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  • 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 Homebrewer

    Exactly as the name suggests.  Interviews conducted with various homebrewers from all over.

  • Interview with a Homebrewer - Ale-Conner

    We are very exited to bring you this next Interview with a Homebrewer.  Our next interviewee has a long history in the homebrewing and beer communities.  The author of two books (linked images below) as well as multiple articles in assorted beer and brewing publications, he has the homebrewing pedigree that most homebrewers (some professional brewers too) would love to have.  We bring to the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame, Mr. Marty Nachel. To find out more about Marty outside of this article, follow this link:  Ale-Conner
    Marty Nachel
    Marty Nachel

    Day Job:Formerly in the fields of welding and fabrication. Currently self-employed (Beer Writer, Beer and Brewing Instructor).

    When did you start homebrewing?
    In the Summer of 1985. By 1987 I was already dabbling with oak-aging my beer.

    What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
    I was really into beer and I figured the best way to learn more about it was to start brewing it myself -so I did.

    Do you belong to a homebrew club? What is it?
    At that time, I belonged to the Chicago Beer Society, but a few years later, a fellow CBS member and myself decided to start our own club closer to home. The Brewers of South Suburbia (B.O.S.S.) recently celebrated its 21st anniversary.

    Where do you brew? Inside/outside?
    Always inside...I feel I have much more control over overything.

    Where do you ferment? Have you had to do anything creative to facilitate this?
    In the Midwest, we're fortunate to have full concrete basements; these are great big beer storage rooms -especially in the winter.

    Do you have a pet name for your homebrewing enterprise? If so, can you give us a little background?
    I've kiddingly referred to my little operation it as "Bust-a-Nut Brewery", but never got serious about it. I don't bother with names and labels these days.

  • Interview with a Homebrewer - Cosentino Wire

    Kevin Cosentino & Friend

    In our ongoing interview series, we now subject our next homebrewer to the klieg light of fame.  When he's not banging away at his computer keyboard, our interviewee is hard at work on his next home brewed endeavor.  Let's hear it for Kevin Cosentino.

    Name: Kevin Cosentino

    Day Job:Software Engineer

    When did you start homebrewing?

    September 2006

    What got you into homebrewing?A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?

    My friend and I were sitting around drinking craft beer when a commercial for the Sam Adams homebrew competition came on. We figured it would be fun to brew our own, so we went out and bought a kit and ingredients, and brewed a pale ale later that day. Ever since drinking that first bottle, I've been hooked.

  • Interview with a Homebrewer - Microbe Man

    A hobby well chosen by our next featured homebrewer.  With a background in microbiology and chemistry, this brewer should have no problems working the finicky nature of some of beers complex ingredients.  Having brewed for quite some time also means he's moved from "kit" to "keg" (not sure if he kegs or not, but I needed something fluid to write).  Please welcome to the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame, Homebrew Dave Morton  - @dmonbeer.  Oh yeah, he hails from Altrincham, United Kingdom.

    1 Brewing IPA  drinking Extra Coffee Stout 304x228
    Dave Morton

    Day Job: Legionella Risk Assessor, although previously I've worked as a chemist & microbiologist for breweries.

    When did you start homebrewing?
    When I was about 17 - more than 20 years ago.

    What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
    I saw the kits in Boots The Chemist & wanted cheap alcohol. To have something I'd made myself was a small bonus back then. As time progresses, the palate refines & you get money in your pocket so you don't need a cheap source of alcohol anymore. Now I brew because I can make the beer styles I want better than some of those in the supermarket.

    Do you belong to a homebrew club? What is it?
    No. I have some homebrewing friends who share information & beers when we meet up.

    Where do you brew? Inside/outside?
    I brew on the patio outside the back door. I put the gazebo up in bad weather.

    Where do you ferment? Have you had to do anything creative to facilitate this?
    Ontop of the fridge where my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter can't get it! Its a bit tricky raising 40 pints of liquid above your head!

    Do you have a pet name for your homebrewing enterprise? If so, can you give us a little background?
    Hyperbole Brewery - 'cos all my beers are amazing! I like the word hyperbole as you can claim what you want & people (hopefully) know you're not being too serious. Also that some Americans might think its a sports fixture at the end of the regular season.

    How large are your batches?
    Almost exclusively 40 pints limited by the size of my mash tun.

  • Interview with a Homebrewer - NoCal Al

    Up next in our ongoing interview series is a man with drive and ambition to spare.  He comes to us from lovely Novato, CA.  When he's not out whipping someone into shape, he can probably be found whipping up his next batch of homebrew.  Let's give a warm cellar welcome for Mr. Alan Atha.  You can also find out more about Alan at his blog Beltane Brewing

    Name:   Alan Atha
    Day Job:  Personal Trainer/Cycling CoachPB050001
    When did you start homebrewing?
    I went full bore one year ago.
    What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest?  Sheer boredom?
    I had the flu and was in bed reading a Savor Magazine.  It had a great article on the new Italian Brewing scene and I loved the article.  I then went onto the web to delve further into this particular topic, having been in the Piedmont area and only drinking wine!  I immediately went out and bought a used set up, 15 gal capacity with pumps for a HERMS build.  This set up came with a 14.5 Blickman fermenter and I was set up!
  • Interview with a Homebrewer - Quick Study

    Imagine, as a homebrewer, having three months every summer with nothing to do but watch reruns.  Our newest homebrewer has just such a problem.  As a teacher (bravo), he has the summer months to himself and is making the most of it.  Having just started homebrewing late last year, this homebrewer is making up for lost time.  Welcome to the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame, Mr. Greg Yelland.  They teach psychology in high school?  

    Greg Yelland Greg Yelland

    Day Job: High School psychology teacher and varsity assistant baseball coach

    When did you start homebrewing?
    I brewed my first ever batch (Brewers Best Red Ale) on November 17th, 2011.

    What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
    I was in desperate need of a hobby. My wife travels for work a lot and I am stuck at home watching "Back to the Future" for the third time in the same weekend. I knew a couple of friends who homebrewed so I called them up. They gave me a list of items I would need to start, and I celebrated my 29th birthday by purchasing my beginners brewing kit.

    Do you belong to a homebrew club? What is it?
    Currently, no. But I do have a handful of friends who all come together on brew days and hang out. And because we brew at least once a month I guess it could constitute as a club. I suppose I should start collecting their dues...

    Where do you brew? Inside/outside?
    I began brewing in the kitchen. My wife didn't mind too much as long as I cleaned up promptly when I was finished... but I needed more space. I have gotten to be very OCD when it comes to setting up my brew days. I set up my turkey fryer outside along with a folding table. I lay out all of my equipment and resources to make sure everything is accounted for and clean. I have found that being outside makes the experience better for me, regardless of the cold Michigan winters. It is the same feeling you get sitting in the woods waiting for that monster buck... being outside in Michigan is a beautiful thing!

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