What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?
I am the General Manager at Folly Brewpub! We were recently purchased by new owners and have undergone some major renovations in the restaurant and brewhouse. I would love to show you what we have going on, so come on by and say hi!
What got you into homebrewing?
I have always worked in restaurants and started off in the back of house cooking. When I took the step into bartending, I loved developing cocktails as it combined my love of people with my love of creating culinary delights. The deeper I got into working at beer bars, the more I knew that brewing was going to be my next step. Being able to create something so delicious is magical and brings me excitement and joy every time. I also love the freedom I have to create anything I want, so I am not just limited to what's available on the market.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of homebrewing?
I am a hula hoop and fire dancer as well as an amateur forager. The kingdom fungi is cool.
How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?
I have been brewing for about 3 years. In the past year I brewed 14 batches of beer as well as a piquette and a cider.
Do you have any favorite styles you like to brew?
I love experimenting with brettanomyces in different styles, even though I get ridiculously stressed about airborne contamination every time (yet to have an issue though!). Other than that, I like to brew NEIPAs and fruited beers.
Do you have any certifications related to beer and/or homebrewing (BJCP, Cicerone, etc…)?
I am a Certified Cicerone, and also have my level 3 Prud’Homme. BJCP will hopefully happen in October!
What kind of setup do you use?
My setup is pretty basic with an igloo cooler mash tun with a bazooka screen and some huge pots that I acquired from a restaurant that I use as my kettle. I boil straight on my gas stove in my kitchen and use glass carboys or buckets for fermentation.
What is the best beer you have brewed?
Oooh that's a toughie. I’m going to say Smokey Jack last year, which was a smoked pumpkin ale. I even got pumpkin beer haters to enjoy it, so that says a lot.
What is the worst beer you have brewed?
For sure my second batch, which was my first all grain batch. I brewed a NEIPA and made A LOT of mistakes, the worst of which was not filtering the hops out properly (or at all?). Some bottles were bearable, but most were gushers full of hop sediment. I apologize to the guy who gave me his old wort chiller and you received this terrible NEIPA in return. I never did hear the feedback you said you would give me, most likely because there was nothing nice to say. If you’re reading this, I owe you good beer, so hit me up!
What did you learn from that worst beer?
‘Unfiltered’ beer is not always good haha. I now use cheesecloth exclusively for my dry hopping and a hop spider (honestly just a restaurant china cap) during the boil.
What is a change you have implemented that you feel made a big improvement in your beer?
I would say building my keezer!! Too many times I let a beer sit for too long because I was lazy and didn’t want to deal with having to bottle it. Once I built my beautiful keezer, my life changed. I wanted to brew so much more, which in turn has made me a better brewer. Otherwise, I would say temperature control, although I still don't have as much control on that as I would like due to space restrictions.
What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?
There is so much information out there for you, with podcasts being my method of choice- Brulosophy and Experimental Brewing are my favourites! You may think you know a lot about beer already, but the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. It’s incredible how much there is to learn. Also, don't think you're going to save money on beer by brewing your own. I constantly have people asking me how much money I save and I just laugh. You WILL get addicted and want all of the fun things.
What beer is your white whale, one that you've been chasing to perfect?
My wit! I’ve tried a few times to do a successful cereal mash, but I am clearly doing something wrong and it results in a low ABV beer every time. That being said, I always end up doing something fun with it to make it great like adding fruit or brett, but I still have not achieved a nice clean wit. One day?
Do you have a name for your homebrewery?