So, can you tell us how it all started for you?
A buddy of mine and I were looking for a hobby shortly after getting married. We’d both gotten into craft beer recently, and somehow got on the topic of brewing our own. One day I’m at his place having a few and he pulls out a North Brewer catalogue and was all like “Let’s go halvsies!” A couple of weeks and a hundred bucks or so later, we were brewing!
What was your first brew and how did it turn out?
Our first brew was Caribou Slobber. It was July in North Carolina, so the temp was approximately 900 degrees! I have no idea how we got through it – that was about 10 years ago now. I do remember the beer being a little off, but the idea that we had made it ourselves, and that we could share it with others who were fascinated that we could do this, had me hooked.
Were there any mishaps / funny moments along the way leading to now?
A few years into brewing we wanted to make a kolsch. As fans of Foo Fighters, and thinking we were clever and inventive, we were going to call it Dave Grohlsh Kolsch. After racking to secondary, I realized I had not put the carboy carrier on. I got the thing on the best I could, but it was obviously not secure enough. Halfway through his living room the carrier gave way and the full carboy slipped out, shattering and spraying half-fermented beer all over the living room. Luckily, we had a second carboy (yay for 10-gallon batches) ready AND secured, but we had to change the name to Carpet Bomb Kolsch. That was the night he spent 2 hours shop-vaccing beer out of his carpet
Are there any pieces of equipment that you are looking to buy soon, or are converting for the future?
Honestly, I just purchased the last item I planned to buy for the brewery – a utility sink. I am sure I could go out tomorrow and drop a hundred dollars on something, but I am currently very happy with my setup and have no plans to change anything.
Bottle or Keg?
Definitely keg! I have a 2-tap kegerator in the garage, and have bottled maybe 5 batches in the time I’ve been brewing. The idea of having to bottle actually makes me not want to do very heavy beers.
What is your go to recipe or signature brew?
A pilsner IPA I call Erogenously Evil. Actually, a pro brewer friend of mine told me the recipe looked like what water would taste like after being strained through a hop bullet. Then the bastard brewed it in his own brewery!
What is your schedule for a typical brew day?
Mash in as close to 9A as possible, finish by 1. I have small kids, so I cannot commit to an all-day thing. I usually have to brew with friends who have kids so I don’t feel bad leaving the wife alone all day. Since we started our brew-a-month project for 2018, my buddy and I usually are kegging something during the mash or boil as well.
What do you love about home brewing and the industry in general?
I love how homebrewing is so simple, yet can be so customized to each brewer. And the idea that people are fascinated when they find out I brew.
Are you attending any festivals / competitions in the coming months?
My brew club, Raleigh Home Brewers Association, hosts several contests throughout the year. I also plan to enter the Carolina Quarterly Brew Off this year. The whole reason for 12-15 brews in 2018 is to win some medals!
What are your plans for the future and where do you think the industry is headed?
I plan to continue pushing myself, forcing myself to try new techniques and ingredients. As for the industry, I think there is a lot of saturation in the market. I think there is a lot of “meh” beer being made simply because some dudes thought it’d be cool to own a brewery. I do not think AB/InBev is necessarily done buying up breweries, and I expect the other players to get involved too. This isn’t a bad thing IMO. Let someone come over me a bazillion dollars for something I started and watch me skip all the way to the bank! I think the cream of the crop will rise, and the mediocre brewers will fall off. Ultimately, it’ll leave us with better beer – even if the larger craft beer scene disagrees.
Are there any breweries that you admire for what they are producing?
Raleigh Brewing Company (Raleigh NC), Bond Brothers Brewing (Cary NC), Stone Brewing, and Sierra Nevada are my favorites. I also appreciate any brewery willing to produce anything with blood orange in it!
Finally, what is the name of your “one day” brewery?
Olde Bastard Brewing