On Saturday we celebrated homebrewing. It was National Homebrewing Day and here in Colorado Springs we had our own party and it was a ton of fun. The event took place at Rocky Mountain Brewing, a lot of the brewers that showed up were a part of the local homebrew club, The Brew Bros. I had hoped to get all of my homebrew equipment together but I had too much to do before my trip to Kansas City (where I’m writing this post now). What I was really excited about was seeing all the variations of homebrewing equipment, and how some have jury-rigged their systems, built their own tier-systems, each mash tun is slightly different, some drastically different, lots of kegs converted to boil kettles, each person has built their own thing to suit their various idiosyncracies. I was talking to Isaac about how I saw each setup as a type of sculptural art piece and that the lawn in front of Rocky Mountain Brewing was the gallery or exhibition space. I thought it was really wonderful, so I snapped a photo of each set up and I want to share that with you.
John Landerman sipping back a beer while he waits for his wort to finish up. John was making an English Bitter.
This is Russ Dewey and his homebrewing set-up. He’s been piecing this thing together for about 18 years. Today he was brewing a Dortmunder Export, a type of lager.
Here we’ve got Mike Bordick (Ax Brew) and Rich Mock (Dino Brew), their setups include a gravity system utilizing milk crates and tables. Ax was making an American Blonde and Rich was making a Hefe.
Here’s Lefty. That blue cooler is his mash tun, and it’s the same cooler I use for my mash tun. I think it’s 15 gallons, maybe more than that. I really love it, and you can wheel it around when you need to. He’s also got a huge boil kettle there. Lefty was making a hoppy American Brown.
Jay Brown and Susan Brown (not pictured) are stirring the mash. They made a Porter that they’ll add vanilla and honey to in the secondary fermenter. I’m not the biggest fan of dark beers in the summer but these two told me that I’ve got it all wrong.
Jay showed me his wooden spoon. He said he read Papazian’s Joy of Homebrewing and there’s a line that says you have to have your own magical stirring stick so Jay waited till the Winter Solstice and cut up a tree, carved the spoon himself, carved the figure on the top, and waited till the equinox to brew his first beer with it. That’s awesome, and so is his shirt.
This is Jason and his three tier system. He rigged up a Herms electric system for recirculating his wort during sparging. This is really a beautiful little system, plenty of room for storage, just about everything can be stacked on this shelving unit and kept nice and neatly. Jason worked from the bottom up, figuring out how best to utilize gravity for his system, so by the time he built up the top part it was too tall for him…
So after standing on a stepping stool and pouring water in he realized he’d have to build another attachment and he put together this hose, which both pours water into the Hot Liquor Tank and holds itself in the right spot. Jason was making a brown ale.
John Moss and his pal Bob (not pictured) were brewing up a Golden Ale. Recognize that blue cooler? Looks like more than a few people had the same idea as Lefty and I…
This is Bob Gray, he was planning to make two beers, an Iperial Stout, which was sitting in the mash during this picture, as well as a Single Hop IPA. Also in the picture is Ella Gray, a great looking yellow lab.
Bob was also cooking up some sourkraut.
Steve Stowell was the only person I saw doing an extract brew. He had a little 1.5 or 2 gallon brew that was to be a Red Ale with Cascade hops. Steve’s got some Coleman camping white gas for his fire. He’s only been in Colorado Springs the last 2 months. A few years ago he lived in Tacoma, Washington so we got to talking about the Pacific Northwest.
Ken Benavidez decided he’d take one for the team and make breakfast instead of beer. He treated the whole group of people to Carne Adovada tacos.
Robert (Klute Brew) was making an overhopped pale ale called Hoperation Geranimo. His son was there helping. You can see him here extracting the wort from his mash tun and collecting it for the boil.
Larry Fish was making a coffee oatmeal stout. He’s also extracting his wort, directly into his boil kettle. Nice shirt Larry.
Michael Croft pulled up in his van, unpacked and started making an Extra Pale Ale. Look, another one of those blue coolers. I asked him if he often acts as a traveling homebrewer. Really he and his wife use the van to travel all over the state and to New Mexico. But a traveling homebrewer, or even a traveling brewery…not a bad idea.
This is Nick’s set up, he was making a dark ale with a London Ale yeast and Cascade hops.
Michelle Gandy, one of the only women brewing at the event, was making up a bacon maple porter. Pretty exciting I thought. The malt itself is smoked and smells like bacon, so she’s not using straight bacon here. I suppose that’s totally normal, I remember Left Hand’s Fade to Black Baltic Porter last year tasted a lot like bacon to me.
Louie Preller made up a Saison and is looking pretty comfortable. He built his own tier work space.
Brian Paradisi and Lori Brofft extracting the wort for their beer. I met these two at the Vail Big Beer Festival.
There’s Duane, the owner of Rocky Mountain Brewing, hanging out with Lefty and checking out the coils in the jockey box.
There’s David and Teresa and Hannah-Bell again. Their making up a Blonde Ale and later they were planning to make a Raspberry Wheat.
Lastly, Grant Goodwiler, one of the Rocky Mountain brewers along with Justin Carpenter. Justin and Grant are going to be two of the brewers for the upcoming Beers Made By Walking. So is Rich, who I pictured earlier.
This event was a blast and I hated leaving early to get all my packing and work finished, but next year I won’t miss out.