Great Lakes Brewing News October/November 2014 : Page 1
By Mark Garland here has never been a better time to make your own beer. Homebrewing is easier, more inter-esting, more economical and more fun than ever. You can keep it sim-ple, with basic equipment and straightforward styles, or you can get seri-ously involved in the process. It helps to have a bit of a chef in you, as well as a bit of mad scientist, but there are no special requirements. If you can make a can of soup, you can make beer. When you’re done, it’s beer! And there is no better way to appreciate the creativity, skill and effort that goes into making great beer. What’s helped the beer making hobby in recent years is variety and availability of the beer kits available, from simple kits great for homebrewers who are just starting out, or for a quick batch, to the more com-plex kits that allow you the joy of adding some of the ingredients yourself during the process. “The kits make good beer easy,” says Ed Wren, of E J Wren Homebrewer in upstate NY. “The quality of the pre-packed kits is very good. They make a well bal-anced beer.” Kits and dry or liquid malts See Homebrew p. 4 ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Brian Meyer VOODOO BREW CHILD. Matt Allyn, founder and part owner of Voodoo Brewing Co., relaxes at the the brewery's bar in Meadville, PA. PHOTO BY PORTRAITS BY STEPHENS AND THE ERIE BETTER BEER BUREAU H iding in the small town of Meadville, PA A lives a brewery that is definitely worth the 90-min-ute drive from Pittsburgh. Voodoo Brewing Co. opened their he eir doors in September of 2007 00 and 007 since then has consistently y produced some of the best craft beer in the area. To understand where the idea i behind Voodoo Brewing came from, fr you need to (at least try ) to under-er er-stand founder and part owner Matt tt t ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM Allyn, who has worked in the brew-w ing industry since his days in the US Air A Force. It was his experiences while traveling to t the breweries in England and Germany that helped build G his h need to brew. Matt took much mu of what he learned vis-m iting iting ng these breweries and used it i to build his hi first four-vessel home-brew br ew setup, which b wh largely came from scrap base he was stationed sc rap metal at the ba s bas at—metal, tell you, stamped at —metal, Matt will a lt “Nuclear “N uclear Certified.” “ From his nuclear beer b brewing setup se tup Matt learned how to build a s See VooDoo p. 5 INSIDE Event Calendar .....................3 Beer Beacon .........................6 The Beer Queendom ............8 Homebrew ............................. 10 Beers To Us! .......................25 Map/Directory................ 18-23 State by State News Pennsylvania . 12 Ohio ............... 13 Michigan ........ 14 SW Michigan . 15 SE Michigan .. 16 Indiana .......... 24 Illinois ........... 26 Chicago ......... 27 Wisconsin ..... 28 N Wisconsin .. 29 Minnesota ...... 30 Ontario .......... 32 New York ....... 34
There has never been a better time to make your own beer.<br /> Homebrewing is easier, more interesting, more economical and more fun than ever. You can keep it simple, with basic equipment and straightforward styles, or you can get seriously involved in the process. It helps to have a bit of a chef in you, as well as a bit of mad scientist, but there are no special requirements. If you can make a can of soup, you can make beer. When you’re done, it’s beer! And there is no better way to appreciate the creativity, skill and effort that goes into making great beer.<br /> <br /> What’s helped the beer making hobby in recent years is variety and availability of the beer kits available, from simple kits great for homebrewers who are just starting out, or for a quick batch, to the more complex kits that allow you the joy of adding some of the ingredients yourself during the process. “The kits make good beer easy,” says Ed Wren, of E J Wren Homebrewer in upstate NY. “The quality of the pre-packed kits is very good. They make a well balanced beer.” Kits and dry or liquid malts<br /> <br /> Kits and beyond <br /> <br /> Once you’ve gotten the hang of brewing with kits, you can doctor them. Maybe you really like that pale ale kit you made a few weeks ago, but you’d like it hoppier. Buy the same kit again, but add another ounce or two of hops to it. Want maltier? Add a pound of dry malt. Or maybe you’ll decide to hop it a little less and add a pound of honey. Tired of kits? You can learn to make up your own recipes, from amber ales to IPAs to wheats, Belgian-style ales and all kinds of stouts—cream, chocolate, imperial, dry, sweet—whatever you like. Make new styles, tweak original recipes you’ve brewed before, buy fruit or pick hops in season and brew with them, or invent something totally your own.<br /> <br /> “The malts available now are highly modified,” Ed Wren explains, meaning the starchy sugars in the grain are easily converted to fermentable sugars when they are mashed—a process that involves steeping the grain (usually cracked, malted barley) in water at about 152 degrees for an hour, then collecting the wort, or “barley soup” while leaving the spent grain behind. “Also the variety of malts, like the variety and freshness of hops, is extensive and growing,” Ed says.<br /> <br /> Tried a great new beer at your favorite beer bar recently? You can probably make something yourself that’s pretty close; the key here is that beer you make will either be just what you were going for, or it will just be really good beer.<br /> <br /> One of the keys is to use the right yeast for the right beer. Liquid yeasts from Wyeast and Whitelabs offer the advantage of supplying exactly the strain of yeast you want for the beer you are making, which is critically important if you are trying a hefeweizen, or a Belgian ale, or a true, cold fermented lager. But like other ingredients, the quality of dried yeast has taken a big leap forward in the last few years. And it’s easy to use. Cool your new 5 gallon batch of beer to room temperature, tear open the packet and sprinkle on the dried yeast. By the next day, the airlock is bubbling and you are on your way to good beer.<br /> <br /> Another advantage to homebrewing is that as hobbies go, it’s rather inexpensive. “We offer a complete starter kit—everything you need including fermentor, bottling bucket, auto-syphon, caps and bottle capper, Charley Pappazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (book) and a kit (ingredients) for your first batch—everything but the water—for about $135,” says Ed Wren. After that there are a couple of items that are nice to have, but not essential, like a large enough stainless steel brew pot (at least 4 gallons) and a glass secondary fermentor, so you can rack the beer after initial fermentation and let it sit, age, and clear for a couple of weeks, or until you are ready to bottle it.<br /> <br /> Ready to serve <br /> <br /> Once you think you’ve done enough bottling, there is kegging, usually in 5 gallon soda kegs. “It’s like just having to clean one, big bottle,” Ed Wren explains. “And the beer can be ready to drink in just a few days.” Kegging isn’t cheap, a starter kit with 1 reconditioned keg, regulator, hookups, a least one tap and a 5 lb co2 tank can run around $200. But again, like the homebrewing kit itself, it is usually a one-time investment that gives years of use.<br /> <br /> You’re not alone <br /> <br /> Most cities in the US have homebrew clubs, which are excellent sources of information, advice, tastings, social interaction and usually homebrew competitions. Memberships are inexpensive, meetings are generally informal, and they usually have beer! Many homebrew shops offer most of the same things, and some go above and beyond.<br /> <br /> “A homebrew shop needs to be a social center for the homebrewing community, as well as a learning and activities center,” says Anita Johnson of Great Fermentations in Indianapolis. “We bring in authors, brewers and homebrew experts like Randy Mosher. We organize brewins, we offer classes on brewing for beginners, all-grain brewing, even winemaking and cheese making; we also bring in seasonal fresh grape juice (wine) and hops, we do collaboration brews with local craft brewers—and at our last big brew day we had 25 groups making beer.” Anita is always looking for something special and worthwhile. “We had Sam Adams Long Shot homebrew competition winner, Cesar Marron, here in September,” she says. Clearly, a great shop to live near.<br /> <br /> Mike Lese is the owner of Quality Wine and Ale Supply in Elkhart, IN, where he has 9,000 sq ft of warehouse and retail store. “What I’ve seen the last two years and especially the last 6 months is the move away from canned kits towards all grain brewing, and high quality pre-packaged malt extract with grain beer kits and recipes.” Both these methods help make brewing your own craft beer economical, as compared with buying much of it retail, despite a rise in prices in recent years. “The extensive variety of hops along with an array of new equipment has also kept the home brewer looking for more reasons to brew and more ways to do it,” says Mike.<br /> <br /> They do a lot of online business (www.HomeBrewIt.com), but Mike insists you have to follow up with good service, something not everyone does. “There is always going to be a need for the local homebrew shop and the comradery that comes with it,” Mike says. QW&A is involved with off-site activities as well, like the local Brew at The Zoo and the American Homebrewers Association Learn to Homebrew Event coming up November 1.<br /> <br /> NewWave <br /> <br /> “We’re seeing a second generation of homebrewers, especially younger people, come in the last few years,” says Becky Dyster of Niagara Tradition Homebrew Supplies in Tonawanda, NY. “They are getting a lot of information online, how-to videos, recipes, new products, which helps them get started and keep brewing. We’ve always done demos as well.” <br /> <br /> Becky started the shop in 1992, so she has seen homebrewing evolve. “One big change is the knowledge of beer styles customers have today,” Becky says. “And they want to brew them all. We make up our own boxed kits, and we keep adding styles. Some new brewers want to start out with all-grain brewing, but we recommend starting with kits to learn the basics. When you are using some fresh grain with the extract it makes a big difference.”<br /> <br /> More and better <br /> <br /> There are homebrew shops all over the Great Lakes states waiting get you started and keep you going. And more help on line from the shops, homebrew clubs, blogs, recipe forums, recipe calculators and more.<br /> <br /> And one often overlooked bonus: Homebrewed beer is “beer as God intended.” That is, it’s all natural, unfiltered, and is by far the most nutritious alcoholic beverage, with lots of potent antioxidants, B vitamins, essential minerals, plant sterols, protein and more.<br /> <br /> How far can you take homebrewing is up to you. You can invest in small-scale professional grade equipment if you want, even fairly large scale, or you can learn to be a beer judge at regional competitions, or maybe even become a professional brewer.<br /> <br /> So what have we got? Fun, economical, nutritious and usually quite delicious, and the kitchen smells like baked goods when the beer is cooking. Thirsty yet?
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Is it Voodo Brewing?
Hiding in the small town of Meadville, PA lives a brewery that is definitely worth the 90-minute drive from Pittsburgh. Voodoo Brewing Co. Opened their doors in September of 2007 and since then has consistently produced some of the best craft beer in the area.<br /> <br /> To understand where the idea behind Voodoo Brewing came from, you need to (at least try) to understand founder and part owner Matt Allyn, who has worked in the brewing industry since his days in the US Air Force. It was his experiences while traveling to the breweries in England and Germany that helped build his need to brew. Matt took much of what he learned visiting these breweries and used it to build his first four-vessel homebrew setup, which largely came from scrap metal at the base he was stationed at—metal, Matt will tell you, stamped “Nuclear Certified.” <br /> <br /> From his nuclear beer brewing setup Matt learned how to build a successful brewing system. He took this knowledge on the road to help both large and small breweries alike rebuild existing systems and set up completely new brewing systems. Places like Ebenezer’s Brewpub in Ogden, Utah, Copper Canyon Brewing Company, Dark Horse Brewing Company and Founders.<br /> <br /> Making the Move <br /> <br /> In time he decided what he really wanted was to move back to Pennsylvania and start his own brewery. While he loves the challenge of building a new brewing system and helping get systems working more efficiently and effectively, the dream of his own brewery won out.<br /> <br /> After working with Erie Brewing Co. During their expansion, Matt opened Four Suns Brewing Co., which you might know of as Blue Canoe Brewing today. This is the same time that Voodoo Brewing was born. 2007 marked both the opening of Voodoo Brewing Co. As well as the economic crash that dramatically hindered banks and investors from taking on new investments and loans. This meant that Voodoo had to start its life as a production brewery in a non-production building. Starting with only bottling lines, Voodoo put off the brewpub idea for a few years.<br /> <br /> The Beers <br /> <br /> Skip ahead to today and you will find that Voodoo Brewing Co. Is a lively and vibrant brewpub and brewery offering a regular line of craft beers as well as some beers that are totally unique to Voodoo, and which you have to get to the brewpub to try. Speaking of the brewpub, the food available at Voodoo is nearly all raised or grown locally. And while there’s not a huge menu, there is more than enough for carnivores and vegetarians alike to love.<br /> <br /> Voodoo Brewing started with six beers initially, including an IPA, a brown ale and an imperial stout. This lineup has grown over time, especially with the inclusion of Curt Rachacki, the guy Matt has placed in charge of brewing at Voodoo.<br /> <br /> One project that is near and dear to Allyn’s heart is the barrel program, which has been around nearly as long as Voodoo has. In fact, the first beer brewed at Voodoo Brewing was Black Magic, an American imperial stout that was aged in Eliagh Craig barrels for 2 years and one year in the bottle. The most recent Black Magic was aged in a combination of Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace, and apple brandy barrels. In the future expect to see more from the barrel project, including beers aged in tequila and Makers Mark barrels.<br /> <br /> Other beers you can expect on a regular basis, on draft and in bottles, include Big Black Voodoo Daddy (12.5% abv) Russian imperial stout (winter only), Hoodoo (7.3% abv) IPA, Good Vibes (7.3% abv) West Coast-style IPA, Wynona’s Big Brown Ale (7.3% abv) dark brown ale, White Magick of the Sun (7% abv) Belgianstyle wheat ale, Voodoo Love Child (9.5% abv) Gran Met with sour cherries, raspberries, and passion fruit, Pilzilla (7.5% abv) Pilsner, Gran Met (9.5% abv) Belgian-style tripel and Cowbell (8.5% abv) double chocolate oatmeal milk imperial stout (winter only).<br /> <br /> The Future <br /> <br /> There are big things on the horizon for Voodoo Brewing Co., including a new bottling line at the brewpub that will finally get Voodoo beers into 12-oz. Bottles. With the craft beer market in and around the western Pennsylvania area growing as much and as quickly as it has, breweries like Voodoo that have a system nailed down and consistently make amazing beers are sure to thrive.<br /> <br /> Voo Doo Brewing Co.<br /> 215 Arch Street, Meadville, PA 16335<br /> 814-337-3676<br /> Thursday & Friday: 3PM–12AM, Saturday &<br /> Sunday: 12PM–12AM<br /> VoodooBrewery.com
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