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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • The homebrewing community is thought to be one of the solitary brewer standing forth at his mash tun or brew kettle, contemplating his next step or next brew.  Yes, there are homebrew clubs and such, but rarely do we get to see a couple that actually brews together.  Past experience, and quite a few, "That's nice, honey" has this writer heard from his own spouse while brewing.  We are excited to bring to CellarMonk our first husband and wife brewers.  From the way it sounds, this will be a lifelong endeavor.  Please welcome to the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame (Lara, women first ya know) and to the Not So Comfy Folding Chair of Fame (Paul).  Our first Brewing Duo!
    What we look like
    Lara Murphy (@urbanroutine) & Paul Hobson (@CrocusBehemoth)

    Day Job(s):
    Paul: I'm an editor. I read medical research by day and books by night.

    Lara: I work in the furniture industry, space planning and selling furniture for commercial dining spaces.

    When did you start homebrewing?
    Lara: I bought Paul an extract kit for Christmas in 2010. Our dog broke into the recipe box under the tree and ate most of the malt extract. The living room looked like a Columbian druglord had a party at our house--white powder everywhere. I just bought more extract, and put the box way up high!

    Paul: That first beer was a tripel, maybe not the best choice for a first-time homebrewer. We won't talk much about how it turned out. Plums and lighter fluid come to mind.

    What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
    Lara: We kind of got each other into it, after constant beer-drinking research together.

    Paul: And the more we researched the more we wanted to understand exactly what we were drinking---what we liked and why we liked it. Trying to brew it ourselves seemed like the best way to do that, and even though that first beer was a failure, we knew right away we were into this for good.

    Do you belong to a homebrew club? What is it?Porch Homebrewing
    Lara: We are kind of in two homebrew clubs. Because we are obsessed, and they are really fun.

    Paul: Yep. Nash Street Homebrew Club in Hillsborough, NC, and TRUB in Durham, NC. This is good for everyone, to be honest. We're able to talk at length with fellow obsessives without braining friends and family with all our beer blather. Plus, some of the best beer we've tried this year has come from bottles and growlers passed around at club meetings, which is really inspiring. I still think of the open-fermented, barrel-aged gose a friend of ours brought to a recent meeting.

    Where do you brew? Inside/outside?
    Paul: On our front porch. We'll brew under the covered portion when it rains, but we like to be exposed to the elements on brew day. 

    Lara: We have these big wide steps that give us a kind of pre-existing gravity system too. Very handy.

    Where do you ferment? Have you had to do anything creative to facilitate this?
    Lara: Depends on the beer. We have a nice cool shower stall, a warm attic, a drafty bedroom, and a kegerator for lagering. The kegerator build was intense. I built it in three days, rushing so it would be ready for a marzen Paul was brewing at the same time. I finished it literally as the yeast was pitched. It came down to the wire.

    Paul: That's the charm and curse of living in such a drafty old house. Any given day, you'll find us hustling carboys and buckets from one of these spots to another. Beyond that, the most creative thing we do is the standard cold water bath, swaddling a fermenter in t-shirts and submerging it in a few inches of cold water to drop the temperature a few extra crucial degrees.

  • 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.

  • A fellow North Carolina homebrewer joins us in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame for a Tar Heel homebrew interview.  Our homebrewer is plugged into most homebrew happenings in the state and publishes a blog to get the word out on what's going on in the NC hombrew community.  Please welcome and avid homebrewer with dreams beyond the kitchen, welcome Mr. Chris Creech @NChomebrewing

    Chris Creechinterview pic 158x228

    Day Job:  Project Manager for a Web Design Firm

    What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
    My college roommate was talking about his "bucket list," and one of the things on his list was to brew his own beer, so I looked at him and said, "we could do that." He sort of shrugged it off and was going to move on, but I said, "no, really, we could definitely do that now." So he said sure, and we did a little research and the two of us, along with 3 others, all chipped in a few bucks and we went to the store and bought a homebrew equipment kit and our first batch of ingredients.

    Do you belong to a homebrew club? What is it?
    I am on the email listserv for a few local clubs, and through my blog, I try to post events and news from both TRUB and CARBOY, among others. The group that I participate in most often is the Greater Raleigh Area Brewers and Suds Sippers, also known as GRABASS, which is more of a "brewing dis-organization," as some might say.

    Have you brought others into homebrewing? If so, how?
    I would like to think that my blog (http://NChomebrewing.com) has helped get some people into brewing, or at least helped them learn something new! I have also taught a couple of entry-level brewing classes for a local "Connoisseur Club" at Bub O'Malley's bar in Chapel Hill. Even my dad has gotten into it a little bit, when he received a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas a year or two ago.

  • 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!
  • 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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