I first attempted homebrewing back in early 1996 with one of the 2 gallon extract kits that were available at that time. My first two beers actually resulted in good beer, but several batches after that were variable and had numerous problems. Convinced that the issue was water chemistry (but learning many years later that the variable yeast packets that came with those kits were the more likely culprit), I gave up until 2005.
I had been thinking about trying again for at least a few years. My tipping point was a trip to Belgium in the fall of 2005. I returned, smitten with the Trappist styles that were new to me. My wife, being supportive of my interests, surprised me with a deluxe homebrewing starter kit from Northern Brewer, and I have not looked back since 2005. I was amazed by the change in quality and variety of ingredients since I had last brewed less than 10 years before that. About 8 months after restarting, I moved to all-grain, and haven't looked back from that.
Since my return to brewing, I have covered the following styles: Bavarian weissbier (hell and dunkel), Trappist dubbel and tripel, American pale ale, American IPA and IIPA, English mild, English barleywine, Belgian strong dark, saison, sour saison, Munich helles, maerzen, and classic rauchbier. My favorites have been the German lagers and the Trappist dubbel.
When I'm not brewing, I am supporting my brewing with income from my position as an operations manager with a specialty chemical/lab supplies company in Maryland. I grew up in the south hills of the Pittsburgh area, a descendent of immigrants from major beer cultures who were looking for better opportunities in what was once a highly industrial area. With a changing economic landscape, many people fled the city in the 80s and 90s. I had to look for opportunities to make a living elsewhere, and have lived in New York, Delaware, and Maryland. Most recently, I have settled into the rolling hills of Westminster, MD, with my wife, Susan, and our dog, a pug (and my frequent brewing companion) named Bumble.
I have had the great fortune of traveling to great beer locations of the world, including San Diego, Philadelphia, Brussels, Munich, and Prague. I hope to experience London and Oregon in the future. The picture below was taken next to the Alpensee, a lake near Ludwig's castles in Bavaria.