What inspired you to do the Brewlab course?
I was only 18 at the time finishing up high school here in America, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I realized very young what I wanted to do, and that was make quality craft beer. Since the drinking age in the US is 21, I had to go look else where to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I found Brewlab, and I figured spending a summer in the UK sounded like an alright deal!
What areas of the Brewlab course were most beneficial to you?
All of them! Coming into the course I had never brewed! I had read a number of books on the science, but never had gotten my hands dirty!
How beneficial did you find the practical side of the Brewlab course?
Coming in and having a nice mixture of both lectures and hands on brewing was great, I think we brewed our “high 5” crew brew ipa literally the second day, so we dived right in. It took a bit for me to get up to speed on it all, but I did!
Was there a part of the course you particularly liked/enjoyed?
The work placements were really cool. Gave you an idea of what it was like to actually be in an operating brewery instead of just in a small room. I thought it was also nice that we were able to help set up the new brew kit in the new Brewlab building as well! I haven’t had to set another kit up like it since but, it was great to see that process….oh, and being able to drink all the brews made by my classmates, I enjoyed that!
Where do you work now?
Crow Peak Brewing Company in Spearfish, South Dakota
What is your position?
How much beer do you produce?
Well, we have two brew kits. We have the original 5 bbl system that was used when the brewery first opened in 2007, which we still use this day for super special small batches! Then across a dirt parking lot a little ways, we have the newer brewery/taproom, which is home for our 60 bbl system. Right now we are gearing up for summer and as of late have been brewing 3 days a week! With days we are not brewing filled in with either canning, filtering, and of course the most important part, cleaning!
Do you have a recipe you are most proud of?
Oh yes! We brew an ale named “Mjölnir” (Thors Hammer for the Americans who can’t say words), Mjölnir is an Imperial brown ale, with a bit of a Black Hills kick! and the kick is that we add an ungodly amount of spruce tips to each batch, with the end result being a heavy 8% ale that will make just about anyone feel like they are one with the forest! For such a high gravity ale, it is also surprisingly refreshing after a day of hiking in the lovely Black Hills in the summer!
What plans do you have for the future?
Ride this train for a bit longer I suppose! Eventually I feel like I will be leaving my place of birth due to needing a change of scenery. When I am not brewing I am usually busy touring around, or in the studio playing bass with “Fire Nuns”, so I keep pretty busy. But with a life filled with brewing fine ales, and rock n’ roll, I think I got what I wanted when I decided to attend Brewlab!
Cheers to the folks at Brewlab, and my Classmates! within the M25.