The Session #41: Craft Beers Inspired by Homebrewing

The SessionThis is the first Session where I didn’t have a post ready on the actual day of the Session (otherwise known as “Beer Blogging Friday”), which is a little disappointing (I was on a streak) but in the end I’m going with the words of Charlie Papazian: “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.”

Appropriately, homebrew is the topic of this month’s Session, as selected by our host, Lug Wrench Brewing Company: Craft Beers Inspired by Homebrewing:

How has homebrewing had an affect on the commercial beer we have all come to love?  Feel free to take the topic in any direction your imagination leads you.

Write about a beer that has its roots in homebrewing.  Write about a commercial beer that originated from a homebrew.

Write about a professional brewer you admire who got their start in homebrewing before they went pro. Write about a professional brewer who still homebrews in their free time.

Write about a Pro-Am beer tasted either at a festival or a brewpub. Write about an Amateur / Professional Co-op you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing (such as The Green Dragon Project).

Write about commercial brewers using “Homebrewing” as part of the marketing. Write about the Sam Adams LongShot beers, whether good or bad.

Write in the first person. Write in the third person. Have someone else write it for you.

Just write about it.

I don’t have a particular beer in mind as I write this, but what strikes me about the topic is that Oregon is a state whose craft beer industry was largely built on homebrewing. Off the top of my head I can think of two prominent examples:

  • John Maier, the longtime brewmaster of Rogue (since 1989), got his start in homebrewing: he won the American Homebrewer Association’s Homebrewer of the Year Award in 1986, and I remember reading accounts of his early homebrewing efforts where (die-hard brewers will appreciate this) he was doing all-grain decoction mashes simply because he didn’t have the kitchen space otherwise (for large pots, presumably).
  • Shawn Kelso, the (relatively new, compared to Maier’s tenure) brewer of Barley Brown’s Brewpub in Baker City: he was an avid homebrewer before starting at Barley Brown’s, and by his own account (read his interview on The Daily Pull) he more-or-less fell into the job. Lately he’s been collecting a good number of awards for his beers.

Let’s not forget Widmer, either: their Collaborator project partners them with the Oregon Brew Crew (one of the state’s premier homebrew organizations) to hold periodic brewing competitions, with the winning beer being brewed by Widmer. Their best known example is the Snow Plow Milk Stout, which started as a Collaborator beer.

Oregon, craft beer, and homebrewing are inextricably linked, and the beer industry is benefiting enormously from it.

Now, I’m off to the Brew Shop shortly to pick up ingredients for a batch of beer I plan to brew…

One Response to The Session #41: Craft Beers Inspired by Homebrewing

  1. keeneye says:

    I love Snow Plow. I rank it in my top 7 favorite Winter beers, for sure!

    I also love living in Baker, too, because it has its perks (Kelso). That guy can brew some mean beer.