How Did You Get Into Brewing?
Probably the most common question I get.
Probably the most difficult to answer.
Some people like to golf. Some people enjoy a nice bottle of wine. Some people prefer a good book on the couch.
I like to figure out how to do shit. Whether it’s running electricity to a buddy’s shed, or writing code for a website, or learning some new woodworking technique- I enjoy teaching myself new skills. Once, while in the Army, I taught myself Microsoft Access just so I could design a custom database for our mission.
Perhaps it’s my Appalachian genes that demand that I be fiercely independent, but I love being able to do things on my own.
And the same is true of brewing. When I was first truly exposed to craft beer in Bozeman, Montana, I was completely enamored with the process and the product.
I think it may have been a visit to Big Sky Brewing in Missoula that was my tipping point. I was taking a microbiology course at the time and I couldn’t stop thinking “I can totally do this myself” as we walked through the brewery on a tour.
As I started researching the brewing process, I found page after page about “homebrewing.” There were all sorts of different equipment kits and recipe packs- everything from a one-and-done kit to a miniature, little home brewery.
The more I learned, the more I was intrigued. This really was craft I could teach myself- something I could produce independently, with my own two hands.
I drove to the nearest homebrew store and purchased my first glass carboy, some bottles, and an ingredient pack with malt extract. I waited until two weeks before my 21st birthday, went down to the common kitchen on the first floor, and started brewing my first batch.
Brewing is a process. And like all systems, the process can be developed, improved, and refined. I think that’s what captured my attention about brewing. As my hobby slowly evolved over the years from bottles to kegs, from pre-packaged recipes to my own creations, there was never a shortage of learning. I always felt like there some something else to master, or a new skill to acquire.
It turns out that this “figure-shit-out” trait is quite common among homebrewers, and down right necessary for commercial brewers. There is just something about brewing that attracts the type of people that like to be able to do things for themselves. I highly recommend the trip out to Lancaster, SC to visit Bryan O’Neal at Benford Brewing when he’s in town and has his tap room open… ask him about his glycol loop and his keg cleaning equipment- the guy is just the epitome of ingenuity and do-it-your-damn-self gumption. It’s absolutely impressive, awesome, and American.
That “make-it-happen” attitude is also what has made Full Spectrum Brewing possible. Our head brewer, Troy, is as equally as fond of figuring things out for himself as anyone I’ve ever met. For all of my passion for brewing and problem solving, Troy’s innovations and down right artistry in his craft are really what sets our brand apart- and it’s all self taught.
So, what got me into brewing? My passion for learning new skills and figuring things out on my own. My pride in making things with my own two hands. My fierce independence.
Besides… have you seen the Walking Dead? You can believe that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we’ll not only be fit enough to survive, but we’ll have beer long after the rest of the world runs out.