Happy Brew Year

I don’t really do “New Year’s Resolutions”, but I have come to understand the value of setting goals. One of my brewing goals for 2016 was to be recognized for brewing beers to the classic styles. Silvia and I are members of two homebrew clubs, Dallas Homebrew Collective and The Cap and Hare Homebrew Club, both of which have style competitions.

Another brewing goal for 2016 was to enter at least half of the Collective’s style competitions. My hope is that I will score enough points with the to finish the year in the top 5. I am not 100 percent certain how the Collective scores their brewer of the year, but since Matt won seven months, it wasn’t really in doubt to any of the other members.

Cap and Hare runs a “Master Brewer” competition each year which has a different format. You can brew whatever style you wish and it will be judged accordingly. Each month entries are collected, samples are had and judgements rendered. The beer that scores the most points against its style standard wins. A brewer gets one crack at a style and six entries for the year. A winner earns four  points, second place gets three, third scores two points and an entry garners you a participation point. Most points at the end of the year is crowned Master Brewer. Bonus points are awarded for medals at the annual Bluebonnet Brew-Off .

January has started well and we entered two porters for the Collective’s monthly competition, a pale ale for Cap and Hare, and have four entries bottled up to submit for the Bluebonnet Brew-Off this March.

In the Beginning

I got a gentle nudge into home brewing. On several occasions, my loving wife, Silvia, said to me “Honey, you should start home brewing”. After about the fifth suggestion, I started trolling Craigslist for used home brewing equipment.


Our all grain brewing rig.
After about two months of looking, I found what I thought was a reasonably priced all grain setup. It consists of a pair of ten gallon coolers, one acting as a hot liquor tank and the other equipped with a false bottom for a mash tun. There is also a ten gallon kettle with a propane rig for heating water and boiling the wort. The deal also included a pair of plastic carboys and a lovely copper wort chiller.

On December 13th, 2014 Silvia and I brewed our very first beer. Since we are both fans of oatmeal stouts, that was the first recipe that we tried and our first go turned out quite well, but the flavors weren’t as complex as we would have liked.

Our second attempt was with an award winning recipe from the American Homebrewers Association. This attempt got better reviews from friends, family, and unsuspecting homebrew club members.

In the year  since firing up the kettle for the first time, we’ve put out quite a few beers. Austin Home Supply was the source of our first two kit beers, a Fat Tire clone and a Pliney the Elder clone. Both of these kits were awesome and the beer turned out great and further fueled my brewing ambition.