Login
Register

Home

Brew University

Brew Reviews

Brew News

Brews Traveler

Brew Community

About

 joinus  facebook 32  twitter 32  instagram 32  

head brewer

  • 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? 
    1996

    How long have you been brewmaster there? 
    1998

    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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Usine 2 320x240

    One of our favorite things here at CellarMonk is when we get the opportunity to engage with brewing professionals. From Germany to Great Britain, Belgium to the United States and around the world; we have had brewers from two and three man operations all the way to centuries old, world renowned breweries.


    Our interviews aim to not only show these brewers in their craft, but also to show them as the same as the rest of us outside the brewery. Our aim is to show that they may have the occasional bad batch, they too strive to get better at what they do  and that their ultimate goal is to provide the best beer (whether craft or crafted) to the consumer. Give them a read and try some of their offerings. Cheers!
    If you are a head brewer and would like to be profiled or a marketing manager that would like their brewer interviewed just send us an email.

    contactus

    Now, enjoy some interviews below!

Join Us

Help Us Grow!
Won't you join us in the Cellar for a few beers? CellarMonk~Beer is run by beer enthusiasts for the beer enthusiasts. A basic membership is always free and allows you to read, rate and review all beer entries and much more. Click below to create an account... and help us build a greater following!

   

joinus