What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?
I work in the market research industry as a senior research manager. My day to day is client communication, analyzing data, and writing / presenting reports.
What got you into homebrewing?
I went on a west end brewery tour a few years ago, and the guide (I think his name was Reese) was talking about homebrewing and how easily you could get into it with basic gear. After doing countless hours of research through books, podcasts, online reading, etc., I jumped into it headfirst with an all grain BIAB setup.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of homebrewing?
I’m very much a hobbyist; I do yoga, ride horses, play D&D, garden, and recently I’ve taken up biking.
How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?
I’ve been brewing for just over three years, and last year I brewed around 40 batches.
Do you have any favorite styles you like to brew?
I’ve gone through so many phases of brewing different styles (right now I’m making lots of Belgians and mixed ferms), but I always come back to German styles as they are pretty much my favourite. Give me Altbier, Kolsch, Vienna, or Bock and I’ll be very happy. These days I’ve been leaning more towards the malty side of German brewing.
What kind of setup do you use?
I used a BIAB propane system for my first 18 months, but I ended up winning a Robobrew at the ALES competition for a second place BOS. While I was skeptical at first about brew-in-one systems, after using it a few times, I’ve never looked back. I quickly realized that I can easily step mash, preheat before waking up in the morning and never worry about boiling over with electric brewing.
I prefer to brew outside on a nice day, enjoying the garden with my 3 cats. On the less nice days, and during winter, I fall back on brewing the garage where it’s warmer (and less rainy).
What is the worst beer you have brewed?
I had one batch a long time ago that I had to dump (forget what it was) but it clearly had stressed yeast and ended up with an off flavour. It was disappointing, so I didn’t let anyone taste it. It had to be disposed of.
What is the best beer you have brewed?
I think my most consistent competition beer is my Storm King Kolsch (check it out in the club recipe database here), a delicious summer crusher with enough esters to keep it interesting. My favourite these days is probably my Vienna lager - malty deliciousness.
What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?
Do your research! I know everyone learns differently, so whether it’s chatting with other homebrewers, watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, reading recipes, etc. It all helps by teaching good practices and gives inspiration to what you can try next.
Other than that I’d say that while that stainless steel is glorious, you can make amazing beer with fairly basic gear – focus on controlling your fermentation temp, pitching healthy yeast, and don’t overthink / over complicate your recipe.
What beer is your white whale, one that you've been chasing to perfect?
I think, like many, chasing that perfect NEIPA is always a challenge. It’s very hard to balance hop bitterness (even with only whirlpool/dry hops) while chasing that extremely high aroma and flavour. While fairly successful, I think where I’ve landed is that I’ll rely on the countless great commercial examples and I’ll focus my efforts on amazing/complex mixed fermentations with very unique adjuncts (fruits / spices).
Do you have a name for your homebrewery?
Yesss, Dungeons and Flagons Brewing Co., combining my love for nerdy table top games and homebrewing. Check me out at @dungeons_and_flagons_brewing on Instagram.