Author Topic: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper  (Read 1691 times)

Offline njvadala

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Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« on: February 28, 2010, 03:08:20 PM »
Hey guys, my name is Nick and I'm a junior at Temple University in Philadelphia studying magazine journalism.  I'm writing a "how to" article on homebrewing and I'd like to have some sources to attribute quotes to.  If anyone could help out by answering a few questions I'd really appreciate it.  They're nothing too in depth, just basic stuff because the article will focus on the beginnings of homebrewing for the novice reader.

Again, if anyone could answer the following questions it would be a lot of help.  You can either post the answers in this thread, message me, or email them to me at njvadala at temple dot edu.

Anyhow, here they are:


   1. Name (first and last), age, location
   2. When did you start home brewing and why?
   3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started?
   4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing?
   5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why?
   6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide?
   7. What are some good resources for home brewers?
   8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided?
   9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained?
  10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing?

Thanks guys,
Nick

Offline denny

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 03:31:19 PM »
Well, from another point of view, I'd be happy to answer your questions as soon as I have time, Nick.  If you can wait a day or so, I'll get back to you.
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Offline njvadala

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 04:55:15 PM »
OK, I'll be the (first) jerk and say it. All this info is already all over the site. I would think if you find something you want to quote - ask the person(poster) for permission and maybe a bio if they are willing. For each of us to write college quality bios for you to peruse and cut and paste into your homework assignment is a pretty big favor to ask on your first post.


Didn't realize I touched a nerve, I apologize.  I didn't think anyone would be offended.  However, I have to say that I'm not ethically OK with copying posts from other discussions and saying that I interviewed someone to get that information.  At least with the questions I posted I can say that I had a direct hand in getting the information presented from someone.

As well, you don't have to answer the questions. I just figured it might be a bit of fun for some people out there.  I'm not asking for college quality bios, just a few lines--maybe just a sentence or two--per question.  Also, not all of the questions have to be answered; they're really just guidelines.  Anyone who wants to respond can say as much or as little as they want to.

I'm aware that the site has a wealth of information available, I will be using much of it in my piece. However, attributed quotes from home brewers will make the story more accessible.  That is to say, they will provide some "meat" to the "skeleton" that is the basic how to.

It seems to me that the homebrewing community is a rather open, social scene.  As such, I figured that I'd ask if anyone would like to talk about the hobby.  If not, that's fine.  I just think that you have misunderstood my intentions.  I am not here to be a nuisance or annoy anyone, just looking for some help from a community that I admire.

That said, I don't think you are a jerk.

Quote
Well, from another point of view, I'd be happy to answer your questions as soon as I have time, Nick.  If you can wait a day or so, I'll get back to you.


Thank you Denny, that would be great. I really appreciate it and I look forward to reading your thoughts.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 05:17:13 PM by njvadala »

Offline weazletoe

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2010, 05:51:19 PM »
OK, I'll be the (first) jerk and say it. All this info is already all over the site. I would think if you find something you want to quote - ask the person(poster) for permission and maybe a bio if they are willing. For each of us to write college quality bios for you to peruse and cut and paste into your homework assignment is a pretty big favor to ask on your first post.



Wow man!!!  Just..............WOW!!!  ::) :-\ ::)

We posted at the same time, glad to see it was a misunderstanding.



E-mail sent
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 05:52:55 PM by weazletoe »
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Offline njvadala

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2010, 06:19:30 PM »
I just think that you have misunderstood my intentions.

Yeah, that's it, but at least I didn't use any foul language.  ;D
So, no offense taken - just seemed like a college kid taking the easy way out of an assignment.
That said, Denny volunteering is a big score for you - HE'S FAMOUS (and I don't mean in Japan).
Good luck on your assignment.

Haha thanks man.  Believe me, this is not the easy way out. I could just make up a bunch of quotes and attribute them to fake people! But then of course I'd be an unethical student/journalist which is something I'm not willing to become.  I posted here because a lot of local shop owners were wary of giving interviews. The ALEiens homebrew club has been helpful, though.  Seems like a lot of people on here are willing to help, which I'm really thankful for.

It'd take a lot more than a stern rebuke on an internet forum to offend me, sir  ;)

Quote
Wow man!!!  Just..............WOW!!!   

We posted at the same time, glad to see it was a misunderstanding.



E-mail sent


Thanks weazletoe.  I checked my email but didn't see anything. I'll check again and let you know.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 06:21:06 PM by njvadala »

Offline MrNate

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2010, 07:31:14 PM »
   1. Name (first and last), age, location Nate, 33, New Jersey

   2. When did you start home brewing and why? 19, because homebrew shops didn't ask for ID.

   3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started? Now I brew so that I have a constant supply of beer that I really like for the price of Budweiser, and because I enjoy making complex things from simple things. 

   4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing? I try not to be an evangelist, but understanding the individual ingredients and processes on a personal level is the single most beneficial way of understanding the finished product. Without brewing, trying to understand beer is like trying to understand children without having raised one of your own.

   5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why? For equipment, I like Northern Brewer's online store. For malt, North Country. For hops, freshops.com.

   6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide? Irish Red, British Mild, anything simple.

   7. What are some good resources for home brewers? This forum, Northern Brewer's forum, HomeBrewTalk, Palmer's book.

   8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided? A lack of experimentation. If you have an idea, try it. It's only beer, it's only a few gallons, it's worth deepening your understanding through firsthand experience.

   9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained? Rising interest in craft beer coupled with the ease of  information exchange.
   
   10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing? Start with all grain. It's nowhere near as hard as it's made out to be.
“If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others, only their rational perception.”

Offline njvadala

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010, 09:06:27 AM »
   1. Name (first and last), age, location Nate, 33, New Jersey

   2. When did you start home brewing and why? 19, because homebrew shops didn't ask for ID.

   3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started? Now I brew so that I have a constant supply of beer that I really like for the price of Budweiser, and because I enjoy making complex things from simple things. 

   4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing? I try not to be an evangelist, but understanding the individual ingredients and processes on a personal level is the single most beneficial way of understanding the finished product. Without brewing, trying to understand beer is like trying to understand children without having raised one of your own.

   5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why? For equipment, I like Northern Brewer's online store. For malt, North Country. For hops, freshops.com.

   6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide? Irish Red, British Mild, anything simple.

   7. What are some good resources for home brewers? This forum, Northern Brewer's forum, HomeBrewTalk, Palmer's book.

   8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided? A lack of experimentation. If you have an idea, try it. It's only beer, it's only a few gallons, it's worth deepening your understanding through firsthand experience.

   9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained? Rising interest in craft beer coupled with the ease of  information exchange.
   
   10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing? Start with all grain. It's nowhere near as hard as it's made out to be.

Thanks MrNate! Great answers, I'll definitely be referring to them.

Also, weazletoe, I didn't receive anything in my email from you. If you'd like to, you could try resending it. I'd like to read your responses.

Online theDarkSide

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 09:17:41 AM »
 
     10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing? Start with all grain. It's nowhere near as hard as it's made out to be.

So true Nate....so true!
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Offline denny

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2010, 09:35:27 AM »
   1. Name (first and last), age, location

Denny Conn, 58, Noti OR

 
 2. When did you start home brewing and why?

March of 1998.  I'd been cooking as a hobby for over 35 years and a science geek, too.  I had developed a love of good beer, and I love to do things myself.  Brewing was a great way to combine all those passions.

 
 3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started?

Not a lot, actually.  I've found a lot of depth to the hobby, but I think I was expecting that to be there all the time.

   
4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing?

The pride of accomplishment and the fun of the process.  It's almost a bonus that you get beer out out of it!

   
5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why?

There are too many to name names, becasue I'd probably leave some out.  I started out shopping at my local homebrew shop (LHBS) and still prefer to buy as much as I can there.  But I've also found some great online resources, too.

   
6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide?

In general, it should be a combo of what they like and something simple, so that they can focus on the basics.  Maybe a pale ale, a porter, or stout.
 
   
7. What are some good resources for home brewers?

When I started brewing, the #1 resource was "The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by AHA founder Charlie Papazian.  Although the technical info in that book is a bit outdated now, it can't be beaten for its "can do" attitude and generally relaxed demeanor.  Probably the best from a general technical point of view these days is John Palmer's "How to Brew".  I'd recommend beginners have both of them.  And internet forums like this one have come a long way in the years I've been brewing.  They're a great place to ask questions and get answers from experienced brewers.  If you have a homebrew club in your area, that's another great resource.

   
8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided?

Based on my own experience, I think the #1 mistake is not realizing how important the fermentation process is to the finished product.  Most resources stress cleanliness and sanitation, and the recipe and actual brewing process itself.  But all of that isn't worth much if you don't learn how to control the fermentation of the beer after it's brewed.

   
9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained?

Economics has something to do with it...interest in homebrewing always rises during periods of economic downturn.  But I think in large part it's also due to the same sort of interest that's contributing to the growth of things like locally produced foods and the slow food movement.  People want quality products and they enjoy being able to produce them themselves and control what goes into them.

 
10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing?

Well, heck, that's not any harder than going from beginner to intermediate or advanced ANYTHING!  Dedication, a love of the craft, and appreciation of the product are the incentives that make people take it to the next step.  There is no shortage of information on how to do that.

Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Online theDarkSide

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 09:43:53 AM »
CONN!!! CONN!!!
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Offline denny

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 09:49:00 AM »
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline bluesman

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 10:29:47 AM »


Denny...are you polishing up your sit-down act.   ;D

but that is funny.  ;)
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Offline darkerpower

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2010, 12:13:03 PM »
   1. Name (first and last), age, location
Paul DeSantis, 24, Ansonia, CT
   2. When did you start home brewing and why?
Christmas gift from my parents after turning 21.  I've always loved craft beer, and when i discovered i could make it myself i was hooked.
   3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started?
Initially i thought it was going to save me money.  That will probably be true in the long run, but i'm happy to spend the money i do for the superior quality product.  I can't brew Denny's VBIP fast enough to keep up with the demand of my friends and family. 
   4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing?
At the very least you get more appreciation for the product.  It's a fun hobby to have.  Sharing homebrew with friends and family is pretty awesome too. 
   5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why?
I've had good experiences with northernbrewer.com, morebeer.com and brewmasterswarehouse.com  Get to know your local home brew shop if you have one.  They're invaluable for when you inevitably need something immediately. 
   6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide?
Brew a style that you enjoy... but an ale not a lager.  Morebeer and Northern Brewer have some excellent kits.  Irish Red's, british bitters and pale ales are excellent for the inexperienced beer connoisseur. 
   7. What are some good resources for home brewers?
Forums.  I've learned almost everything I know about brewing from beer forums.  There are also plenty of good books on the subject.  Join a homebrew club if there is one in your area. 
   8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided?
Not brewing a second batch immediately.  The first batch goes very quickly once it's in the bottle.  Lots of friends an family will be begging to try it. 
   9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained?
I would attribute it to the growing interest in craft beers. 
  10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing?
Check out denny's cheap and easy method.  All grain isn't all that difficult.  If you can make mac and cheese you can brew beer. 
"yesterday I was so desperate for a beer that I snuck into the football stadium and ate the dirt under the bleachers"- Homer Simpson.

Offline njvadala

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2010, 06:23:59 PM »
Thanks for the answers, guys! They're all really great, you are all giving me a lot to work with.

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2010, 11:01:53 AM »
Hi Nick.  Here are my answers:

   1. Name (first and last), age, location
Matt Schwandt, 31, Minneapolis, MN

   2. When did you start home brewing and why?
I started brewing in November of 2005.  I worked as a server at a local brewpub in Nashville, TN while completing my undergraduate degree in business.  I hadn't done much drinking prior to working at the brewpub, so the handcrafted microbrewed beer served at this establishment was really my first introduction to beer and drinking.  I was really into tasting all of the different flavors and other unique characteristics of the various beer styles.  This brewpub was also the meeting location for one of the Nashville-based homebrewer clubs.  At the time, I didn't think it was possible to brew good beer at home without a substantial financial investment in equipment.  However, years later when I was traveling with my wife, we stopped at a cheese shop in rural Minnesota that also sold homebrewing equipment.  Although I didn't make my initial equipment purchase until a few weeks later (after conducting a lot of research on exactly what I would need to start brewing), the seed was planted.  After five years and almost 100 batches, I am just as enthusiastic about the hobby today as I was back then.

   3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started?
Originally, I was attracted to the "novelty" of brewing beer at home.  But when I realized I could make a product that was on par with that of a commercial brewery (in my opinion), I began to really take brewing seriously.  Most recently, my idea of homebrewing has developed a cost-saving component.  I can brew a five gallon batch for around $10, since I reuse yeast and buy my ingredients in bulk.  Since retail beer prices have increased as much as $2-$3 dollars for a six-pack in the last few years, I look at homebrewing as a way to enjoy quality, handcrafted beer at a substantial savings.

   4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing?
I think there are multiple reasons others should take up homebrewing.  The reasons I'll mention are not exhaustive, but are of particular relevance to my experience as a homebrewer.  First, there's the sheer excitement of brewing your own beer.  I think this is something that any beer lover would take pleasure in doing.  Second, I think it's empowering to demystify the brewing process and learn about a craft that has been practiced for millennia.  Third, there is a lot of satisfaction in making a product that others enjoy.  There is a huge amount of personal satisfaction to be had when you have an opportunity to share your homebrewed beer with friends/family/colleagues and they honestly like it.  Finally, homebrewers are a great bunch of people.  There is a lot of camaraderie among homebrewers, as evidenced by the existence of wonderful organizations like the AHA and this web forum (as well as all of the other organizations, clubs, etc. that exist).

   5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why?
Northern Brewer, Midwest Supplies, and MoreBeer.com.  Midwest is my LHBS and they have always been extremely helpful and carry a wide range of ingredients and equipment.  I've purchased/ordered from the other retailers I mentioned, and they have always been excellent to deal with, but I don't have as much experience with them.

   6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide?
I started with an American Brown Ale and I would recommend that style to a new homebrewer.  I think that style is very forgiving for new brewers and yields a product that most beer lovers will enjoy.

   7. What are some good resources for home brewers?
I think the best text for homebrewing is John Palmer's How to Brew.  I read this book multiple times before I even attempted brewing a batch.  As a result, I felt very confident making my first batch.  Another invaluable resource for brewers to learn things they won't find in books is web-based forums such as this one.  Another great forum is the Northern Brewer forum.  I have spent a lot of time perusing such forums to learn new tricks and to ask more experienced brewers questions.  I have always found them very helpful.

   8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided?
Peoples' minds work in different ways, so I don't think there is any one mistake common to new brewers.  However, I think many of those who are new to the hobby frequently fail to educate themselves prior to brewing their first batch.  This is probably the result of the excitement inherent in brewing that first batch.  Who wants to read a bunch of stuff when they could be making beer?!  I think this sort of thing can lead to rookie mistakes that could be easily avoided with a little discipline and education.

   9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained?
I think people in this country are developing more sophisticated palates all the time.  There is a similar trend in the so-called Slow Food movement in America.  People want better quality food and drink, and they seem to have more of a desire to learn the craft behind these things.  So, I think any growing interest in homebrewing can be explained by recognizing that it is possible to make high quality beers at home and that people are more willing to learn about the craft.

  10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing?
Like others have mentioned in this thread, I think brewing all-grain beer is the best way to make that leap.  There is more control to be had over the process with all-grain brewing and, in my experience, it often leads to a better finished product.
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
AHA Member

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