Making beer at home can help connoisseurs save money

In Dennis Collins' homemade brewery, hot water from the left keg recirculates through the grains held in the cooler to extract the malt sugars. The liquid is transferred to the right keg to boil with hops.

Written by Louis McGill for the Knoxville News Sentinel and

Standing on his back porch on a crisp Saturday morning, Dennis Collins stirs a giant, boiling pot. The scene is reminiscent of an old monster movie, complete with a mad scientist. The steam flowing out has a sweet scent similar to baking bread.

While other Knoxvillians are watching football, Collins, an engineer and member of the Tennessee Valley Homebrewers club, is taking part in an activity older than the pyramids: brewing beer.

For some, brewing beer at home can prove economical. Collins claims to be able to brew two cases of craft-quality beer for under 20 dollars. However, as in any hobby, getting to that point requires some investment.

The pot he stirs is filled with wort, a sugary liquid extracted from malted barley and other grains, which serves as the basic building block of beer. It was extracted from the grains earlier that morning through an elaborate setup that he built involving a modified cooler and a pair of converted kegs.

“Homebrewers are very inventive,” Collins said. “They invent wonderful things.”

While the hobby languished in obscurity for decades after Prohibition it has been legal in the United States since 1978.

Want to read more? Please click…


Beer Profile

Profiled by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

The clarity was OK, though a tad hazy. Might be chill haze. Head decent. Color: light pale yellow… almost Bud like. No legs.

Nose sweet fruity, abbey yeast, a bit sweet, yeast dominant, pilsner malt-sense way in background.

Abbey yeast dominant in taste. Way too dominant. I understand having it way up front it defines the concept of an Abbey ale in America; though ironically not so much in Belgium; home to most Abbey ales. But this is so dominant it created an almost brassy cloy to the top of the mouth, nice alcohol/abv punch that’s there but not as abrasive or cloying as yeast. Here the brewer did a real good job. But there needs to be more here than what there is. This sub style tends to be a bit simplistic, but not so much as Sprecher’s take on it.

Mouth feel abbey yeast, light pils in the backgroud. Not much else.

Not impressive. A tad lighter than normal Tripel (or “Triple” as they insist on calling it) that needs tad more body and white candi for sense/taste. Overall this goes to balance. The Abbey-White Labs 530-like yeast sense is so dominant it’s hard to taste much else. The problem here is that abbey yeast has become a bit of a cliche’ and this has that taste out the wazoo, and except the slight hint of white candi sugar-like driven alcohol: nada. Needs more complexity, even for style which can be a bit simplistic sometimes. It’s like they decided to brew to the cliche’, but not the sub style.

Houston Beer Week Showcases Emerging Brew Enthusiasts

Written by Molly Ryan for

The second annual Houston Beer Week, taking place this week, is celebrating craft beers from around the world at more than 30 Houston bars, restaurants and secret, undisclosed venues.

Houston Beer Week takes place this week, and it features craft beers from around the world.
“It’s a week long celebration,” said Cathy Rascoe, the festival organizer. “Think about it like restaurant week, with beer.”

The festival kicked off Nov. 19 with the Monsters of Beer Charity Festival in Guadalupe Plaza Park. According to Rascoe, the festival drew in hundreds of visitors to sample beers from around 50 breweries.

During the week, the festival continues at night at various Houston bars and restaurants. At these events, attendees can purchase tickets to, for example, talk with Ash Rowell of Duff Beer at The Ginger Man on Wednesday night or attend a formal beer dinner at Vic & Anthony’s featuring beers from the North Coast Brewing Co. on Nov. 18.

The locations of some events, such as a 10-course beer dinner made by chefs from Catalan and Beaver’s, are undisclosed until hours before they start.

Continue reading “Houston Beer Week Showcases Emerging Brew Enthusiasts”

Beer Profile

Profiled by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

I was expecting that grassy delightfulness that is a fresh hop ale. What I got was barely IPA, not “fresh hop” in any sense. More like your typical weak IPA with a thin mouthfeel, some malt in the aroma: yes, and taste? …some caramelization; though not all that much. Did they bottle the wrong product into this 22oz?

The clarity was questionable, with a low head that did last: pure pillow. No legs noticed. Light yellow.

Aroma light body/malt, hops faint citrus. Not much more.

Mouthfeel: carbonation right. Malt. Hop firm but not dominaint. The hop mix here, what there is, to be honest is not all that pleasant. As it warms gets brassy and a tad astringent. “Tad” of a “tad” from the start.

The label reads… triple hopped? They’re, right? Light body, though some caramel sense. Hops, what there were, were tad… spicy? Even if you were to buy this as an IPA you might be disappointed, wishing you’d bought Anchor’s Liberty instead.

I think 10 years ago this might have been more interested, but these days any decent hop head might fall asleep drinking this. Now I admit I came home to this after drinking. Boscos’ Hop Harvest: small brewpub chain in Tennesse and Arkansas. Now that was a true harvest ale.

A Game and a Concert

This is a practical joke set up by Heineken. There seems to be a loading issue, so the Professor isn’t sure if the whole vid will play for you. But it is beer related because of who the practical joker was, and even if only part of plays you will still get the idea of what happened.-PGA