Brew Biz: Werts and All

By Ken Carman

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

The Topic: Homebrew-based Special Events

One of the advantages of this odd life I carved out for myself over 20 years ago is that as an entertainer and an educational service provider I tour Mississippi to New England. That has allowed me to sit in Federal Jacks: Kennebunkport, while sipping beer styles first brewed and designed by Alan Pugsley: bottled by Shipyard, as I watch high priced sailboats float with the breeze in and out of the inner bay. I’ve also done a review on a brewpub in the French Quarter and become a member of Escambia Bay Brewers in Pensacola, made friends with some of the best brewers in that area, and sat with Greg Noonan at 7 Barrels while he bought me beer and asked my opinions.

I have never felt worthy but, hey, what the hell. What was I going to say, “Hell, no?”

But sometimes ignorance is indeed as grand as the grandest Cru, or Barleywine, if you prefer. Sometimes I’d almost rather not know. Almost. Yes, there’s always payback: finding out about events I have no way of attending, specially brewed one-off beers I’m told about but will never get to sample and homebrew events I’ll never, ever, get to attend.

Like an upcoming affair at Albany Pump House in, well, Albany, NY.

I’ve been to the Pump House and enjoyed their beer, but never went back. Why? Timing. Tour conflicts. Location, location, location: the same reasons I haven’t been to the big Ommegang festival they hold every summer… except Albany Pump House is downtown; hence parking. Parking south of Cooperstown isn’t a problem, if I get there early enough. Location? Another story.

So I’d love to sit and sip Pump House beer and join in a discussion group featuring pro-brewers: Olde Saratoga’s Paul McErlean, Ommegang’s Phil Leinhart and George de Piro the brewmaster from C.H. Evans.

I have admired Ommegang for many years, bringing bottles back, and advice for other pro-brewers from their brewers, long before Ommegang arrived in Nashville. And I didn’t even realize the brewer from Saratoga; which brews Mendocino, has brewed some of the great beers from Lowell Brewing Company and Schmaltz.

While writing this I thought about all the times I have passed by that brewery and never stopped. One of the problems of not being a local and always having some relative waiting for their southern-based kin to arrive. Think I sense there may be a certain specific Brew Biz arriving on your digital doorstep in the future. And I have fond memories of my one brief stop at the Pump House. I believe I spoke with the brewer that day, but never got a chance to stop again. I will. I will. I promise. Yet another Brew Biz to look forward to.

So on March 3rd, as you discuss homebrewing with three brewmasters, moderated by Joe Donahue from public radio powerhouse WAMC, remember there’s one homebrewer; a thousand miles away, drooling over a lost opportunity.

Hmmm. Homer says, “Beer drool.” Stay tuned for the next Brew Biz. Maybe I could reconsider my water source for my next Specialty brew?

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Brew Biz: Werts and All, is a column dedicated to review, discuss and comment on all things beer including, but not limited to: marketing, homebrewing and homebrew/beer related events, how society perceives all things beer. Also: reviews of beer related businesses, opinions about trends in the beer business, and all the various homebrew, judging and organizations related to beer. Essentially, all things “beer.”

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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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