Two score and seven years ago, two parents in Midland, MI raised a determined young boy who wanted to make things. Make things and catch fish. About this same time, he tried his grandfather’s homemade root beer for the first time, and declared it to be the “best stuff in the world!” The root beer was made in a large stoneware crock with Hire’s extract and tended to make the bottles explode, but it was worth it. As time passed and catching ever-larger fish to impress the girls seemed to lose its effectiveness, John went off to Michigan Tech to learn metallurgy. Metallurgy, snow, and drinking local beer were engaging pastimes for many years but it was finally time to leave Michigan and seek his fame in fortune in Southern California. Girls had nothing to do with it.
The local aerospace industry of Southern California proved to be a very nourishing environment for the up-and-coming metallurgist, but the lovely beaches of Orange County tended to starve a sophisticated beer drinker. It was the heyday of Corona girls serving beer with lemon, but their beauty and its style was kind of smooth after a while, give him two-hand hefty biersteins any time. It was the dark lager beer in particular that he missed, and being an engineer, he decided that actually brewing some could not be that hard. A couple trips to the local homebrew supply store and that first disappointing batch of beer was made.
Ah the twists of fate – that first batch was cidery and did not taste anything like the beer he had in mind. It made him more determined than ever to analyze the brewing processes and determine the best method for brewing his beer. And thus was born his five year mission to explore strange new beers, to seek out new recipes and new brewing techniques, to boldly explain what no one had explained before, at least not quite in the same way. Several years were spent writing and re-writing the material and then the book was published online at www.howtobrew.com, the first comprehensive brewing book on the internet. A year later, it was published in hard copy, and a few years later it was revised and How to Brew was published by Brewer’s Publications in 2006. Many people ask if brewing beer and writing about beer is his full-time job, but no, it’s is just a cherished hobby. His secret identity is being a metallurgist and quality manager for a large heat treating corporation.
John always enjoys having a beer and sharing experiences with other brewers at weekend competitions and conferences.