restricting recipes. In 2009/10 we really started throwing in silly quantities of hops and using different yeasts, which was probably when out name started to really get some recognition outside of Wales. I feel like I am rambling, so I need to move on before I bore myself

  • Interview with a Head Brewer - Motoring Along

    From the birthplace of the ubiquitus 'Jeep' we have our latest interviewee. Taking time from his continued climb up the brewing ladder to answer these hard hitting interview questions (ha). Like many we profile here, this individual has made his way from homebrewer to pro. As you'll see though, this didn't happen overnight. The next Head Brewer to sit in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame, let's welcome Nate Bacher. 

    Bacher 3 CopyName(s): Nate Bacher

    Brewery Name: Recon Brewing (Have a look at the brewery notes for the explanation of the 'Jeep' reference)

    How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there? 3 years

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft?
    No formal training, I was a home brewer for 9 years prior to starting the brewery. I spent a lot of time reading books, researching techniques, attending informal trainings, and honing recipes.

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
    Prior to starting Recon and brewing commercially, I only brewed at my house. Started with a Mr Beer kit and slowly worked my way up to a 25 gallon all grain system then jumped to our 7 bbl system.

    How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?
    We are a 7 bbl brewhouse. Last year we produced 254 barrels of beer.

    Is it automated or is there a lot of exercise involved in your brewery's operation?
    There is quite a bit of exercise during a brewday….my excuse for never going to the gym. We do have an integrated manifold between the mash tun and boil kettle with mounted pumps all pre-piped and controlled from the main panel. It’s about as automated as I would like it to be.

    Have you ever had a bad batch? If so, how long did it take you to figure out what caused it?
    I had a bunch of not so great batches in my homebrew days, usually due to yeast or temperature issues. Knock on wood, since opening our doors we have not had a bad batch to date. I have become very particular about fermentation temps and yeast health.

    Is there more pressure put upon you as head brewer in a smallish brewery to try and match other small breweries in offerings?
    Absolutely, I try to ignore the urge to put up multiple taps of hazy IPAs and sours even though those sell the best. We decided early on that we would always have a wide selection of styles on tap at any given time. Our offerings usually consist of: stout or porter, west coast, hazy, fruited sour, wheat (hefe or wit), scotch ale, seasonal, lager, and our rotating “Karma Tap” (15% of the sales from our Karma Tap goes to a local charity each quarter).

    With all the breweries around you have to offer the popular styles but, in my opinion, you can’t forget the traditional brews too. Traditional, adjunct-free, styles give you a chance to show your brewing capability and win the hearts of transitioning craft beer drinkers. We started out of gate making some great lagers and people have come to know us for them.

    Can you give a hint if anything might be coming from your brewery (new brew, special brew, etc.)?
    We have our hazelnut white stout “Alabastard” coming out again soon. It has a local cult following and doesn’t last long in the taproom. Also we are going to be doing a large canning run this month and will be distributing cans of “Hit the East Side” a soft juice bomb hazy IPA; “Trail Rated Sour Series – Raspberry” a heavily fruited sour; and a new brew “Meeder Irish Red” in support of our upcoming second location in Cranberry Twp at the Meeder Crossroads.

  • Interview with a Head Brewer - Sole Man

    We are on somewhat of an English brewer kick at the moment with our head brewer interviews. The latest brewer was recommended to CellarMonk from an avid beer drinker (thanks @broadfordbrewer) and luckily he agreed to sit in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame (well, somewhat) and hold court on all aspects of his brewing life (well, the exciting bits at least). Please welcome to CellarMonk, the head brewer for Adnams Plc, Mr. Fergus Fitzgerald.

     Fergus Fitzgerald  @Solebear

    Brewery Name: Adnams Plc

    How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
    I joined in 2004 and became head brewer in 2008.

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft?
    I studied Biotechnology in Ireland, which touches on brewing, my formal brewing training then came on the job whilst training and studying for the IBD exams, http://www.ibd.org.uk/qualifications/examinations/ starting with the certificate in brewing, then the diploma and finally the Master brewer Exams.

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
    I studied Biotechnology in Ireland and then took up a temporary laboratory job at Fullers brewery in London, that was my first real introduction to brewing and it kickstarted my interest in brewing. That led to another temporary lab job in Murphys in Cork, and then back to Fullers for a second time for a permanent job in 1997. I then circled my way around the brewery, going through various quality and production jobs. During this time I'd passed the diploma in brewing exams which gave me the chance to move into the brewhouse. I then moved up to Adnams as assistant head brewer in 2004, working under the then head brewer Mike Powell-Evans.

    Mike retired in 2008 having installed a new brewhouse in 2007 and I took over as head brewer.

    When did you move to this location, or have you always been there?
    I moved up here from London in 2004, we were actually looking to move to the North West, closer to my wifes family but the job at Adnams came up and it was too good to turn down.

  • Interview with a Head Brewer - Step by Step

    Our return to interviews. Our first interview in a while has us posing questions to someone we can safely say has taken his career in brewing step by step. Incrementally making his way in the brewing industry and at this point achieving the goal of most homebrewers, to be brewing professionally. Come read along of the journey that the latest brewer to sit in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame took to his current position and please welcome the Head Brewer for Broad Ripple Brewpub, Jonathon Mullen.

    Name(s):  Jonathon MullensBroad Ripple Brew Pub

    Brewery Name:  Broad Ripple Brewpub

    How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
    I have been the only brewer here 5years come November.

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft?
    No true
    formal training hence the reason I did not list myself as a brewmaster in the previous question. Ihoned my skills as a brewer starting as a home brewer. During that time I became BJCPcertified which helped me better understand my mistakes. Counting my homebrewing years, Ihave been brewing for over 12 years now.

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
    I started at a
    brewery called Union Brewing Company when they first opened their doors in 2013 helping withbrewing and cellaring part
    time while still sitting at a desk during the day. In 2014, I started at a
    brewery called Flat 12 starting with packaging and cleaning kegs.
    Spending a short time of
    about 5 months there as I was beginning training for the brew deck, I landed the job here atBroad Ripple Brew Pub as the brewer where I do everything from brewing, cleaning, cellaring,selling and deliveries among other odds and ends.

    How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?
    The brewery is a 7 bbl system and we rock
    about 500 bbls a year.

    Is it automated or is there a lot of exercise involved in your brewery's operation?
    What’s this
    automation you speak of? Kidding… It’s pretty manual process that needs a lot of attention fromstart to finish during the lifespan
    of the brews. So to answer the question, a lot of exercise is
    involved and like almost every brewery out there it can be like working in a sauna.

  • Interview with a Head Brewer/Brewmaster - Properly Vetted

    Just in time for their 3rd Anniversary and with Veterans Day having just passed, we bring you the latest brewer courageous enough to sit in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame. Swatting away our grueling questions as if they were just practice targets, CellarMonk is proud to present to you Navy veteran and head brewer for Railhouse Brewing, Mr. Brian Evitts. SALUTE.

    Name(s): Brian EvittsBrian Evitts

    Brewery Name: Railhouse Brewery      

    How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
    Three years, since Railhouse’s inception. Our third anniversary is December 1. 

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art?  If not, how did you learn the craft?
    I learned by home brewing for 15 years--10 years all grain. I also had 8 years working in a chemistry background in the US Navy. Before opening the brewery, I knew I needed some commercial training, so I took a course with the World Brewing Academy, Siebel Institute of Technology.  

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
    Railhouse Brewery is my first commercial brewery experience. I had brewed for 15+ years as a home brewer and studied extensively on my own (home and commercial brewing text books, online courses, blogs).  

    How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?
    Last year's production was just under 1,400 barrels. We expect that to double next year. We’ve purchased an additional conditioning tank to allow us to increase capacity.

    Is it automated or is there a lot of exercise involved in your brewery's operation?
    Very manual, almost no automation. We still stir in the mash manually! Only automation is our solenoids to keep temps stable. We recently purchased a new bottling machine and labeler, though it will be a couple more weeks until we have them up and running.

    Have you ever had a bad batch?  If so, how long did it take you to figure out what caused it?  
    Yes, we had three bad batches in the first year. It was due to us using open fermentation tanks, and we did not have enough of a positive pressure environment so we had some sour beer straight from the fermenter. Took us about three weeks to fix the issue.

  • Interview with the Industry - Belgian Bio Brewer

    Like most breweries, Brasserie de Brunehaut has their stable of standard beers (by Belgian standards). These include a blonde, a dark and a tripel all brewed under marc-antoine-bxlesthe Abbeye St. Martin banner. What is setting Brunehaut apart is their additon of a completely organic line of beers. The brewery grows its own barley and wheat and in a nod to the green movement, packages some of their wares in recyclable kegs. 
    We had to the opportunity to interview the man in charge of it all, Mr. Marc-Antoine De Mees (Director of Brewing and CEO of Brunehaut), about his thoughts on the brewery and the brewing industry in general. So, from the transatlantic comfy computer chair of fame, our interview with a brewer trying to make a difference in the world (however small).

    Read on my friends...

    Questions for you as a Director of Brewing

    Name(s): Marc-Antoine De Mees

    Brewery Name: Brasserie de Brunehaut

    When did the brewery start?
    August 7, 1890

    Where is the brewery located? Has it always been there?
    In Brunehaut – south Belgium, near Tournai. For the 100th anniversary in 1990, the brewery moved a few miles from its original location into two modern buildings and a shipping warehouse.

    How large is Brasserie de Brunehaut?
    The brewery is huge! (laughing) We brewed 3000 hl last year. That represents 2 minutes and 23 seconds of annual AB-Inbev production. That Einstein fellow wrote about the law of the relativity. Brasssserie Brunhaut is relatively microscopic.

    Is there anything about your brewery that makes it unique? Or is it just a bunch of shiny metal and hoses?
    First, being from 1890, our brewhouse features some old (not so shiny anymore) copper. Many Belgian brewers believe copper gives the magic touch in the mashing of the brew.... and eventually makes the best beers.  Something unique to us is that we grow our own barley our own farm. So, we maintain quality control from the field to the glass! We are also constantly researching and testing “legacy” barley varieties, hoping to yield even more body on our beers.

  • Our Interviews with the Industry

    Our Interviews with the Industry

    The craft beer world has exploded in the last fifteen years to become something almost unrecognizable. Where once a city may have had one or two breweries, many now have ten to twenty. Some of these are of course brewpubs, yet a vast number are production breweries brewing for the retail market. WIth his explosion in breweries comes a host of new positions withing the craft beer industry. From cellarman to sales rep, brewery fabrication to publican, the industry is creating jobs at a frantic pace.

    We here at CellarMonk want to get to know the less glamourous jobs out there. Head Brewers and brewmasters tend to get most of the glory, but there are vital jobs being done behind the scenes to make things run efficiently and effectively.

    If you think you know someone that might be interested being interviewed about their job inside the industry.

    Our Industry Interviews are below

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