So you’ve been brewing beer for a few years and love sharing your brews with your family, friends, neighbors, and plumber? You figure, why not share my hard work with the rest of the world, and make money while working my dream job? Many others have had the same idea. A lot of the craft breweries that you know and love today, started with a passion for home brewing. You may be familiar with some of the larger success stories (Sam Adams or Dogfish Head) but you never hear about the breweries that failed to succeed. This is my (much shortened) story of failing to launch a brewery in Toledo, OH in 2014.
Scratching the Itch to Start a Pro Brewery
Marriage is a beautiful thing isn’t it? Not when it takes you 16 hours to reach a small island off the coast of Belize. That’s where the planning of my brewery began. I had a jet lagged wife, and a lot of spare time. Besides the 2 planes, 2 taxis, and 2 ferries it took to get to this island, the wedding was pretty exhausting too. Did I mention this was my honeymoon? While my wife napped, I was curiously looking at the prices of commercial brewing systems to see it was feasible to build a brewery. They ranged from 1-7 bbl’s (barrels) and cost $10k-$90k depending on the design, aesthetics, and degree of automation. If you’re unfamiliar, 1bbl is 31 gallons. It only took a couple days for me to convince myself that I needed to open a small brewery. Besides worrying about the cost, I was also wondering where I would put all of this equipment.
When Megan and Steve Long’s Rottweiler mix, Rocky, started having digestion problems, the couple needed a way to help him keep his food down.
Megan scoured the internet looking for remedies, but none seemed to do the trick.
“I’m not a crazy dog lady. I just really wanted to prolong my boy’s life,” she said.
Then she stumbled up a solution she could brew: “Beer” for dogs – a nonalcoholic beverage packed with healthy ingredients for pooches. Fast forward almost a year, and Good Boy Dog Beer company sells three different beers throughout Houston in more than 20 dog-friendly restaurants and bars.
Unless you’ve been asleep for the past year or so brutally bummed by the whole Trump Atrocity, as I have been, you’re read/heard/consumed some aspect of this brand new, non-accidental, totally premeditated style of American beer. If you haven’t tasted it, a few facts:
1. It was invented – and not at all by happy accident, as MOST brewing styles have traditionally been – by a hugely crafty guy named Kim Sturdavant, brewmaster at San Francisco’s The Social Kitchen & Brewery, who was seeking some means of removing what he regarded as an excess of sweetness in the traditional IPA.
Prague is justly famous for its Old Town Square, its Castle District dominated by St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Charles Bridge, majestic despite the throngs of tourists. Beyond that, Prague is famous for the Defenestration of Prague. (Defenestration: now there’s a fine word for you.) Legend has it that the ignominiously defenestrated Catholic Lords Regent survived the 21-meter fall by landing in a dung heap.
Just how many curveballs can you throw at a brew and still make an award winning beer? Today we find out as we talk with IGOR Eric Pierce and explore all the craziness around his 2018 Sam Adams Longshot winning Grisette. Sit back and learn how a beer can come together!
So much stuff in this episode! One of our own wins big! Water! Hop Contest (Challenge us!) Australia! News! Lab Experiment! And listener Ralph Rice sent us his Altbier made with Mecca Grade Malts, so we sat down, tasted it and asked him questions! So sit back, grab a night cap and let’s go!
True Story: In the spring of 1992, my actress girlfriend and I, having worked at all the theaters we could reasonably travel to in the Southeast from our home in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, decided to take her sister and brother-in-law up on their kind offer (translation: “constant badgering”) of a temporary place to bunk in if we would move all the way across America to Bainbridge Island, Washington, just across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle. We had pets and two kids and a Toyota Camry and waaaay too much Stuff, so we hitched the car to a 28′ Ryder truck and set off across the map, as she was working at a theater in Mississippi and wouldn’t be able to join us until September.
Before beginning this series, let me offer the only disclaimer that matters at all in reading ANY list:
This is ONE GUY’S OPINIONS.
After ten years of writing this and its precursor in the Seattle P-I, I finally hit the wall this year and decided to stop doing anything called “Best Of”. Two reasons: A) ANY list – EVERY list – is nothing but the individual opinions of one person or an aggregated bunch of opinions from some group. The groups MAY, in what I would have to call rare cases, include people with tremendous acumen and experience. In MOST cases, though, it’s just a bunch of folks with an interest and viewpoints. And B) There is no “best”. Period. And if something does happen to be the best at the given moment, that status is guaranteed to change before the list is even posted, especially in all our distinct and dynamic American beverage cultures. New breweries, wineries, and distilleries are opening almost daily. Established under-performers are beginning to Get It and taking leaps forward.
Welcome to my series on Prague. In contrast to other series I’ve compiled or other city/regional spotlights I’ve written, I’m going to start at the end, as it were, with a rough-and-ready list of beers that you can find in Prague. The next post will feature a list of highlights, including what to see, where to find the beers mentioned below, and where to find the best tavern experiences. For those readers unaccustomed to seeing Tempest posts that amount to lists and bullet points, fear not. I’ve got a nice, long narrative “guide” to Prague ready to go.