Monday, July 5, 2010

Summary Round-Up of Session #41: Craft Beer Inspired by Homebrewing

Welcome to The Session – a collaboration of bloggers writing on a common beer-related topic. For July, we at Lug Wrench Brewing Co. had the opportunity to choose the topic: Craft Beer Inspired by Homebrewing as the collective subject for everyone to explore and write about. You can read more about Beer Blogging Friday (“The Session”) over at the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

With another "Session" come and gone, it was time to round up all the contributions and put them together as closure for 41st edition of Beer Blogging Friday.  Listing the contributions in the chronological order they came in, here is what was said ...
  • Mike at Beer Made Clear contributed his take on the topic by talking about the Letter of Marque homebrew competition - a comp put on by Heavy Seas Brewery (formerly Clipper City), where the winning recipe gets put in a Heavy Seas bottle.  "(Heavy Seas') Letter of Marque is both an homage to the crazy creations of home brewers AND a way to lend legitimacy to brewers who never believed their recipes would be bottled and shipped across state lines to a wider audience."
  • Greg at the Pour Curator takes a spin on the topic and wrote about "craft beer art inspired by homebrewing".  Selecting the Rube Goldberg-styled artwork of Jason Roberson featured in Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp marketing, Greg discusses the advantages how "it's actually a fairly astonishing amount of work for a side project to which many breweries would not devote an entire (Beer Camp) site, let alone an artistic undertaking of this size". 
  • The Beer Nut give us the Irish perspective of homebrewing's influence on craft beer.  Weaving in a review of Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout Highland Edition, The Beer Nut also provides a wonderful lament on the misconception by some on homebrewing.  "I always find it strange that someone would turn their nose up at a homemade beer ... while regarding anything else homemade to be of superior quality to the pre-packaged factory-made alternative".
  • Nemsis at took a linguistic approach to the topic.  By examining several brewering terms from historical times, the post states "so many words that are commonplace today and are not used to describe beer or brewing anymore have their origins in those most revered areas of life."
  • Joe over at the Thirsty Pilgrim discusses the inspiration for one of his recent homebrews - and speculates all commercial beers that were once probably homebrews themselves.  "It's got German pilsener malt and British and American hops. Certain Belgian and British ales inspired its low alcohol and high drinkability. In its conception it were equal parts Taylor's Landlord, Taras Boulba and Sierra Nevada."
  • Sean at Beer Search Party describes his theory for how to normalize the gender discrepancy seen in commercial brewers.  "My theory is that home brewing is the minor leagues for the craft beer world. That means the more women brewing at home means the better the chance that they might go pro."
  • Derrick the Beer Runner uses the title "How Jimmy Carter Unwittingly Created the 'Disruptive Technology' That Launched the Craft Brewing Revolution" to remind us how the obscure tax bill Jimmy Carter signed into law in 1978 has had such an effect on today's beer market.
  • Stan at the Appellation Beer blog brings forth and discusses one of the winners of the 2009 Sam Adams LongShot contest: Ben Miller's American Barleywine.  "I’ve had the homebrewed version, the batch that Boston Beer brought to the (GABF) when it was announced Ben Miller’s recipe was one of the two winners, right when it was released in April and just the other day. Never quite the same, but that’s an aside."
  • Over at the Reluctant Scooper, the homebrew origins for Thornbridge Brewery's black IPA ('Raven') is described.  So what does a professional brewer who turns their homebrew recipes into a commercial success do next?  Keep homebrewing of course.  "Because homebrewers don't stop being homebrewers just because they turn pro. Here's the experimentation, the craftsmanship."
  • Brian at the Beer Odyssey reminds us that beer companies, whether small or large, were most likely were started from homebrewing.  "Somehow, in these people's eyes, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen, and New Belgium Fat Tire are so far removed from small batch craft beers ... beyond a shadow of a doubt, these beers were first brewed on systems smaller that most mid-sized craft breweries' pilot systems."
  • Thomas at Geistbear Brewing Blog reflects on the craft beers that still inspire him to homebrew.  Specifically focusing on "one style in particular that remains elusive ... dark Czech lagers that are more like dark bread and less roasty than their German cousins", the post offers rare commercial examples and a few tips on brewing these hard-to-find beers.
  • Jay at A Beer In Hand tells the tale how craft beer has inspired him to try his luck with homebrewing.  With a bit more space now available, he's eyeing his first batch and wrestling with which style he'll start his journey with.  "To some people homebrewing is their life. To me it is the start to a new life." 
  • Alan over at A Good Beer Blog describes a good dichotomy about homebrewing being the testing grounds for those destined to be pro brewers.  "It is where I expect the future pro brewers who earn our hard currency to have made their mistakes ... I am not interested in paying for craft brewer' experiments even if they are called "extreme" or the hot new trend from Italy.  Work that stuff out on your own time." 
  • Tom at Yours for Good Fermentables reminisces about his own brewing journey from catching the homebrew bug, to enrolling in Siebel, to apprenticing in a Baltimore area brewery and beyond.  "From there, I would go on to brew at several other breweries, opening two, and owning one."  And while he has been out of the brewing business for several years, all it takes is a pint of Scottish porter to bring back the memories.
  • Jon from The Brew Site describes several brewers in the Oregon beer scene (John Maier, Shawn Kelso) who started in their kitchens.  "Oregon, craft beer, and homebrewing are inextricably linked, and the beer industry is benefiting enormously from it."
  • Jay at the Brookston Beer Bulletin points out that one of the admirable traits exemplified by American Craft brewers is probably a legacy influence from the homebrewing community.  "The one (contribution) that always resonates with me is the way in which the sharing of knowledge and technical assistance that is the hallmark of the homebrewing community has translated to commercial brewing".  
  • And lastly, our contribution from Lug Wrench Brewing centers around a discussion with White Birch Brewing and the inspirations for their Berliner Weisse.  "What better way to talk about commercial beers influenced by homebrewing than to talk with Bill Herlicka, owner and brewer of White Birch. Bill ... a long time homebrewer before taking the plunge last year."
And that, as they say, is that. 

It was a great pleasure to host this month's session and to be able to collaborate with so many others as part of the experience.  Our thanks to all who participated.

Mark your calendars for August 6th, when Derrick Peterman (a.k.a. the Beer Runner) will be hosting the 42nd edition of Beer Blogging Friday.  The topic: "A Special Place, A Special Beer."


-The Wallace Brothers

"The brewery is the best drug store."
-German proverb

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