Brew Biz: Werts and All… Straight to Ale, BIG Plans and BIG Beer, Part One

Written by Ken Carman

Straight to Ale, 3200 Leeman Ferry Road, Huntsville, AL 35801
(Behind the Matrix gym)

Dan Perry started Straight to Ale behind his house in a woodshed.
(Hence, at his house, being “taken to the woodshed” in those days was a good thing!)

Part I

In the 80s, between the record industry, and various radio stations, I transferred expensive cars, occasionally taking one to Huntsville, Alabama. One gig I had was driving a street sweeper there then waiting for the engine to be serviced. I’m fond of saying I spent a century: one week, in Huntsville. At the time it was far more sleepy and had poor public transportation. From outside my motel room I would occasionally gaze to the east at the hills and wonder if the villagers were also getting angry at the company for taking so long fixing their street sweepers. Mad locals would break in and find them working on a monster instead…

  Sometimes I imagine the best small craft breweries are being run by mad scientists brewing Frankenstein beers that the townsfolk, visitors and many others love. Years ago when Miller and Bud pretty much ruled America those beers may have been treated like the misunderstood monster in Shelley’s Frankenstein, but I think folks are more understanding these days. Well, some. The dedicated Miller Lite drinker? Maybe not so much.
  But craft brewers and home brewers are doing an incredible job educating all palates. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All… Straight to Ale, BIG Plans and BIG Beer, Part One”

How to Build a Hopback


Homebrewers love hops—it’s no secret. You will always remember the first time you smelled those powerful pellets drop into the kettle. The little bitter cones give beer life, personality and uncanny edginess. Without them, beer would often times be unbalanced, overly sweet and uninteresting.

Hops are so important, some people devote their entire lives to the plant—hop fascination transformed into obsession.

The “hop heads” out there, like Tom Lewis from Cheshire, England, are always looking for ways to push the hoppy envelope in their homebrews. A hopback is the perfect way to infuse fresh-hop character in beer just before it hits your glass. Check out Tom’s easy-to-build hopback project below!

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