So, can you tell us how it all started for you?
With regards to home brewing? That’s an easy one. Watching my Uncle Kevin Clements and his son Christian (my cousin) on YouTube. I was fascinated with the idea of learning how to brew beer and also found it quite comical to watch both my uncle and my cousin advertising to the world their idiotic antics through the medium of YouTube. You can still watch them and some of their famed idiocy on their YouTube channel by searching for Clements Homebrew. I use the term “idiot” very lovingly by the way, it only pertains to drunken beer reviews of Rolling Rock, Trump costume beer reviews and Christian leaning against burning hot stoves and brew pots. Back to the main point though, I basically learned how to brew through YouTube videos, a digital Zymurgy PDF titled “How To Brew” or something to that effect and of course learning what NOT to do by watching my uncle and cousin on their videos. I quickly became immersed in watching more experienced brewers on their videos and that’s the short version of the story. The folks that make up the YouTube community of home brewers are what’s known as “BrewTubers”. That term gets tossed around a lot in my home brewing history because BrewTubing has been a major player in my beer education.
What was your first brew and how did it turn out?
My first brew was either an IPA or APA and it was definitely an extract beer with a limited amount of steeping grains in a small muslin bag. Honestly, the beer didn’t turn out half bad but the ABV was somewhere in the 3% range when it was supposed to be around 6% according to the recipe. I’m still not sure to this day how that happened.
Were there any mishaps / funny moments along the way leading to now?
- My YouTube channel “Manbearpig1122334455” was never originally intended to be a beer channel at all. It was originally a place to upload videos of an old friend of mine who would regularly come over on the weekends, get drunk and pass out on my couch. He would always snore very loudly and I one time told him he sounded like what I imagine a Manbearpig would sound like while sleeping. It got to the point where I would start adding in my own commentary like I was Steve Irwin The Crocodile Hunter except in this case I was the “Manbearpig Hunter”. Anyways, the Manbearpig Hunter video is a small cult classic for some folks and in a strange turn of events, I actually became known throughout the BrewTubing community as “Manbearpig”. So the name stuck and I haven’t been able to change it since.
- It’s been a running joke for the last year and a half that I’m the only A-hole out there trying to make beer with guacamole ingredient adjuncts. I’m talkin’ actual avocado, cilantro and lime…in beer. I’ve incurred over 100 avocado casualties during my “research” but luckily, I just finished making a blonde ale that actually finally turned out pretty good.
Are there any pieces of equipment that you are looking to buy soon, or are converting for the future?
I think I kind of just tapped out recently on what I’m allowed to buy for myself. I just upgraded my kettle to 15 gallons, got an extra propane burner, got two SS Brewtech conical brew buckets, got a MKII pump with camlock connections, bought a mini-fridge and converted it to a fermentation chamber and of course just finished building my brew shed/storage locker. All of this within the last couple months. Yeah I’m pretty set for a while.
Bottle or Keg?
Keg. I did bottles for years and I hated it. I have no problem bottling off the kegerator tap tower these days but that’s the extent of it anymore.
What is your go to recipe or signature brew?
Depends on who you ask but personally my go-to recipe lately has been my Imperial Black IPA. I modelled it after Stone’s 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA and it’s amazing. It’s got so many stout qualities but it’s got so many dank IPA qualities. Just a super rad beer. The signature brew is probably the most well liked one which is either my 12% barleywine or my peanut butter stout which uses real Laura Schudder’s Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter.
What is your schedule for a typical brew day?
I always try to brew on Saturday which means my brew day starts on Thursday when I make a yeast starter. Friday night is reserved for measuring and milling grains, measuring out hop additions, Irish moss, yeast nutrient, adjuncts and generally just organizing. I live in a downstairs condo and I’m surrounded by neighbors and I brew outside so I have to be conscientious about noise. Usually I’m OK to start clanging around between 8 or 9 a.m. I measure out mash and sparge water, light the burner flame and get going. Sometimes I film the process or go live on my YouTube channel and other times I reserve the day just for myself and try to just be in the moment. Lately I’ve been striving for brew day and clean up all in the same session, I didn’t always do that before but now I value that feeling of accomplishment when all is clean after a brew day.
What do you love about home brewing and the industry in general?
With regard to the hobby…I love the routine. I love the ability to be creative. I love the simplicity of it and I love the complexity of it. I love and hate that if you ask 10 home brewers how to do one menial task that you’ll end up with 10 different answers. I love researching the next brew and reading online how and why it’s not possible and then proving those claims wrong. I love the community and I love the comradery.
As for my thoughts on the home brewing industry, I think that there’s been this amazing progression even in the short 6 years that I’ve been doing it where we now have access to some really cool stuff like conical fermenters, plug and play temperature control, an ever expanding variety of hops etc. What is even more exciting is that all of these product manufacturers and suppliers are just as excited to cater to the home brewer as we are to have access to this stuff. It’s a very exciting time.
Are you attending any festivals / competitions in the coming months?
No festivals in my plans. Competitions? Yeah I already made a resolution for 2018 a couple months back that I’d like to start entering actual local competitions. I’ve been a part of an online beer swap competition called the SJPorr Challenge for a number of years now and it’s been really fun and beneficial for me. The cool thing about the SJPorr Challenge is that every entrant is also a judge and all the beers are kept anonymous and you really get some good honest feedback from your peers that are home brewers just like yourself. Moving forward though, I’d like to get some feedback from professional judges, cicerones, BJCP certified folks etc. and that’s the driving force behind the resolution.
What are your plans for the future and where do you think the industry is headed?
My plans for the future are as I mentioned above. I’d like to start getting certified feedback essentially to try and ascertain if my beer is actually any good. I’ll take all the praise and/or criticism with a grain of salt but beer and doing all things beer is actually something that I’m extremely interested in doing as a job. I think after a certain point it became clear to myself, my family and friends that this wasn’t just some hobby that I picked up for six months or a year…this is something that I have a passion for and my dream goal right now would be to be able to open a nano-brewery in my hometown someday.
As for the direction of the industry? I think we’re already starting to see it decline or I should maybe say, slowing down, and some of the lesser quality breweries are fading off or being cleaved from the herd. I don’t think good quality craft beer is ever going away but for now it’s slowed drastically compared to the boom we all witnessed over the last decade or so.
Are there any breweries that you admire for what they are producing?
I always used to be the biggest Stone Brewing fanboy for YEARS but that admiration has worn off a bit as they’ve gone through some changes behind the scenes and the culture is shifting over there a little bit I think. I also never latched onto the latest haze craze NEIPA trend so I can’t really point to any one brewery there…although I did have a can of Julius IPA from Treehouse Brewing Co. and I have to say that that was by far the most rad IPA I’ve ever had. Honestly though, I’m in awe with what some of my fellow home brewers are doing. I had a beer the other day from my friend Chris that was a cherry lime mango NEIPA and it was amazing. I have another friend Nate that brews a pineapple mango saison. We had Andrew in the 2016 SJPorr Challenge brew up a kettle sour beet saison. Beets! I mean who is using beets in a beer right now?! At the end of the day though, it was an awesome beer and I really enjoyed it. Those are the people behind the beer that I admire.
Finally, what is the name of your “one day” brewery?
Pier View Brewing Co. I live in a coastal little beach town in North San Diego County and was raised here and the Oceanside Pier that juts out into our piece of the Pacific Ocean is an iconic landmark and it’s part of my brewery name and my logo. I have about 9 or 10 funny, creative and witty names for beers already picked out and have recipes to go along with those beers and I think it would really be a hit someday. So that’s what I’m working towards.